Sri Lanka - LK - LKA - SRI - South Asia

Last updated: April 09, 2024
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Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Julie J. CHUNG (since 17 February 2022)

embassy: 210 Galle Road, Colombo 03

mailing address: 6100 Colombo Place, Washington DC  20521-6100

telephone: [94] (11) 249-8500

FAX: [94] (11) 243-7345

email address and website:

Age structure

0-14 years: 21.95% (male 2,609,642/female 2,511,570)

15-64 years: 66.22% (male 7,609,573/female 7,836,480)

65 years and over: 11.83% (2023 est.) (male 1,156,637/female 1,602,370)
2023 population pyramid
This is the population pyramid for Sri Lanka. A population pyramid illustrates the age and sex structure of a country's population and may provide insights about political and social stability, as well as economic development. The population is distributed along the horizontal axis, with males shown on the left and females on the right. The male and female populations are broken down into 5-year age groups represented as horizontal bars along the vertical axis, with the youngest age groups at the bottom and the oldest at the top. The shape of the population pyramid gradually evolves over time based on fertility, mortality, and international migration trends.

For additional information, please see the entry for Population pyramid on the Definitions and Notes page.

Geographic coordinates

7 00 N, 81 00 E

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/female

total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2023 est.)


1 (2024)

Natural hazards

occasional cyclones and tornadoes

Area - comparative

slightly larger than West Virginia
Area comparison map

slightly larger than West Virginia

Military service age and obligation

18-22 years of age for voluntary military service for men and women; no conscription (2023)


The first Sinhalese arrived in Sri Lanka late in the 6th century B.C., probably from northern India. Buddhism was introduced circa 250 B.C., and the first kingdoms developed at the cities of Anuradhapura (from circa 200 B.C. to circa A.D. 1000) and Polonnaruwa (from about 1070 to 1200). In the 14th century, a south Indian dynasty established a Tamil kingdom in northern Sri Lanka. The Portuguese controlled the coastal areas of the island in the 16th century followed by the Dutch in the 17th century. The island was ceded to the British in 1796, became a crown colony in 1802, and was formally united under British rule by 1815. As Ceylon, it became independent in 1948; its name was changed to Sri Lanka in 1972. Prevailing tensions between the Sinhalese majority and Tamil separatists erupted into war in July 1983. Fighting between the government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) continued for over a quarter century. Although Norway brokered peace negotiations that led to a cease-fire in 2002, the fighting slowly resumed and was again in full force by 2006. The government defeated the LTTE in May 2009.

During the post-conflict years under then-President Mahinda RAJAPAKSA, the government initiated infrastructure development projects, many of which were financed by loans from China. His regime faced significant allegations of human rights violations and a shrinking democratic space for civil society.  In 2015, a new coalition government headed by then-President Maithripala SIRISENA of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and then-Prime Minister Ranil WICKREMESINGHE of the United National Party came to power with pledges to advance economic, governance, anti-corruption, reconciliation, justice, and accountability reforms. However, implementation of these reforms was uneven. In November 2019, Gotabaya RAJAPAKSA won the presidential election and appointed his brother, Mahinda, prime minister. Following Gotabaya RAJAPAKSA’s election, civil society raised concerns about his administration’s commitment to pursuing justice, human rights, and accountability reforms, as well as the risks to foreign creditors that Sri Lanka faces given its ongoing economic crisis. A combination of factors including the impact of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic; severe shortages of food, medicine, and fuel; and power outages triggered increasingly violent protests in Columbo beginning in March 2022. In May 2022, longtime parliamentarian and former five-time prime minister, Ranil WICKREMESINGHE replaced Mahinda RAJAPASKA as prime-minister and then in July 2022, Gotabaya RAJAPAKSA fled from office in response to protests, and parliament subsequently elected WICKREMESINGHE president. Later that month, WICKREMESINGHE appointed Dinesh GUNAWARDENA to replace him as prime minister.

