Districts of Sri Lanka

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Updates: 

I used source [6] to supply data from the 2012 census.

Update 1 to the U.S. standard "Geopolitical Entities and Codes" is dated 2010-08-20. It recognizes Eastern and Northern as separate provinces.

ISO 3166-2 Newsletter number II-1, dated 2010-02-03, has changes to the listing for Sri Lanka, but nothing that affects data reported on this site. The prefix LK- is explicitly added to each province code. Province and district names are given in a new romanization system.

Sri Lanka's standard time was UTC+5:30 from the adoption of standard time in 1906 until 1996. In 1996, it was moved ahead one hour, and then back a half hour. The LTTE ("Tamil Tigers") ignored the changes, and in areas under their control, UTC+5:30 continued to be observed. Finally, Sri Lanka set its clocks back half an hour at 0:30 on 2006-04-15, from UTC+6 to UTC+5:30. That change put the entire country back in synch.

The Department of Census and Statistics has assigned hierarchical subdivision codes . The first digit of the census code is the same as the ISO code for the province containing the district. These codes match the ISO code for the district, except for four districts in Northern province; even in those districts, the first digit of the ISO code matches the ISO code for the province. The census codes apply to the 2001 census only; different codes may be used in other years.

Country overview: 

Short nameSRI LANKA
ISO codeLK
FIPS codeCE
LanguageSinhala (si), Tamil (ta), English (en)
Time zone+5:30
CapitalColombo

 

Ceylon was a British colony at the beginning of the 20th century. It became an independent member of the Commonwealth on 1948-02-04. On 1972-05-22, it became a republic and changed its English name to Sri Lanka.

Other names of country: 

  1. Danish: Sri Lanka, Ceylon (obsolete)
  2. Dutch: Srilanka, Sri Lanka, Democratische Socialistische Republiek Sri Lanka (formal)
  3. English: Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (formal), Ceylon (obsolete)
  4. Finnish: Sri Lanka
  5. French: Sri Lanka m
  6. German: Sri Lanka n
  7. Icelandic: Srí Lanka
  8. Italian: Sri Lanka m
  9. Norwegian: Den demokratiske sosialistiske republikk Sri Lanka (formal) (Bokmål), Den demokratiske sosialistiske republikken Sri Lanka (formal) (Nynorsk), Sri Lanka
  10. Portuguese: Seri Lanca, Sri Lanka, República f Democrática Socialista do Sri Lanka m (formal), Ceilão m (obsolete)
  11. Sinhala: Sri Lanka Prajathanthrika Samajavadi Janarajaya (formal)
  12. Russian: Демократическая Социалистическая Республика Шри-Ланка (formal), Цейлон (obsolete)
  13. Spanish: Sri Lanka, República f Socialista Democrática de Sri Lanka m (formal), Ceilán (obsolete)
  14. Swedish: Sri Lanka
  15. Turkish: Sri Lanka Demokratik Sosyalist Cumhuriyeti (formal)

Origin of name: 

Sri is an honorific title; Lanka is the name of a mythical island country mentioned in the Ramayana

Primary subdivisions: 

Sri Lanka is divided into 25 distrikkaya (districts).

DistrictHASCISOFIPSPabPcCCPopulationArea(km.²)Area(mi.²)Prov
AmparaLK.AP52CE01APR3252645,8252,9841,1525
AnuradhapuraLK.AD71CE02AD5071855,5627,1282,7527
BadullaLK.BD81CE03BD9081811,2252,8181,0888
BatticaloaLK.BC51CE04BC3051525,1862,4639515
ColomboLK.CO11CE23CO10112,323,8266422481
GalleLK.GL31CE06GL80311,059,0461,6736463
GampahaLK.GQ12CE24GQ11122,298,5881,3935381
HambantotaLK.HB33CE07HB8233595,8772,5931,0013
JaffnaLK.JA41CE25JA4041583,0711,1144304
KalutaraLK.KT13CE09KT12131,214,8801,6066201
KandyLK.KY21CE10KY20211,368,2162,3659132
KegalleLK.KE92CE11KE7192837,1791,6636429
KilinochchiLK.KL42   45112,8721,1714524
KurunegalaLK.KG61CE12KG60611,611,4074,7711,8426
MannarLK.MB43CE26MB414299,0631,9637584
MataleLK.MT22CE14MT2122482,3481,9877672
MataraLK.MH32CE15MH8132810,7031,2464813
MoneragalaLK.MJ82CE16MJ9182448,1947,1332,7548
MullaitivuLK.MP45CE27MP424492,2281,5806104
Nuwara EliyaLK.NW23CE17NW2223706,2101,2284742
PolonnaruwaLK.PR72CE18PR5172403,8593,4031,3147
PuttalamLK.PX62CE19PX6162760,7782,9761,1496
RatnapuraLK.RN91CE20RN70911,082,2993,2371,2509
TrincomaleeLK.TC53CE21TC3153376,3662,6161,0105
VavuniyaLK.VA44CE28VA4343172,7892,6421,0204
25 districts20,277,59764,39524,862
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision code.
  • ISO: Codes from ISO 3166-2.
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4 (superseded).
  • Pab: Abbreviations used by the Sri Lanka Post Office.
  • Pc: Sri Lanka uses five-digit postal codes. The first two digits usually indicate the
    district, as shown here, although there are some deviations.
  • CC: Census code.
  • Population: 2012-02-27 census (source [6]).
  • Prov: ISO code of province containing this district.
  • Capitals: All district capitals have the same names as their districts.

