Area: 65,610 sq. km. (25,332 sq. mi.); about the size of West
Cities: Capital--Colombo (pop. est. 1.3 million--urban area).
Sri Jayewardenepura-Kotte is the officially designated capital and
is the site of Parliament, but it is currently only an
administrative center. Other cities--Kandy (150,000), Galle
(110,000), Jaffna (100,000).
Terrain: Coastal plains in the northern third of country; hills and
mountains in south-central Sri Lanka rise to more than 2,133 meters
Climate: Tropical. Rainy seasons--light in northeast, fall and
winter, with average rainfall of 50 in.; heavy in southwest, summer
and fall, with average rainfall of 200 in.
Nationality: Noun and adjective--Sri Lankan(s).
Population (2003): 19.4 million.
Annual growth rate: 0.08%.
Ethnic groups (2002): Sinhalese (74%), Tamils (18%), Muslims (7%),
Religions: Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity.
Languages: Sinhala and Tamil (official), English.
Education: Years compulsory--to age 14. Primary school attendance--96.5%.
Health: Infant mortality rate--15/1,000. Life expectancy--71
yrs. (male); 76 yrs. (female).
Work force: 7.2 million.
Independence: February 4, 1948.
Constitution: August 31, 1978.
Suffrage: Universal over 18.
Branches: Executive--president, chief of state and head of
government, elected for a 6-year term. Legislative--unicameral
225-member Parliament. Judicial--Supreme Court, Court of
Appeal, High Court, subordinate courts.
Administrative subdivisions: Nine provinces and 25 administrative
districts. (The northern and eastern provinces, however, have been
technically jointly administered since 1988.)
Political parties: Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, Jathika Hela Urumaya,
Sri Lanka Freedom Party, Tamil National Alliance, United National
Party, several small Tamil and Muslim parties, and others. The Sri
Lanka Freedom Party and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, along with
several small leftist parties, operate under an umbrella
organization known as the “United People’s Freedom Alliance.” The
United National Party and several other smaller parties operate as
the “United National Front.”
GDP: $18.4 billion (est. 2003).
Annual growth rate: 5.9%.
Natural resources: Limestone, graphite, mineral sands, gems, and
Agriculture (20.1% of GDP): Major products--rice, tea,
rubber, coconut, and spices.
Services (53.6% of GDP): Major types--tourism, transport,
telecom, banking and finance.
Industry (26.3% of GDP): Major types--garments and leather
goods, food processing, chemicals, refined petroleum, wood products,
basic metal products, and paper products.
Trade: Exports--$5.1 billion: garments and footwear, tea,
rubber products, jewelry and gems, refined petroleum, and coconuts.
Major markets--U.S. ($1.8 billion), U.K., Germany, Japan,
Belgium. Imports--$6.4 billion. Major suppliers--India,
Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, U.K., U.S. ($155
million). [U.S. data]