Business Times

More females than males in households:Govt survey

The latest Household Income and Expenditure Survey 2009/10 (HIES), released this month by Sri Lanka’s Department of Census and Statistics, shows that there are more females in a household than males.

“The female household population was 52.8 million and the male population was 47.2 million in 2009. There is a no broad change has taken place in male to female population ratio from 2006/07 to 2009. However the statistics at the sector level show a small decline in growth of male population in both rural and estate sectors during the period and the estate sector decline in male population is fairly higher than that of the rural sector,” it said.

This is the first of three monthly rounds of data collected under the HIES. Information given in this preliminary report of the HIES 2009/10 was based on the data collected in the first three months, July, August and September of 2009 out of the total 12 survey months started from July 2009 to June 2010. “Due to massive post conflict resettlement activities and travel restrictions existed in most of the areas in the Northern Province during the first three months of the survey, only the Vavuniya district was surveyed in the Northern Province,” it said.

Excerpts of the survey:
The rural sector dominates the population with 80 % or 15.8 million persons. Yet the actual proportion and count of rural sector population at national level should be somewhat higher as the HIES 2009/10 covers only the Vavuniya district in the Northern province in which the higher majority of the population lives in the rural sector. The urban sector and the estate sector population estimates in 2009 are 2.78 and 1.01 million, respectively and the respective proportions are 14 % and 6 %. The survey shows that male headed households occupy 77 % of the total households in Sri Lanka.Age composition
The highest population proportion in Sri Lanka is in the broad age group of 15 to 59 years (62.9%) and so are in all the 3 sectors. The percentages of aging population (60 years and above) and adult population are significantly low in the estate sector than the other two sectors in Sri Lanka. The percentage of child population (below 15 years) is high in estate sector which shows a sign of low life expectancy.

Educational achievements
The highest percentage of the five years and above aged population is reported to be in the group of grade 6 - 10 educational attainment group at national level (43.5%) and every sector confirms the same. Nearly one out of every thousand persons of the relevant population is receiving or attained in special education which is provided to children who suffers from retarded mental conditions. The most educated group of the population choose to live in the urban sector as the urban sector holds the highest percentage (15.6%) of persons who passed G.C.E (A/L) or higher level examination and it is not so in the lesser educated groups. In the estate sector only 4.2% has attained beyond G. C. E. (A/L) and 8.8% has never attended any school.

Marital status
The survey reveals that 57.6 % of this population has reported as married and 34 % has never married. Above seven persons out of every hundred were recorded as widowed and only 1 % reported either divorced or separated at national level in 2009. The survey has also reveals that one in every five heads of the households (15%) in Sri Lanka is a widower. However, the number of divorced and separated household heads is not relatively high as more than 80% of the heads of the households in Sri Lanka are currently in ‘wedlock’.

Female headed households
The survey estimates that out of 5 million households, in Sri Lanka, 1.1 million households or 23 % of the households are female headed households.The majority of female heads of the households are in the age group of 40-59 years. Among the total female heads of the households, in Sri Lanka, more than 50% are widows while a small percentage (4.5%) has reported as never married (again).

School education
The enrolment ratio in primary education in 2008 was 98.8 % according to the Ministry of Education. The HIES found that more than four-in-every five (more than 83 %) children in this age group in every sector in Sri Lanka are currently attending in schools. Within this population segment nearly 1 in every 25 persons (4%) has never attended in a school and almost 1 in every 8 children (12.6) has left the school prematurely. Primary education is compulsory for the children in the age group of from 5 to 14 years old. The survey reveals that out of 2.96 million children in the 5-14 years aged group, 2.94 million children are currently attending in schools (99.4%), 0.4 % have attended in the past and 0.2 % have never attended any school.

Distance to school
Distance to school from the permanent residence is an influential factor in encouraging children to attend school and to increase new admissions. Nearly 2 out of every 3 school going children (62.1%) in Sri Lanka travel less than 3km to find their school. However more than 25% of the children travel more than 5 km distance and 11% travel beyond 10kms. 42.3% of the estate sector children find their school within a 1 km circle from their home and surprisingly 13% of the urban sector children too travel more then 5 km for schooling.

The survey reveals that 33.6 % of the household population has obtained health treatments as outpatients in the previous month and about 11.6 % persons of all the household population has got treatments at a hospital at least once during the previous year as an in-patient. Out of the total household population, 15.5 % of persons in Sri Lanka are suffering from at least one chronic illness or disability condition. Nearly 88 % said they visited the hospital to obtain treatment for illnesses and about 5 % reported that a medical checkup or a consultation is their reason for visiting the hospitals. The survey has also found that among the total household heads in Sri Lanka, 28.7% are suffering from at least one chronic illness or a disability condition and this situation is significantly higher in the urban sector.