Environment - current issues

deforestation; soil erosion; wildlife populations threatened by poaching and urbanization; coastal degradation from mining activities and increased pollution; coral reef destruction; freshwater resources being polluted by industrial wastes and sewage runoff; waste disposal; air pollution in Colombo

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Marine Life Conservation

Population below poverty line

14.3% (2019 est.)

note: % of population with income below national poverty line

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 3.1%

highest 10%: 30.8% (2019 est.)

note: % share of income accruing to lowest and highest 10% of population

Exports - commodities

textiles (knit and non-knit garments); tea; rubber tires; precious stones; cinnamon (2022)

Exports - partners

United States 24%, India 8%, United Kingdom 7%, Germany 6%, Italy 4% (2022)

Administrative divisions

9 provinces; Central, Eastern, North Central, Northern, North Western, Sabaragamuwa, Southern, Uva, Western

Agricultural products

rice, coconuts, eggs, plantains, tea leaves, sugar cane, milk, cassava, maize, poultry

Military and security forces

Sri Lanka Armed Forces: Sri Lanka Army (includes National Guard and the Volunteer Force), Sri Lanka Navy (includes Marine Corps), Sri Lanka Air Force, Sri Lanka Coast Guard; Civil Security Department (Home Guard)

Ministry of Public Security: Sri Lanka National Police (2024)

note 1: the Civil Security Department, also known as the Civil Defense Force, is an auxiliary force administered by the Ministry of Defense

note 2: the Sri Lanka Police includes the Special Task Force, a paramilitary unit responsible for counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations; it coordinates internal security operations with the military


revenues: $10.623 billion (2019 est.)

expenditures: $17.496 billion (2019 est.)


name: Colombo (commercial capital); Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte (legislative capital)

geographic coordinates: 6 55 N, 79 50 E

time difference: UTC+5.5 (10.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: Colombo may derive from the Sinhala "kolon thota," meaning "port on the river" (referring to the Kelani River that empties into the Indian Ocean at Colombo); alternatively, the name may derive from the Sinhala "kola amba thota" meaning "harbor with mango trees"; it is also possible that the Portuguese named the city after Christopher COLUMBUS, who lived in Portugal for many years (as Cristovao COLOMBO) before discovering the Americas for the Spanish crown in 1492 - not long before the Portuguese made their way to Sri Lanka in 1505; Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte translates as "Resplendent City of Growing Victory" in Sinhala

Imports - commodities

refined and crude petroleum; knitted/woven fabrics; special purpose ships; packaged medicine; coal (2022)


tropical monsoon; northeast monsoon (December to March); southwest monsoon (June to October)


1,340 km


history: several previous; latest adopted 16 August 1978, certified 31 August 1978

amendments: proposed by Parliament; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote of its total membership, certification by the president of the republic or the Parliament speaker, and in some cases approval in a referendum by absolute majority of valid votes; amended many times, last in 2020

Exchange rates

Sri Lankan rupees (LKR) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
198.764 (2021 est.)
185.593 (2020 est.)
178.745 (2019 est.)
162.465 (2018 est.)
152.446 (2017 est.)

Executive branch

chief of state: President Ranil WICKREMESINGHE (since 20 July 2022); the president is both chief of state and head of government; Prime Minister Dinesh GUNAWARDENA (since 22 July 2022); note - prime minister functions as deputy to the president)

head of government: President Ranil WICKREMESINGHE (since 20 July 2022)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president in consultation with the prime minister

elections/appointments: president directly elected by preferential majority popular vote for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 16 November 2019 (next to be held on 30 September 2024); prime minister appointed by the president from among members of Parliament for a 5-year term)

election results: Ranil WICKREMESINGHE elected president by Parliament on 20 July 2022; Parliament vote - WICKREMESINGHE (UNP) 134, Dullas ALAHAPPERUMA (SLPP) 82

Note: amid public protests which began in March 2022, President Gotabaya RAJAPAKSA fled the country on 13 July and Ranil WICKREMESINGHE became acting president; RAJAPAKSA announced his resignation on the 14th, which was accepted by the speaker of Parliament the following day

