With an economy worth $80.591 billion (2015) ($233.637 billion PPP estimate), and a per capita GDP of US$ 3,818.16, Sri Lanka has mostly had strong growth rates in recent years. The Sri Lankan economy has seen robust annual growth at 6.4 percent over the course of 2003 to 2012, well above its regional peers. In GDP per capita terms, it is ahead of other countries in the South Asian region. Since the end of the three-decade civil conflict, Sri Lanka is now focusing on long-term strategic and structural development challenges as it strives to transition to an upper middle income country.

The main economic sectors of the country are tourism, tea export, apparel, textile, rice production and other agricultural products. In addition to these economic sectors, overseas employment contributes highly in foreign exchange with 90% of expatriate Sri Lankans residing in the Middle East.
Sri Lanka has met the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of halving extreme poverty and is on track to meet most of the other MDGs, outperforming other South Asian countries. Sri Lanka experienced a big decline in poverty between 2002 and 2009 – from 23 percent to 9 percent of the population. However, pockets of poverty continue to exist. An estimated 9 percent of Sri Lankans who are no longer classified as poor live within 20 percent of the poverty line and are, thus, vulnerable to shocks which could cause them to fall back into poverty.

According to economic reforms proposed in 2015, Sri Lanka plans to create a knowledge based social market economy. The proposed reforms targets to build an export-oriented economy as well as a Mega-polis in the Western Province with a financial hub in Colombo to rival Dubai and Singapore . Creation of several business and technology development areas specialized in various sectors island wide as well as tourism zones in a planned manner are also planned. The government is also working towards lifting the ban imposed by the EU on Sri Lankan seafood and regaining GSP+ trade concessions.


According to the 2012 census the population of Sri Lanka was 20,359,439, giving a population density of 325/km2. The population had grown by 5,512,689 (37.1%) since the 1981 census (the last full census), equivalent to an annual growth rate of 1.1%. 3,704,470 (18.2%) lived in urban sectors – areas governed by municipal and urban councils.

5,131,666 (25.2%) of the population were aged 14 or under whilst 2,525,573 (12.4%) were aged 60 or over, leaving a working age (15-59) population of 12,702,700. The dependency ratio was 60.2%. The mean age was 32 years and the median age was 31 years. The sex ratio was 94 males per 100 females. The fertility rate for married females aged 15 or over was 2.65 live births. There were 5,264,282 households of which 3,986,236 (75.7%) were headed by males and 1,278,046 (24.3%) were headed by females.

Of the 15,227,773 aged 15 or over, 10,322,105 (67.8%) were married, 3,927,602 (25.8%) were never married, 792,947 (5.2%) were widowed and 185,119 (1.2%) were divorced or separated.

Of those aged 15 or over, 7,857,370 (51.6%) were economically active, 4,199,558 (27.6%) did housework, 1,431,105 (9.4%) were students, 914,934 (6.0%) were unable to work and 346,084 (2.3%) were pensioners. 521,938 (6.6%) of the economically active were unemployed. 604,540 Sri Lankans were living aboard for more than six months but were intending to return to Sri Lanka, mostly in the Gulf states. The overall literacy rate for those aged 10 and over was 94.27%.


Sri Lanka’s cellular subscriber base has shown a staggering 550% growth, from 2005 to 2010. Sri Lanka was the first country in the South Asian region to introduce 3G (Third Generation), 3.5G HSDPA, 3.75G HSUPA and 4G LTE mobile broadband Internet technologies.

Sri Lanka has A and B class road network exceeding 12,000 kilometres. It consists of 35 A grade highways connecting major cities. In addition, several expressways are being built. The railway network, operated by the state-run national railway operator, Sri Lanka Railways, spans 1,447 kilometres. Sri Lanka also has three deep-water ports, at Colombo, Galle, and Trincomalee, in addition to the newest port built at Hambantota. Its flag carrier airline is Sri Lankan Airlines.