Lanka has 20 million people: Census 2012

Colombo and Gampaha Districts most populous

The preliminary report of the population census conducted in 2012 has revealed that  the Gampaha District has become almost as populous as the Colombo District with the  difference between the figures of these two districts being a  mere 25,238.
The Colombo District continues to be the most populous district of the country with a population of 2,323,826 while the adjoining district Gampaha recorded a population of 2,298,588.

“The worker immigration to the export processing zones in Katunayake and Biyagama located in the Gampaha District as well as the selection of Gampaha District for residence due to the ease of commuting to Colombo which is the commercial and administrative hub, could reasonably be attributed to the relative increase of population in the Gampaha District,” the report released on Thursday said.

The census which covered the entire country after a lapse of 30 years reported the country’s population at 20,277,597 showing an increase of 1,480,340 or by 7.9 per cent compared to the census in 2001 which covered only 18 districts of the country. In 2001 the recorded population was 18,797,257.

Apart from the Colombo and Gampaha Districts, as observed in previous censuses, large populations of over one million have been recorded from Kurunegala (1,611,407), Kandy (1,368,216), Kalutara (1,214,880), Ratnapura (1,082,299) and Galle (1,059,046) districts, respectively.

Mullaitivu, Mannar, Kilinochchi and Vavuniya Districts in the Northern Province recorded the lowest populations among the districts in Sri Lanka as observed in previous censuses.  Mullaitivu District recorded the lowest population in the country at 92,228.
The first official census conducted in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) on a legal and scientific basis was recorded in 1871 under the British regime in the colonial era.

The population in the country has been increasing continuously since the inaugural census in 1871 which recorded a total population of 2,400,380. The population increased to 12,689,897 in the 1971 census which was conducted 100 years after the inaugural census. The current census, conducted 40 years thereafter, records a total population of 20,277,597. Out of this total population, 3,418 persons are homeless without a place of residence.

The ‘Census of Population and Housing 2011’ was carried out between February 27 and March 21, 2012.

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