macrohistory & world report

Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

Map of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka (capital Colombo) and neighboring India

World Factbook as of November 2014: "Sri Lanka continues to experience strong economic growth following the end of the 26-year conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. The government has been pursuing large-scale reconstruction and development projects in its efforts to spur growth in war-torn and disadvantaged areas, develop small and medium enterprises and increase agricultural productivity. The government's high debt payments and bloated civil service have contributed to historically high budget deficits, but fiscal consolidation efforts and strong GDP growth in recent years have helped bring down the government's fiscal deficit. However, low tax revenues are a major concern. The 2008-09 global financial crisis and recession exposed Sri Lanka's economic vulnerabilities and nearly caused a balance of payments crisis. Agriculture slowed due to a drought and weak global demand affected exports and trade. In early 2012, Sri Lanka floated the rupee, resulting in a sharp depreciation, and took steps to curb imports. A large trade deficit remains a concern, but strong remittances from Sri Lankan workers abroad help offset the trade deficit. Government debt of about 80% of GDP remains among the highest in emerging markets."

Economic growth rate
2011: 8%
2010: 8%
2009: 3.5%

Labor force in agriculture
2010: 32.7%

2011: 4.2%
2010: 4.9%

Public debt
201: 78.5% of GDP

Export commodities
Textiles and apparel, tea and spices; rubber manufactures; precious stones; coconut products, fish

Export/import ratio
2011: exports $10.98 billion, imports $20.02 billion

Income Distribution – GINI index
Ranks 26th among 140 countries (lower rank number is less equal). Less equal than Britain, which ranks 94th, and the US, which ranks 45th.

Health expenditures
2009: 4% of GDP

Military expenditures as a percentage of GDP
2006: 2.6%


Living in an urban area
2010: 14%

Net migration rate
2012: Loss of 1.95 persons per 1,000 population per year.

Ethnic groups
2001 census: Sinhalese 73.8%, Sri Lankan Moors 7.2%, Indian Tamil 4.6%, Sri Lankan Tamil 3.9%, other 0.5%, unspecified 10%

2001 census: Buddhist 69.1%, Muslim 7.6%, Hindu 7.1%, Christian 6.2%, unspecified 10%


Island 60 kilometers southwest of India. Tropical. Equivalent to 256 by 256 kilometers or roughly 160 by 160 miles.


President popularly elected to a six-year term as is both chief of state and head of the government. A unicameral parliament consists of 225 members popularly elected to serve six-year terms. Capital: Colombo.


World Factbook: "The first Sinhalese arrived in Sri Lanka late in the 6th century B.C., probably from northern India. Buddhism was introduced in about the mid-third century B.C., and a great civilization developed at the cities of Anuradhapura (kingdom from circa 200 B.C. to circa A.D. 1000) and Polonnaruwa (from about 1070 to 1200). In the 14th century, a south Indian dynasty established a Tamil kingdom in northern Sri Lanka. The coastal areas of the island were controlled by the Portuguese in the 16th century and by the Dutch in the 17th century."

Acquired independence from Britain in 1948.

July 2008: In the capital, journalists are demonstrating. Sir Lanka is ranked the third most dangerous country in the world by the World Association of Newspapers, based on the number of media workers killed in 2007. The World Association of Newspapers rank Sri Lanka the third most dangerous country in the world for media workers in 2007 based on the number who were killed.

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