 

Note: Because of civil strife, the 2001 census enumeration was incomplete or absent in seven districts. The populations for those districts were left blank in this table.

Further subdivisions:

See the Divisions of Sri Lanka page.

Subordinate to the districts, there are the pradeshiya mandalaya (divisional council) and gramodaya mandalaya (village council). Since the late 19th century, both palata (provinces) and districts have coexisted, with each province being a group of districts. The provinces had no administrative function until 1988. The Northern and Eastern provinces have been provisionally merged into a North Eastern province, intended to placate Tamil demands for greater self-rule. The merger will become permanent after a referendum which has been repeatedly postponed. Some lists now show eight provinces, and some nine.

International standard ISO 3166-2 was published on December 15, 1998. It superseded ISO/DIS 3166-2 (draft international standard). For Sri Lanka, the draft standard showed both provinces and districts. Each province or district had a two-digit code. Three codes were duplicated: a province had the same code as a district. In the final standard, the two-digit province codes were replaced with one-digit codes. Obviously, this did away with any duplications. The draft standard showed North Eastern province. The final standard replaced it with separate Northern and Eastern provinces. The standard is now set up so that you can tell which province each district is in by their codes. The first digit of a district code is the same as the code for the province in which it belongs.

Update 1 to the U.S. standard "Geopolitical Entities and Codes" showed the splitting of North Eastern province (former FIPS code CE31) into Eastern and Northern.

The provinces and their codes are shown in this table.

ProvinceISOFIPSArea(km.²)CapitalSinhalese name
Central2CE295,584KandyMadhyama
Eastern5CE379,951TrincomaliNegenahira
North Central7CE3010,724AnuradhapuraUturumeda
Northern4CE388,882JaffnaUturu
North Western6CE327,812PuttalamWayamba
Sabaragamuwa9CE334,902RatnapuraSabaragamuwa
Southern3CE345,559GalleDakunu
Uva8CE358,488BadullaUva
Western1CE363,709ColomboBasnahira
  • ISO: Province codes from ISO 3166-2. For full identification in a
    global context, prefix "LK-" to the code (ex: LK-8 represents Uva).
  • FIPS: Recent FIPS lists show eight provinces; CE31 represents
    North Eastern.

Territorial extent: 

All districts are situated mostly on the island of Sri Lanka.

  1. Jaffna is located on the Jaffna peninsula, which is nearly separated from the rest of Sri Lanka. It also contains some islands in Palk Strait, such as Delft, Velanai, Karaitivu, and Punkudutivu.
  2. Mannar includes Mannar Island, part of the chain of islands and peninsulas called Adam's Bridge.

Origins of names: 

Colombo: possibly Sinhala kolamba: port, ferry; assimilated to Columbus's name by Portuguese colonists

Change history: 

  1. ~1958: Chilaw district merged with Puttalam district, both in North-Western province; Amparai district split from Batticaloa; Moneragala district split from Badulla; Polonnaruwa district split from Anuradhapura.
  2. 1974-06-28: Kachchativu island transferred from India to Sri Lanka.
  3. 1978-08-31: New constitution adopted. Gampaha district split from Colombo. Mullaitivu district formed from parts of Jaffna, Mannar, and Vavuniya.
  4. 1982: Some governmental functions moved from Colombo to Sri Jayawardenapura (formerly Kotte).
  5. 1983-10-04: Kilinochchi district split from Jaffna by the seventh amendment to the constitution.
  6. 1987-11-14: Thirteenth amendment to the constitution passed, authorizing the establishment of provincial councils to govern the nine provinces.

Other names of subdivisions: 

  1. districts:
  2. Ampara: Amparai (variant)
  3. Batticaloa: Matakalapuva (Sinhala)
  4. Jaffna: Yapanaya (Sinhala)
  5. Kandy: Maha Nuwara (variant)
  6. Kegalle: Kegalla (variant)
  7. Mannar: Mannarama (Sinhala)
  8. Moneragala: Monaragala (variant)
  9. Mullaitivu: Mulativ (Sinhala); Mulativu, Mullaittivu (variant)
  10. Nuwara Eliya: Nuvara Eliya (variant)
  11. Trincomalee: Trikunamalaya (Sinhala)
  12. Vavuniya: Vavuniyava (Sinhala)
  13. provinces:
  14. Central: Madhyama (Sinhala)
  15. Eastern: Nægenahira (Sinhala)
  16. North Central: Uturumæda (Sinhala)
  17. North Western: Vayamba, Wayamba (Sinhala)
  18. Northern: Uturu (Sinhala)
  19. Sabaragamuwa: Sabaragamuva (Sinhala)
  20. Southern: Dakunu (Sinhala)
  21. Western: Basnahira (Sinhala)