Fiscal year

calendar year

Flag description

yellow with two panels; the smaller hoist-side panel has two equal vertical bands of green (hoist side) and orange; the other larger panel depicts a yellow lion holding a sword on a maroon rectangular field that also displays a yellow bo leaf in each corner; the yellow field appears as a border around the entire flag and extends between the two panels; the lion represents Sinhalese ethnicity, the strength of the nation, and bravery; the sword demonstrates the sovereignty of the nation; the four bo leaves - symbolizing Buddhism and its influence on the country - stand for the four virtues of kindness, friendliness, happiness, and equanimity; orange signifies Sri Lankan Tamils, green Sri Lankan Moors, and maroon the Sinhalese majority; yellow denotes other ethnic groups; also referred to as the Lion Flag


4 February 1948 (from the UK)


processing of rubber, tea, coconuts, tobacco and other agricultural commodities; tourism; clothing and textiles; mining

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court of the Republic (consists of the chief justice and 9 justices); note - the court has exclusive jurisdiction to review legislation

judge selection and term of office: chief justice nominated by the Constitutional Council (CC), a 9-member high-level advisory body, and appointed by the president; other justices nominated by the CC and appointed by the president on the advice of the chief justice; all justices can serve until age 65

subordinate courts: Court of Appeals; High Courts; Magistrates' Courts; municipal and primary courts

Land boundaries

total: 0 km

Land use

agricultural land: 43.5% (2018 est.)

arable land: 20.7% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 15.8% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 7% (2018 est.)

forest: 29.4% (2018 est.)

other: 27.1% (2018 est.)

Legal system

mixed legal system of Roman-Dutch civil law, English common law, Jaffna Tamil customary law, and Muslim personal law

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Parliament (225 seats; 196 members directly elected in multi-seat district constituencies by proportional representation vote using a preferential method in which voters select 3 candidates in order of preference; remaining 29 seats, referred to as the "national list" are allocated by each party secretary according to the island wide proportional vote the party obtains; members serve 5-year terms)

elections: last held on 5 August 2020 (next to be held in August 2025)

election results: percent of vote by coalition/party - SLFPA 59.1%, SJB 23.9%, JVP 3.8%, TNA 2.8%, UNP 2.2%, TNPF 0.6%, EPDP 0.5%, other 7.1%; seats by coalition/party - SLFPA 145, SJB 54, TNA 10, JVP 3, other 13; composition - men 213, women 12, percent of women 5.3%


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 92.3%

male: 93%

female: 91.6% (2019)

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin

International organization participation


National holiday

Independence Day (National Day), 4 February (1948)


noun: Sri Lankan(s)

adjective: Sri Lankan

Natural resources

limestone, graphite, mineral sands, gems, phosphates, clay, hydropower, arable land

Geography - note

strategic location near major Indian Ocean sea lanes; Adam's Bridge is a chain of limestone shoals between the southeastern coast of India and the northwestern coast of Sri Lanka; geological evidence suggests that this 50-km long Bridge once connected India and Sri Lanka; ancient records seem to indicate that a foot passage was possible between the two land masses until the 15th century when the land bridge broke up in a cyclone

Economic overview

economic contraction in 2022-23 marked by increased poverty and significant inflation; IMF two-year debt relief program following 2022 sovereign default; structural challenges from non-diversified economy and rigid labor laws; heavy dependence on tourism receipts and remittances


