Demography
Population
889,000
ADMINISTRATIVE AREA
4,362 ha
Density
115 persons / ha

A city is a large human settlement. People are the main driving force in a city. The dynamism of a city is dependent  on people and their behaviour. A preliminary understanding of the composition and diverse capabilities of the populations in a city should be the key to a successful urban study.

Predictions made by identifying demographic and composition patterns of the population within the existing physical boundary will create a well-planned livable  city.
 
 
 
 
 

 

Gender distribution by age

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

Out of the total population within the Colombo Municipal Council limits, 50.14% are male and 49.86% are female. The speciality of the city of Colombo is that there are more males than females compared to other cities in Sri Lanka. The proportion of the total population divided by age is 23.1% for children under 15, 24.76%, for those aged 15 - 29, 39.82% for those aged 30-59 and 12.29% for the elderly population over 60 year.

Sex Ratio (Female per every 100 Males) by age group

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

Sex ratio is calculated using the percentage of proportion of males relative to females in a population. The graph indicates that more females than males in age group of over 60

Composition of the Ethnic Profile - by Urban Area, District and Province

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

According to the Census Survey conducted in 2012, within the Colombo Municipal Council limits Sinhalese, Tamils and Moors, the main ethnic groups constitute 36.7%, 31.5% and 29.4% respectively.That figures for the Colombo district are 76%, 11% and 10.7% respectively and in the Western Province 84%, 7% and 7.8% respectively.

Language competency

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

Data showing the multinational language skills of ethnic group in 2012 in the Colombo Municipal Council

Female Headed households and Male Headed Households with National Average

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

Number of Male headed households are higher than the number of Female headed households

Migration to city limits by years of residents

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

The amount of male immigrants are comparatively higher than the female immigrants according to the data. majority are recorded as resident for more than ten years in urban area.

Reason for migration

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

Employment is considered as the main reason for male population migration in to the city, and the females are migrated in the city is due to marriages and also considering employments as well as accompanying with a family member.

Education

Education has always been a significant element in societal development. The development of education facilities contributes substantially to the development in an urban area.

As a developing country it is crucial to address poverty in order to attain the development goals. Education plays a major role in poverty reduction. Presently, several global cities have been implementing the concept of smart city to improve the quality of life of the society, including in the field of education.

Good educational institutions and coverage enables a population to have decent livelihoods be they self employed or part of the workforce. Understanding how a city provides primary, secondary and tertiary eductional as well as skill development through vocational centres could provide some pointers to how well a city is doing or where it needs to develop further.

Category of Educational attainment by Gender( aged 3 - 24 years )

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

The above age group in Colombo MC around 50 per cent of people who are in age 3 to 24 are attending schools. There are 35 per cent who are not schooling in this category.

Highest Level of Education achieved by Gender

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

This graph shows that there is still a higher proportion of males that achieve a higher degree and above despite more females graduating from GCE (O/L) and GCE (A/L).

Computer literacy - ( Population aged 10 years and above )

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

The graph shows that 15-19 age group is holding the highest level in computer literacy in Colombo MC in 2012

Transport

Connectivity is central to key GoSL strategic aims: to promote economic growth, and to rebalance growth across the country’s 9 provinces. Higher the connectivity to any city, better is the urban growth in that city. 

Detailed information on key transport aspects including bus and rail transport, freight route maps, airports and logistic systems are aspects that should be considered for a city to be properly interconnected within the bigger system. One of the SDG targets 11.2 is about access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems, road safety, public transport, and if we are to move towards being sustainble, these need to be considered in tranpsort planning. Further, the needs of people in vulnerable situations, women and children, persons with disabilities and older persons should also be considered.

ICT coverage is another way of being connected and recent technological advances enable a city to be better connected through its access to ICTs as well.

Number of Vehicles and Passengers by Mode - One Way, 24 Hours

Source - SOSLC Project

The route buses are the dominant type of vehicle in the area which tolerate the majority of the passengers. Motor cycles and cars/vans are also used in a considerable level.

