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Sri Lanka Population and religion percentage

Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon, and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island country in South Asia. The total Land Area of Sri Lanka is 62,732 sq. km (24,221 sq. mi) and the Population Density of Sri Lanka is 341 per sq. km (884 people per sq, mi). As per the UN World Population Prospects report,  the estimated population of  Sri Lanka in 2024 is 21,949,268 (2.2 Crore or 22 million)

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Table of Contents

Sri Lanka Demographics
Sri Lanka2024 Population
Total Population21,949,268 (22 million)
Global Rank58
Land Area 62,732 sq. km (24,221 sq. mi)
Area Rank120
Pop. Density341 people/sq. km
Fertility Rate2.21
Infant mortality rate 6.4
Median Age 34 Years
Life Expectancy 77.56 years
Urban Population18.4%

Source: UN World Population Prospects report

Religion in Sri Lanka

Srilanka is a religiously diverse country and Buddhism is the majority and is considered an “Official religion” of Sri Lanka. Buddhism is practiced by 70.2% of the Sri Lankan population with most being predominantly from the Theravada school of thought.

Hinduism is the second-largest religion in Sri Lanka. It was followed by 12.6% of the population and Shaivism was the dominant branch. Islam is the third most prevalent religion in the country followed by 9.7% of the population. Most followers on the island today are Sunni who follows the Shafi’i school.

Around 7.4% of the Sri Lankan population are Christians, of whom 82% are Roman Catholics who trace their religious heritage directly to the Portuguese. The remaining Christians are evenly split between the Anglican Church of Ceylon and other Protestant denominations. 

Religion Percentage in Sri Lanka

#ReligionPercentage %
1Buddhism 70.2%
2Hinduism 12.6%
3Islam 9.7%
4Christianity 7.4%
5Others/ None 0.05%

Ethnic composition

Sri Lanka is home to a diverse population with various ethnic groups. The Sinhalese are the largest group and make up 74.9% of the population and are concentrated in the southwest and central parts of the island. The Sri Lankan Tamils, who live predominantly in the north and east of the island, form the largest minority group at 11.1% of the population.

 The Moors, who are descendants of Arab and Indian traders, make up the third-largest ethnic group, accounting for 9.3% of the population. They are mainly concentrated in urban areas in the southern parts of the island, with significant populations in the Central and Eastern provinces. Another distinct ethnic group is the Indian Tamils, who make up 4.1% of the population. The British brought them to Sri Lanka in the 19th century to work as tea and rubber plantation workers, and they remained concentrated in the “tea country” of south-central Sri Lanka.

Other smaller minority groups include the Veddas, who are the indigenous people of Sri Lanka; Malays who descended from Austronesian settlers; the Burghers, who are descendants of European colonists mainly from Portugal, the Netherlands, and the UK; ethnic Chinese migrants who came to the island in the 18th and 19th centuries; and the Kaffirs, a small population who are descendants of Africans.

Ethnic percentage

  • Sinhalese – 74.9% 
  • Sri Lankan Tamils – 11.2% 
  • Moors – 9.2% 
  • Indian Tamils – 4.2% 
  • Others (incl. Burghers, Malays, Veddas, Chinese) – 0.5% 
Top Cities in Sri Lanka by Population
#CityProvincePopulation
1ColomboWestern5,61,314
2KaduwelaWestern2,52,041
3MaharagamaWestern1,96,423
4KesbewaWestern1,85,122
5Dehiwala-Mount LaviniaWestern1,84,468
6MoratuwaWestern1,68,280
7NegomboWestern1,42,449
8Sri Jayawardenepura KotteWestern1,07,925
9KalmunaiEastern99,893
10KandyCentral98,828
11GalleSouthern86,333
12BatticaloaEastern86,227
13JaffnaNorthern80,829
14MataraSouthern74,193
15GampahaWestern62,335
16KatunayakeWestern60,915
17BoralesgamuwaWestern60,110
18KolonnawaWestern60,044
19AnuradhapuraNorth Central50,595
20TrincomaleeEastern48,351

Source: 2012 Census

also Read about Indian Population in Sri Lanka

Population of Sri Lanka 2024 | Religion in Sri Lanka