7 km refined products

Political parties and leaders

Crusaders for Democracy or CFD [Ganeshalingam CHANDRALINGAM]
Eelam People's Democratic Party or EPDP [Douglas DEVANANDA]
Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front or EPRLF [Suresh PREMACHANDRAN]
Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi or ITAK [Mavai SENATHIRAJAH]
Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna or JVP [Anura Kumara DISSANAYAKE]
Jathika Hela Urumaya or JHU [Udaya GAMMANPILA]
National People's Power or NPP (also known as Jathika Jana Balawegaya or JJB) [Anura Kumara DISSANAYAKE]
People's Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam or PLOTE [Dharmalingam SIDDARTHAN]
Samagi Jana Balawegaya or SJB [Sajith PREMADASA]
Sri Lanka Freedom Party or SLFP [Maithripala SIRISENA]
Sri Lanka Muslim Congress or SLMC [Rauff HAKEEM]
Sri Lanka People's Freedom Alliance or SLPFA [Mahinda RAJAPAKSA] (includes SLPFP, SLPP, and several smaller parties)
Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (Sri Lanka's People's Front) or SLPP [Gamini Lakshman PEIRIS]
Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization or TELO [Selvam ADAIKALANATHAN]
Tamil National Alliance or TNA [Rajavarothiam SAMPANTHAN] (includes ITAK, PLOTE, TELO)
Tamil National People's Front or TNPF [Gajendrakumar PONNAMBALAM]
Tamil People's National Alliance or TPNA [Canagasabapathy Visuvalingam VIGNESWARAN]
United National Front for Good Governance or UNFGG [Ranil WICKREMESINGHE] (coalition includes JHU, UNP)
United National Party or UNP [Ranil WICKREMESINGHE]

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Colombo

container port(s) (TEUs): Colombo (7,250,000) (2021)


18 years of age; universal

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Sri Lanka’s fixed-line telephony market was one of the very few in the world to experience a significant upsurge in subscriptions in 2020; while the country suffers from a relatively poor fixed-line infrastructure and a correspondingly strong mobile sector, demand for traditional phone services increased 14% in 2020; preliminary results suggest a further jump of up to 13% can also be expected in 2021; this will take Sri Lanka’s fixed-line penetration to levels not seen since 2013; the most reason behind the market’s reversal of fortunes is the Covid-19 crisis and Sri Lanka’s ensuring lock downs; these forced much of the population back inside and reverting to ‘traditional’ methods of communication for both voice and data services; the fixed broadband market was equally robust, growing 20% in 2020 alone; Sri Lanka possesses a relatively low number of computers per household so the fixed broadband market’s success comes off a small base; the one area of the telecommunications market that experienced a fall was the mobile segment; up until the start of the pandemic, Sri Lanka had a very high mobile penetration rate of 155%; this near-saturation level reflected the preponderance for subscribers to carry multiple SIM cards to take advantage of cheaper on-net call rates; the reduction in demand and traffic because of the pandemic led to a sharp drop in the number of active subscriptions, down to just 135% – a 17% decline in just one year; the market is expected to bounce back quickly, as soon as the country eases back on its lock down measures and reduces travel restrictions; it will also be boosted, come 2022, by the anticipated launch of commercial 5G mobile services (2021)

domestic: fixed-line is 12 per 100 and mobile-cellular is 143 per 100 (2022)

international: country code - 94; landing points for the SeaMeWe -3,-5,  Dhiraagu-SLT Submarine Cable Network, WARF Submarine Cable, Bharat Lanka Cable System and the Bay of Bengal Gateway submarine cables providing connectivity to Asia, Africa, Southeast Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and Europe; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) (2019)


mostly low, flat to rolling plain; mountains in south-central interior

Government type

presidential republic

Country name

conventional long form: Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

conventional short form: Sri Lanka

local long form: Shri Lanka Prajatantrika Samajavadi Janarajaya (Sinhala)/ Ilankai Jananayaka Choshalichak Kutiyarachu (Tamil)

local short form: Shri Lanka (Sinhala)/ Ilankai (Tamil)

former: Serendib, Ceylon

etymology: the name means "resplendent island" in Sanskrit


Southern Asia, island in the Indian Ocean, south of India

Map references


Irrigated land

5,700 sq km (2012)

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Mahinda SAMARASINGHE (since 13 January 2022)

chancery: 3025 Whitehaven Street NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 483-4025

FAX: [1] (202) 232-7181

email address and website:

consulate(s) general: Los Angeles, New York

Internet country code


Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: intermediate (2023)

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever

water contact diseases: leptospirosis

animal contact diseases: rabies

Refugees and internally displaced persons

IDPs: 12,000 (civil war; more than half displaced prior to 2008; many of the more than 480,000 IDPs registered as returnees have not reached durable solutions) (2022)

stateless persons: 35 (2022)

GDP (official exchange rate)