Modal share of vehicles entering in Municipal Council from 06 am to 06 pm (Percent)

Source - SOSLC Project

This highest percentage of vehicles entering into the Colombo MC area between 6 am to 6pm were private vehicles such as motorcycles and car/van/jeeps. Route buss only represent 6% out of the total share of vehicles

Accident statistics in Police Divisions (Number of fatal casualties)

Source - Sri Lanka Police Department

This graph shows fatal casualties within the last 3 years. There has been a substantial increase in fatal casualties mirroring the increased traffic in Colombo MC.

Hourly traffic flow (in day time )

Source - SOSLC Project

Between 6 am to 9 am is the busiest traffic period in the Colombo MC area with peak reached at 7 am due to school and work commuting traffic.

Number of railway passengers annually

Source - Sri Lanka Railways

The graph shows the annual railway passengers from 2012 to 2016. there is an increase in number of passengers over the years.

Railway passengers coming into/from city center

Source - Sri Lanka Railways

This data includes island wide station record survey of ordinary records and season ticket survey of Railway department (March ,2016)

Economy

Cities are the primary drivers of economic development, therefore, Sri Lanka’s cities have a decisive role to play in driving the economy forward by catalysing high value-added economic activities, as the country strives to achieve upper middle-income country status.

According the latest Word Cities report, 80 per cent of global GDP is created by cities, despite their accounting for less than 60 per cent of the world’s population (UN-Habitat, 2016).

The Government of Sri Lanka recognizes the role of urban economy in shaping the future of the country. In this respect, Vision 2025 and Public Investment Programme (PIP) 2017-2020 lays out the urban policy priority actions: to promote western region as economic hub of the southern part of the Indian subcontinent, and to promote strategic city development to secondary urban spaces as provincial economic hubs. 

It is also interesting to see how competitive a city is, taking into account current and potential roles of governments, businesses and the private sector in the economic development of the city and urban settlements, best use of human capital,  and labour force participation, and existing skills and the job market etc. within demarcated territory. 

Estimated City Competitiveness Index (CCI)

Source - SOSLC Project

Colombo is ranked as the first highest on the CCI following Kurunegala and Kandy as second and third respectively.

Estimated Gross domestic product per capita

Source - Central Bank Annual report 2017

This graph indicates the gradual rise in estimated per capita GDP in Colombo MC.

Urban Governance

Urban governance can be simplified as “how government (local, regional and national) and stakeholders decide on planning, financing and managing urban areas”. It involves a continuous process of negotiation and contestation over allocation of social and material resources and political power.

This section provide a snapshot of the emergent contours of urban governance in Sri Lanka, focusing on financial resilience, service provision and economic dynamism.

Information available here are collected and calculated considering secondary data sets, ground level surveys as well as stakeholder discussions. The city governance index has taken many a factor into consideration and provides a valuable way of assessing our cities and how they rank from a governance perspective.

City Governance Index

Source - SOSLC Project

Colombo MC has scored a high score of 76.76 for ‘Service Delivery Coverage’ and low score for ‘Financial Resilience (25.72). This analysis provides a proper picture on areas which the immediate attention is required.

Distribution of Local Authorities (by Province)

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

In Sri Lanka the LAs are divided into three types according to its population and size: Municipal Councils (MC, 23) which corresponds to the city, Urban Councils (UC, 41) which corresponds to the town, and Pradeshiya Sabha (PS, 271) which corresponds to the village. They are responsible for providing a variety of local public services including roads, sanitation, drains, waste collection, housing, libraries, public parks and recreational facilities. This chart shows the distribution of LAs by province in particular local authority belongs. Colombo is the main district which having the highest number of MC’s and UC’s (7 MC’s; 14 UC’s, 27 PS’s). [Colombo district - Colombo MC, Dehiwala-M. L. MC, Moratuwa MC, Sri Jayawar. Kotte MC, Kaduwela MC Kolonnawa UC, Seethawakapura UC, Maharagama UC, Kesbewa UC, Boralasgamuwa UC Gampaha District - Negambo MC, Gampaha MC, Ja-Ela UC, Katunayaka Seeduwa UC, Minuwangoda UC, Peliyagoda UC, Wattala Mabola UC Kaluthara District - Beruwala UC, Horana UC, Kalutara UC, Panadura UC]

Housing

An important function of Sri Lanka’s cities is to provide housing for the diversity of residents that support urban life. Sri Lankan early urban settlement legacy – histories, patterns, trends including land use and housing and the development challenges that come along with it have shaped the nature of our cities.

