Profile of Sri Lanka

Basic Facts

(Updated on June 26 2010, based on information found on Reuters, Newspapers, BBC, the Economist, and the CIA’s website.)



Geography and Politics

-Location: An South Asian island in the Indian Ocean just south of India..
-Area size: 65,610 sq km
-Capital: Kotte (Administrative, official); Colombo (commercial)
-Geographical notes: The country holds a strategic location near the major Indian Ocean sea lanes, which also makes it more vulnerable to natural hazards such as tsunamis, occasional cyclones and tornadoes
-Government type: Republic


-Population: 20,926,315
-Ethnic groups: Sinhalese 73.8%, Sri Lankan Moors 7.2%, Indian Tamil 4.6%, Sri -Lankan Tamil 3.9%, other 0.5%, unspecified 10% (2001 census provisional data)
-Religions: Buddhist 69.1%, Muslim 7.6%, Hindu 7.1%, Christian 6.2%, unspecified 10% (2001 census provisional data)
Languages: Sinhala (official and national language) spoken by Sinhalese: 74%; Tamil (national language) spoken by Muslims, Sri Lankan Tamils and Indian Tamils: 18%; other languages (including Malay, Indo-Portuguese, Farsi, English, Rodiya language and corrupted forms of indigenous Veddah languages) 8%. The present forms of both Sinhala and Tamil languages have evolved to include words derived from Arabic, Portuguese, Dutch and English. English is commonly used in government and private sector and is spoken competently by large number of people of all ethnicities.

UNDP Human Development Index (2004)

-HDI rank: 93
-Life expectancy at birth: 74.3 yrs
-Adult literacy rate (% ages 15 and older): 90.7
-Gender-related development index: 68
-GDP per capita (purchasing power parity US$): 4,390

Economy (2006)

-GDP (purchasing power parity): $95.55 billion
-GDP - real growth rate: 7.5%
-GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 17.3%, industry: 27.3%, services: 55.3%

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