$74.404 billion (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: CCC (2020)

Moody's rating: Caa1 (2020)

Standard & Poors rating: CCC+ (2020)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

Total renewable water resources

52.8 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 14 years

male: 14 years

female: 14 years (2018)


urban population: 19.2% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 1.22% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Broadcast media

government operates 5 TV channels and 19 radio channels; multi-channel satellite and cable TV subscription services available; 25 private TV stations and about 43 radio stations; 6 non-profit TV stations and 4 radio stations

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 99.7% of population

rural: 91.2% of population

total: 92.8% of population

unimproved: urban: 0.3% of population

rural: 8.8% of population

total: 7.2% of population (2020 est.)

National anthem

name: "Sri Lanka Matha" (Mother Sri Lanka)

lyrics/music: Ananda SAMARKONE

note: adopted 1951
This is an audio of the National Anthem for Sri Lanka. The national anthem is generally a patriotic musical composition - usually in the form of a song or hymn of praise - that evokes and eulogizes the history, traditions, or struggles of a nation or its people. National anthems can be officially recognized as a national song by a country's constitution or by an enacted law, or simply by tradition. Although most anthems contain lyrics, some do not.

Major urban areas - population

103,000 Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte (legislative capital) (2018), 633,000 COLOMBO (capital) (2023)

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt

Physicians density

1.23 physicians/1,000 population (2020)

Hospital bed density

4.2 beds/1,000 population (2017)

National symbol(s)

lion, water lily; national colors: maroon, yellow

Mother's mean age at first birth

25.6 years (2016 est.)

note: data represents median age at first birth among women 30-34

Contraceptive prevalence rate

64.6% (2016)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 62% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 8.5% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 26.3% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 10.2% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 21.9% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -29.1% (2017 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 53.7

youth dependency ratio: 35.4

elderly dependency ratio: 17

potential support ratio: 5.9 (2021 est.)


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Sri Lanka

dual citizenship recognized: no, except in cases where the government rules it is to the benefit of Sri Lanka

residency requirement for naturalization: 7 years

Population distribution

the population is primarily concentrated within a broad wet zone in the southwest, urban centers along the eastern coast, and on the Jaffna Peninsula in the north

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2021)

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 3 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 34

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 5,882,376 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 436.2 million (2018) mt-km

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix


Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 96.6% of population

rural: 97.9% of population

total: 97.6% of population

unimproved: urban: 3.4% of population

rural: 2.1% of population

total: 2.4% of population (2020 est.)

Ethnic groups

Sinhalese 74.9%, Sri Lankan Tamil 11.2%, Sri Lankan Moors 9.2%, Indian Tamil 4.2%, other 0.5% (2012 est.)


Buddhist (official) 70.2%, Hindu 12.6%, Muslim 9.7%, Roman Catholic 6.1%, other Christian 1.3%, other 0.05% (2012 est.)


Sinhala (official and national language) 87%, Tamil (official and national language) 28.5%, English 23.8% (2012 est.)

note: data represent main languages spoken by the population aged 10 years and older; shares sum to more than 100% because some respondents gave more than one answer on the census; English is commonly used in government and is referred to as the "link language" in the constitution

Imports - partners

India 34%, China 19%, United Arab Emirates 6%, Malaysia 4%, Singapore 4% (2022)

Disputes - international

none identified


highest point: Pidurutalagala 2,524 m

lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m

mean elevation: 228 m

Current health expenditure

4.1% of GDP (2020)

Military - note

the military is responsible for external defense and may be called upon to handle specifically delineated domestic security responsibilities that generally do not include arrest authority; it has sent small numbers of personnel on UN peacekeeping missions; from 1983 to 2009, it fought against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a conflict that involved both guerrilla and conventional warfare, as well as acts of terrorism and human rights abuses, and cost the military nearly 30,000 killed; since the end of the war, a large portion of the Army reportedly remains deployed in the majority Tamil-populated northern and eastern provinces; the military over the past decade also has increased its role in a range of commercial sectors including agriculture, hotels, leisure, and restaurants 

the Army did not downsize following the LTTE war and continues to have about 20 infantry divisions, plus several independent brigades and regiments; however, in 2023 the Sri Lankan Government announced that because of the country’s financial crisis, it would slash the size of the Army by up to half by 2030; the Navy has a frigate transferred from China in 2019 and several offshore patrol ships acquired from India and the US to patrol its territorial waters; it also has a large force of small in-shore patrol and fast attack boats, largely acquired to combat the LTTE; the Air Force is small and much of its inventory is aging; it has a handful of operational fighter aircraft and a few dozen attack and multi-role helicopters