The share of housing as a proportion of built-up area across the different cities was considered, and numerous factors affect the figure. e.g. Anuradhapura, has restrictions on residential developments because of its cultural, historical and touristic importance, other MCs include significant social and economic land use, operating as a hub to surrounding suburbs and rural areas with large residential populations.

Housing policy challenges that are encountered by the city administrators relate to tenure systems, the supply of affordable, high quality housing, and difficulties accessing housing finance. 

Types of housing unit

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

The graph indicates the typology of housing in the Colombo MC Area. The majority of housing (around 79 per cent) comprises single story, two story houses and Flats.

Types of housing

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

The graph indicate that 93.2 per cent of the houses were permanent in 2012

Municipal Services

Municipal services is one of the key tasks an urban centre carries out fto ensure a functional living condition for its citizens.

The access to municipal services and the quality of their provision strongly influence the social, economic and environmental performance of a city as well as urban development.

Urban centres provide key services that underpin Sri Lanka’s socioeconomic development. Cities provide key government administration functions, such as vehicle registration services, access to social protection schemes, and a range of additional services (explored in detail in Chapter 9, urban governance in the SoSLC Report). Urban centres provide residents with health and education services: providing equitable access to quality healthcare and education. They also include services to facilitate social recreational activities and promote community cohesion, such as libraries, community centres and sports facilities. Ensuring quality services is a crucial component in securing an urban future for all Sri Lankans. 

Infrastructure

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

Colombo MC Area has extremely high coverage of electricity and water services with 96.5 per cent and 99.7 per cent having access to safe drinking water and electricity respectively.

Solid waste collection and disposal (Per day)

Source - JICA

98.3 per cent of the city is covered by garbage collection in Colombo MC Area.

Environment

A city needs to have an environment that is habitable and conducive with appropriate spaces for people who use the city, while also being resilient in the face of increasing climate risk.

Aspects such as a cities’ air and water quality, quality of the built environment as well as the aesthetic and historic aspects in the city are things we need to look at. However, in the light of increasing disaster risk, managing climate change impact in the light of current urbanisation patterns becomes a key concern, and thus land use planning in a city needs to take this into account.

SDG targets 11.4 (safeguarding cultural and natural heritage) and 11.5 (reducing impacts of disasters, especially floods), 11.6 (air quality and waste) and  11.7 (safe, open and green spaces for all groups) all emphasize that for a city to be sustainable, these aspects need to be considered.

Flood Data

Source - Disaster Management Center

The densely urbanized Colombo area is frequently get affected with minor and medium scale floods. According to data from the Disaster Management Center, Colombo City experienced minor flooding in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2017, with the most recent medium scale flooding being reported in 2016. The situation is similar when compared to the Colombo district. Preliminary data shows that the effects of floods reported in the Colombo district in 2014 and 2017 is higher than the municipal flood effects in MC area. One of the reasons for this may be the growing urban characteristics that extend beyond the municipal limits.

Monthly Average Rainfall and Temperature

Source - Department of Meteorology

Data is on Average rainfall and temperature in urban area. the graph further elaborate the patterns and correlation in between the values.

Climate risk exposure(1974-2017)

Source - Disaster Management Center

The graph shows that the Colombo area is affected from all the types of disasters including flood, landslides and cyclones.

Air pollution due to transport

Source - National Building Research Organisation

The data elaborates the level of pollutants in the air due to transportation in the city is very high and it exceed the recommend levels. Recommended sulfur dioxide (SO2 ) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2 ) levels are according to the WHO recommendations.