Population history:

Province1901-03-011911-03-101921-03-181931-02-261946-03-191953-03-201963-07-081971-10-091981-03-1719962012-02-27
Central622,800672,300717,739953,3951,135,2901,366,6851,698,0001,953,0442,005,9562,311,0002,556,774
Eastern173,600183,700192,821213,980279,112354,410547,000717,571976,4751,310,0001,547,377
North Central79,10086,30096,52597,365139,534229,282394,000552,423850,5751,110,0001,259,421
Northern341,000369,600374,829399,094479,572570,650742,000874,6261,111,4681,383,0001,060,023
North Western353,600434,100492,181546,988667,889855,2281,156,0001,404,0631,706,0992,148,0002,372,185
Sabaragamuwa321,800408,500471,814578,368745,382893,1601,125,0001,316,0961,478,8791,765,0001,919,478
Southern566,800628,800671,234771,283961,4181,129,3081,430,0001,661,8701,882,9122,366,0002,465,626
Uva186,700216,700233,864303,419372,238466,896654,000808,425922,6361,128,0001,259,419
Western920,7001,106,3001,246,8471,448,6481,876,9042,232,2762,838,0003,401,7793,915,0014,687,0005,837,294
Totals3,565,9544,106,3504,497,8545,312,5486,657,3398,097,89510,582,06412,689,89714,850,00118,208,00020,277,597

 

All figures are from censuses except 1996. Totals for 1901, 1911, 1953, 1963, and 2012, and provincial populations for 2012 are from source [6]. Provincial populations for 1901 and 1911 are from source [1]; 1963, from source [10]. All 1931 data are from source [8]; 1953, source [9]; 1971, source [7]; 1983, source [11].

District1971-10-091981-03-172001-07-172012-02-27
Ampara272,605388,786589,344645,825
Anuradhapura388,770587,822746,466855,562
Badulla615,405642,893774,555811,225
Batticaloa256,721330,899525,186
Colombo2,672,2651,698,3222,234,2892,323,826
Galle735,173814,579990,5391,059,046
Gampaha1,389,4902,066,0962,298,588
Hambantota340,254424,102525,370595,877
Jaffna701,603739,356583,071
Kalutara729,514827,1891,060,8001,214,880
Kandy1,187,9251,126,2961,272,4631,368,216
Kegalle654,752682,411779,774837,179
Kilinochchi91,756112,872
Kurunegala1,025,6331,212,7551,452,3691,611,407
Mannar77,780106,94099,063
Matale314,841357,441442,427482,348
Matara586,443644,231761,236810,703
Moneragala193,020279,743396,173448,194
Mullaitivu77,51292,228
Nuwara Eliya450,278522,219700,083706,210
Polonnaruwa163,653262,753359,197403,859
Puttalam378,430493,344705,342760,778
Ratnapura661,344796,4681,008,1641,082,299
Trincomalee188,245256,790376,366
Vavuniya95,24395,904172,789
Total12,689,89714,850,00118,797,25720,277,597

 

1971: source [7]; 2001: source [4]; 2012: source [6]. Some districts were not enumerated in 2001 because of civil strife. The country total for that census is an estimate made by the Department of Census and Statistics.

Sources: 

  1. [1] Statistical Abstract of Ceylon. Department of Census and Statistics. Colombo, 1965.
  2. [2] Dutt, Ashok K., and M. Margaret Geib. Fully Annotated Atlas of South Asia. Westview Press, Boulder and London, 1987.
  3. [3] Schmidt, Karl J., and M. E. Sharpe. An Atlas and Survey of South Asian History. Armonk, New York, 1995.
  4. [4] Sri Lanka Department of Census and Statistics (DCS), Population by Sex and Age according to District and Sector (Provisional), at http://www.statistics.gov.lk/census2001/population/district/t001a.htm (dead link, retrieved 2004-02-21).
  5. [5] Demographic Yearbook , 7th Ed. Statistical Office of the United Nations, New York, 1955 (retrieved 2011-08-20).
  6. [6] Population of Sri Lanka by District . Census of Population and Housing 2011: Enumeration Stage February - March 2012, preliminary report (provisional). Department of Census and Statistics, 2012-04-20 (retrieved 2012-07-07).
  7. [7] 1979 Demographic Yearbook , 31st Ed. Statistical Office, United Nations, New York, 1980 (retrieved 2011-12-28).
  8. [8] Encyclopædia Britannica World Atlas, 1951 edition.
  9. [9] Encyclopædia Britannica World Atlas, 1964 edition.
  10. [10] Encyclopædia Britannica, 15th Edition, Chicago, 1984.
  11. [11] Almanaque Abril '85, Editora Abril, São Paulo, 1985.
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