Sri Lanka traditionally has had close security ties to India; India participated in the LTTE war in 1987-1991, losing over 1,000 soldiers; the Sri Lankan and Indian militaries continue to conduct exercises together, and India trains over 1,000 Sri Lankan soldiers per year; in recent years, Sri Lanka has increased military ties with China, including acquiring military equipment, hosting naval port calls, and sending personnel to China for training (2023)

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 260,000 total personnel (200,000 Army; 30,000 Navy; 30,000 Air Force); approximately 11,000 Special Task Force personnel (2023)

note: in January 2023, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defense announced plans to decrease the size of the Army to 135,000 by 2024 and 100,000 by 2030

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the military's inventory consists mostly of Chinese and Russian-origin equipment with a smaller mix of material from countries such as India and the US (2023)

Military deployments

100 Central African Republic (MINUSCA); 125 Lebanon (UNIFIL); 240 Mali (MINUSMA) (2023)

Terrorist group(s)

Terrorist group(s): Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS); Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)

note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 810 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 830 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 11.31 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 2,631,650 tons (2016 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 336,588 tons (2016 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 12.8% (2016 est.)

Average household expenditures

on food: 28% of household expenditures (2018 est.)

on alcohol and tobacco: 2% of household expenditures (2018 est.)

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 23.88 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 23.36 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 10.95 megatons (2020 est.)

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 8 (6 cultural, 2 natural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Ancient City of Polonnaruwa (c); Ancient City of Sigiriya (c); Sacred City of Anuradhapura (c); Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications (c); Sacred City of Kandy (c); Sinharaja Forest Reserve (n); Rangiri Dambulla Cave Temple (c); Central Highlands of Sri Lanka (n)

Child marriage

women married by age 15: 0.9%

women married by age 18: 9.8% (2016 est.)

Food insecurity

widespread lack of access: due to serious macroeconomic challenges, significant reduction in 2022 cereal output, and high food prices - severe macroeconomic challenges, mostly reflecting dwindling foreign currency reserves after revenues from merchandise exports, remittances, and from the tourist sector declined dramatically over the last year, have had a negative impact on the country’s capacity to import cereals; the 2022 cereal production sharply declined due to a government ordered reduction in the application of chemical fertilizers; unprecedentedly high food prices are constraining economic access to food for a majority of households


production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 2.237 million metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 2.586 million metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 64% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 0.7% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 2.3% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 32.2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0.8% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Natural gas

production: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

consumption: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)


total petroleum production: 0 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 131,100 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 35,300 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 0 barrels (2021 est.)

Gross reproduction rate

1.05 (2023 est.)

Currently married women (ages 15-49)

65.1% (2023 est.)


5.13% of GDP (2022 est.)
6.24% of GDP (2021 est.)
8.46% of GDP (2020 est.)

note: personal transfers and compensation between resident and non-resident individuals/households/entities

Space program overview

has a small space program focused on acquiring satellites and conducting research and development in space-related technologies, such as electronics, telecommunications, information technology, and robotics; has cooperated with the space agencies or industries of China, France, India, Japan, and the US (2023)

note: further details about the key activities, programs, and milestones of the country’s space program, as well as government spending estimates on the space sector, appear in Appendix S

Space agency/agencies

Sri Lanka Aeronautics and Space Agency (SLASA; established 2019); Space Applications Division of the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Modern Technologies (ACCIMT; created 1984) (2023)

Labor force

8.775 million (2022 est.)

note: number of people ages 15 or older who are employed or seeking work

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 26.1% (2021 est.)