Thematic maps

 

 

1. Colombo Municipal area: 

Colombo Municipal Council covers an area of 4361 hectares. (Data Source _ Urban Development Authority)

 Download Map Here                             Download Data Layer Here

 

2. Map of Distribution of Grama Niladhari Divisions in Colombo Administrative Limits:
The ethnic / sex / age composition in the Colombo Municipal Council area, detailed for each of its 54 Grama Niladhari Divisions. (Data Source _ Department of Census and Statistics)

Download Map Here                              Download Data Layer Here

 

 

3. Forecasted sea level rise and impacts on land use in Colombo City for next 100 years: 

Colombo city is situated in the coastal region, and very vulnerable to sea levels rise caused by climate change. The data presented here are based on forecasts by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The impact area is specified separately with its land use. (Data Source _ IPCC & SoSLC Project)

 Download Map Here                             Download Data Layer Here        

 

 

4. Map of Colombo City's pipe borne water lines:

Data from Water Supply and Drainage Board. This map includes the pipe borne water distribution lines and pipe diameter, including the year the pipelines were installed. (Data Source _ Water Supply and Drainage Board)

Download Map Here                              Download Data Layer Here        

 

5. Map of Sewerage Network and Pumping Stations:                       

This section contains information on the distribution of sewerage pipelines, pumping stations and sea outfalls. Source of information: Colombo Municipal Council.  Note: There is a slight shift in the layers due to the angle difference in the data source. Needs to be viewed keeping this in mind. (Data Source _ Colombo Municipal Council)

Download Map Here                              Download Data Layer Here        

 

 

6. Map of Bus routes and their starting - ending points in Colombo City:

It contains accurate information about the bus routes, bus route numbers and starting and end points. This set of information was created under the SoSLC project, using data from the routemaster.lk web page. (Data Source _ SoSLC Project)

Download Map Here                              Download Data Layer Here    

    

 7. Railway Network with Railway Stations: 

The railway system which starts from Colombo Fort and extends to the three areas - Main line, Kelani Valley and Coastal line. (Data Source: SoSLC Project)

 Download Map Here                             Download Data Layer Here          

 

The above data layers and prepared maps can be downloaded at once using the link option below. (Download HD Map & Download Spatial Layers)

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Legends

 

Proper management of land, a scarce resource, can bring about many benefits. This is of great importance especially in urban areas.

 

It is timely to figure out how land is allocated and being used for what purpose in our cities today. In order to create well planned cities with a futuristic vision, having a better understanding of current land use is imperative.

 

Land use maps are categorized into 36 sub-categories under two types – built-up and non built-up. The extent of land in each of these sub categories are indicated below.

 

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The Colombo Municipal Council covers an area of ​​4361.6 hectares and sits within the administrative boundaries of the Colombo and Thimbirigasyaya District Secretariat Divisions. There are 55 Grama Niladhari Divisions within that limits. (For detailed information, please refer to the thematic maps section under the City Information page)

 

The Colombo Municipal area, known as the commercial capital city of Sri Lanka, has a high built-up land area (4044.5 hectares) and it covers 92% of the total land area. Non built-up land is very limited (317 ha) which is just 8%.

 

 

The built-up land has been categorized under six main categories as residential, commercial, institutional, industrial, transport, public space, cultural and under construction. Non built-up land has been divided into six sub-categories as agriculture, water, forest, wetlands, coastal areas and barren lands. The built-up land is again divided into 30 subsections. (More information on the respective land use is listed below with charts and land area)
 

For commercial, industrial and institutional purposes, 316.6 hectares, 292.2 hectares and 217.3 hectares of land are occupied (7.2%, 6.7% and 5% of the total land area respectively)

 

For public spaces - 267.3 hectares (6.12% of the total land area) for transport 910.3 hectares (20% of the total land area)