Household Income
The mean monthly household income in Sri Lanka was Rs. 35,495 in 2009. When the three sectors (urban, rural and estate) are compared, the rural sector which reports closer mean value (Rs. 34,329) to the national value was at almost equal distances from the highest mean monthly income value reported from the urban sector (Rs. 46,196) and the lowest value reported from the estate sector (Rs. 25,649). The median monthly household income in Sri Lanka was Rs. 24,106 in 2009, which means one half of the households in the country received more than Rs. 24,106 per month per household in 2009. When the provinces are compared, the Western province which reported the highest household income level is nearly two times higher than the values reported by the Eastern province which reported the lowest values for both the median and the mean income.

Per capita income
The per capita income varies in reverse to the household income with the household size and the lower the household size, higher the per capita income. Per capita income in a domain is calculated by dividing the estimated total household income by the estimated number of household population in the domain and is also used to measure and compare the wealth status of domains. The mean and median monthly per capita income of the country at sector and province levels in 2009, the mean monthly per capita income at national level was Rs. 8,931 in 2009 and the median was Rs. 5,863. More than 70 % of the total population receives per capita income less than the value of the national mean per-capita income (Rs. 8,931). The richest 20 % of the total population in Sri Lanka shared nearly 53 % of the total household income in 2009.

Source of income
The survey revealed that 85 % of the total household income of the country was received as monetary income in 2009 and it was Rs 30,191 out of Rs. 35,496 on average at national household level. The major part of the monetary income, Rs. 12,130 or 34.2 % of the total household income is sourced from wages and salaries. 50 % of the households headed by a GCE (O/L) or higher examination-passed person, receives an income more than or equal to the average household income of the country and 50 % of the degree holder headed households received beyond Rs. 55,000 monthly in 2009. However the degree holder headed households were just 2 % in the population and almost three out of every four households in the country are headed by less than GCE (O/L) attained (from no schooling up to grade 10) persons. Household heads who never attended school are 4.7 % and 50 % of their households receive less than Rs. 13,539 per month.

Expenditure of a household in urban sector was recorded as Rs. 44,845 on average while that in the rural sector was Rs. 30,805. It can be seen that a household in the urban sector has spent approximately Rs. 20,000 more than that in the estate sector per month. Among the provinces in Sri Lanka, the highest mean monthly household expenditure is reported from Western province (Rs 43,275).

Food and drink
The survey results reveal that the total average monthly household expenditure for both food and drink and non food was Rs. 32,446 in Sri Lanka in 2009. Out of that value, an amount of Rs. 12,918 has been spent on food and drink by a household on average. Hence the computed food ratio is 39.8 % for Sri Lanka in 2009. The computed food ratios for urban, rural and estate sectors are 34.4 %, 40.6 % and 49.5 %, respectively. Therefore generally it can be expected that the living conditions for households in urban and rural sectors are better than that of households in the estate sector.

Considering the household food consumption quantities and expenditure values reported in the survey, rice, wheat flour and bread have been favourite main food items consumed in households in Sri Lanka. Thus cereals (rice, wheat flour etc.), and prepared food (bread, buns, hoppers etc.) are the two major groups, on which the highest proportions of the total food expenditure are spent. The urban sector spent more on prepared food than the cereals whereas the estate sector spends little on prepared food and almost one third of their total food expenditure on cereals. Households in the estate sector have spent nearly 32 % of total expenditure for cereals.

Households in rural and estate sectors have spent relatively larger amount on cereals whereas those in the urban sector have not. They have spent more on prepared foods (15.5 % of total expenditure). The rural sector and the estate sector consider condiments as an important part of their food and it is the second and third largest food category for the estate sector and the rural sector, respectively.

Non food spending
The monthly average non food expenditure per household is Rs. 19,529. The survey results indicate that the average monthly household expenditure on liquor, (narcotic) drugs and tobacco is Rs. 672 and it is about 3.4 % of the total expenditure. Since the respondent households do not disclose the true details on liquor, narcotic drugs and tobacco consumption and expenditure and not every member of the households are separately interviewed in household surveys, the corresponding values may be higher than what was revealed.

Expenditure on housing is the highest non-food expenditure group in Sri Lanka. It is to be noted that the estimated rental value of owner occupied housing units, housing units occupied without paying any rental fee are also included in this group. The share of expenditure out of the total non food expenditure on housing is 18.1 %. The mean expenditure on transport is reported as Rs. 2,497 (12.8%) and it records the second highest amount for non food expenditure among the major non-food categories.

The national level and the rural sector poverty reduction of one third since 2002 to 2006/07 have further sharpened to 50 % reduction since then to 2009/10 in just less than three years. Although the urban sector shows no significant reduction in poverty since 2006/07 to 2009, the estate sector has reported an unprecedented two-third reduction of poverty.

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