male: 21.1%

female: 35.6%

Net migration rate

-1.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

Median age

total: 33.9 years (2023 est.)

male: 32.1 years

female: 35.6 years

Debt - external

$55.332 billion (2019 est.)
$52.567 billion (2018 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

29 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$3.137 billion (2021 est.)
$5.664 billion (2020 est.)
$7.648 billion (2019 est.)

note: holdings of gold (year-end prices)/foreign exchange/special drawing rights in current dollars


160 km (2012) (primarily on rivers in southwest)

Refined petroleum products - imports

66,280 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Public debt

79.1% of GDP (2017 est.)
79.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
73.51% of GDP (2015 est.)

note: central government debt as a % of GDP

Total fertility rate

2.14 children born/woman (2023 est.)

Military expenditures

1.7% of GDP (2022 est.)
1.9% of GDP (2021 est.)
2% of GDP (2020 est.)
2% of GDP (2019 est.)
1.9% of GDP (2018 est.)

Unemployment rate

6.18% (2022 est.)
5.31% (2021 est.)
5.36% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment


23,326,272 (2023 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-5.5% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

Internet users

total: 14.74 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 67% (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

23.939 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 5.546 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 18.393 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)


total: 65,610 sq km

land: 64,630 sq km

water: 980 sq km

Taxes and other revenues

7.38% (of GDP) (2021 est.)

note: central government tax revenue as a % of GDP

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$270.611 billion (2022 est.)
$293.581 billion (2021 est.)
$283.62 billion (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars


total: 114,093 km

paved: 16,977 km

unpaved: 97,116 km (2010)


18 (2024)

Infant mortality rate

total: 6.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

male: 7.5 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 6.1 deaths/1,000 live births

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 31,237,303 (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 143 (2022 est.)

Gini Index coefficient - distribution of family income

37.7 (2019 est.)

note: index (0-100) of income distribution; higher values represent greater inequality

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

49.72% (2022 est.)
7.01% (2021 est.)
6.15% (2020 est.)

note: annual % change based on consumer prices

Refined petroleum products - exports

3,871 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Current account balance

-$1.453 billion (2022 est.)
-$3.284 billion (2021 est.)
-$1.187 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - net trade and primary/secondary income in current dollars

Real GDP per capita

$12,200 (2022 est.)
$13,300 (2021 est.)
$12,900 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 1,781,530 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 8 (2020 est.)

Tobacco use

total: 22% (2020 est.)

male: 41.4% (2020 est.)

female: 2.6% (2020 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

5.2% (2016)

Energy consumption per capita

17.268 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

Death rate

7.4 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

Birth rate

14.6 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)


installed generating capacity: 4.527 million kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 13,991,420,000 kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 0 kWh (2020 est.)

imports: 0 kWh (2020 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 1.337 billion kWh (2019 est.)

Merchant marine

total: 96 (2023)

by type: bulk carrier 5, general cargo 15, oil tanker 11, other 65

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

20.5% (2016)


$19.244 billion (2022 est.)
$21.526 billion (2021 est.)
$18.271 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - imports of goods and services in current dollars


$16.169 billion (2022 est.)
$14.974 billion (2021 est.)
$13.083 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - exports of goods and services in current dollars

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 2,582,154 (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 12 (2022 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

34,210 bbl/day (2017 est.)

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 2.58 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 0.22 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.01 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 2.32 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0.03 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 76.6 years (2023 est.)

male: 73.6 years

female: 79.8 years

Real GDP growth rate

-7.82% (2022 est.)
3.51% (2021 est.)
-4.62% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

Industrial production growth rate

-15.95% (2022 est.)

note: annual % change in industrial value added based on constant local currency


total: 1,562 km (2016)

broad gauge: 1,562 km (2016) 1.676-m gauge

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 7.8% (2017 est.)

industry: 30.5% (2017 est.)

services: 61.7% (2017 est.)

Revenue from forest resources

0.06% of GDP (2018 est.)

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

Education expenditures

1.9% of GDP (2019 est.)

Population growth rate

0.56% (2023 est.)