Built-Up
SOSLC project
Total
Built-Up
4044.53 (ha)
  • High Rise
    • 135.01
    Low Rise
    • 1162.56
    Slum
    • 220.19
    Shanty
    • 45.28
  • Retail
    • 255.84
    Office
    • 29.07
    Mixed Retail-Residential
    • 12.37
    Banks
    • 49.30
  • Education
    • University 15.68
    • Other higher edu. 42.51
    • School 106.08
    Health
    • Hospital 50.60
    • Dispensary 2.55
    Government
    • 195.37
  • Factory
    • 280.31
    Landfill
    • 11.99
  • Bus Terminus
    • 11.49
    Rail Terminus
    • 62.98
    Port
    • 296.19
    Parking
    • 32.49
    Roads
    • 507.16
  • Park/Square
    • 67.78
    Playground
    • 172.94
    Cemetery
    • 26.56
  • Religious
    • Temple/Shrine 54.14
    • Church 39.13
    • Mosque 6.65
    Archeologic
    • 5.95
    • 146.36
Non-Built-Up
SOSLC project
Total
Non-Built-Up
317.05 (ha)
    • 0.15
    • 151.27
    • 2.20
    • 27.12
    • 13.83
    • 122.48

 

Studies on how the built-up landscape has changed in the urban environment over the past few decades have the potential to draw significant conclusions about current development trends and to predict future development orientations.

 

This urban sprawl study is a based on the analysis of satellite imagery from the relevant years. This gives the viewer a general idea of how urban sprawl has occurred over this period.

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Urban Expansion of Colombo City (Changed from 1995 - 2017)

 

Colombo has become one of the most urbanized city from last few decades. These maps have attempted to give a clear idea of how the urban expansion took place.

 

To identify the evolution of the construction sector that has taken place within the city limits over the years, the buildings are classified as high dense and low dense areas.

 

Satellite imagery was used for this purpose and detailed information on the steps taken during the mapping process can be found on the download section of this website. (Report of the Status of Sri Lankan cites 2017 - Section of the Annex and special section of the Database Training Manual)

 

Data are presented in four categories namely highly urban, semi urban, non-built-up and water, within the boundaries of the city limits of Colombo Municipality and beyond in the years 1995, 2001, 2012 and 2017. Further information is shown using charts and graphs below, including the number of square kilometres in the area.

 

Within the municipal limits, highly urbanized area has gradually grown from 77% in 1995, 80% in 2001, 85% in 2017 and 90% by 2017.

 

Simultaneously, it can be concluded that the semi-urban boundary has gradually declined from 11.6% in 1995 to 9% in 2001 to 6.2% in 2012 and to 4.2% by 2017.

Urban expansion statistics
SOSLC project
Colombo Municipal Council ( km 2 )
Overall Growth rate 1995 - 2017 6.16%
Urban change 1995 - 2017 68.75
TOTAL AOI 929.93
    • 1995
      • Total Municipality 77.84
      • Urban 60.48
      • Semi-Urban 9.03
      • Non-Built 6.17
      • Water 2.16
    • 2001
      • Total Municipality 77.84
      • Urban 62.38
      • Semi-Urban 7
      • Non-Built 6.3
      • Water 2.16
    • 2012
      • Total Municipality 81.23
      • Urban 69.17
      • Semi-Urban 5.01
      • Non-Built 4.89
      • Water 2.16
    • 2017
      • Total Municipality 81.23
      • Urban 73.82
      • Semi-Urban 3.4
      • Non-Built 1.85
      • Water 2.16
    • 1995
      • Total Fringe 852.1
      • Urban 61.63
      • Semi-Urban 269.92
      • Non-Built 148.75
      • Water 371.8
    • 2001
      • Total Fringe 852.09
      • Urban 98.44
      • Semi-Urban 253.92
      • Non-Built 197.93
      • Water 301.8
    • 2012
      • Total Fringe 848.71
      • Urban 219.91
      • Semi-Urban 205.29
      • Non-Built 121.71
      • Water 301.8
    • 2017
      • Total Fringe 848.7
      • Urban 381.34
      • Semi-Urban 161.61
      • Non-Built 3.95
      • Water 301.8