2,127 ha
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.

This section provides a description of the demographic status and trends in the city, primarily based on 2012 census data, presenting an overall view of the population. Trends and patterns of urban population are discussed including  aspects of demography such as age, sex, ethnicity, education levels; and overall observations with regard to migration patterns, suburban population and gender.

Understanding the demographic and composition patterns of the population within the existing physical boundary will help in planning a livable  city.



Population Growth rate

Source - JICA

The graph elaborates the population growth in the area

Gender distribution by age

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

Out of the total population within the Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia Municipal Council limits, 48.78% are male and 51.22% are female. The proportion of the total population divided by age is 19.87% for children under 15, 24.71%, for those aged 15 - 29, 39.67% for those aged 30-59 and 15.74% for the elderly population over 60 year.

Download data file here

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

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

Dehiwela’s ethnic city makeup comprises a majority of 70 per cent Sinhalese, followed by 15.1 per cent Sri Lanka Moor, 11.3 per cent Tamil, and 3.7 per cent Other groups.

Migrant population in city limits by years of residence

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

The total male resident population in the Dehiwala Mount Lavinia Municipal Council area is 89987, the total female resident population is 94481 out of which the total male migrant population is 31822 and the total female migrant population is 34093. According to that the amount of female inmigrants are comparatively higher than the male inmigrants..

Download data file here

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 30.

Download data file here

Female-Headed households and Male-Headed Households with National Average

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

This describes how domestic leadership is divided into genders. Number of Male headed households are higher than the number of Female headed households in the municipal limit.

Download data file here

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.

Download data file here

Language competency

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

Data showing the multinational language skills of ethnic group in 2012 in the Dehiwela-Mount Lavinia Municipal Council.

Download data file here


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

More people seen in the school education attainment while around 30 per cent of age group seen in not studying 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

It shows the computer literacy of persons between the ages of 10 and 40 in terms of gender and it explains that 51% of men and 42% of women in the Dehiwela-Mount Lavinia Municipal Council are computer literate.further to that it shows that 15-19 age group is holding the highest level in computer literacy in Dehiwela-Mount Lavinia MC in 2012.

Download data file here


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.

Hourly traffic flow (in the day time)

Source - SOSLC Project

Between 7 am to 8 am is the busiest traffic period in the Dehiwela-Mount Lavinia MC area with peak reached at 8am due to school and work commuting traffic.

The 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 Dehiwela-Mount Lavinia MC area between 6 am to 6pm were private vehicles such as motorcycles and car/van/jeeps totaling around 89 per cent of the modal share. Route bus only has an 6 per cent modal share of vehicles.

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.

Accident statistics in Police Divisions (Number of fatal casualties)

Source - Sri Lanka Police Department

The graph shows the fatal road accidents in the area over the past three years. From 2015 to 2016, the number of fatal accidents has increased.

Download data file here

Number of railway passengers annually

Source - Sri Lanka Railways

The graph shows that annual railway passengers from 2012 to 2016 in Dehiwela-Mount Lavinia municipal council

Pedestrian’s movement

Source - SOSLC Project

Pedestrian counting survey was done considering few pedestrian crossings in the city. Relation ship in between the school times, office hours and pedestrian movements is well elaborated in the graph.


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

The data is common to the Colombo urban area which includes Dehiwala MC and Kotte MC. According to the data, the city is ranked as the first highest on the CCI following Kurunegala and Kandy as second and third respectively.

Annual Revenue and Expenditure of Local Authority

Source - Dehiwala Municipal Council

According to the annual averages, the total of own-source revenues accounts for 60% in the total municipal revenues and the grants from the central government and the provincial council occupy 40%. The own-source revenues are categorized into (1) Rates/Taxes constituted mainly by the property taxes, (2) Rents of facilities and other municipal properties, (3) License fees, (4) Fees for municipal services, (5) Warrant costs and fines, (6) Other revenues. Among the own-source revenues, the property taxes (Rates/Taxes) and other revenues are the major types since the share of these revenues accounts for 25% and 24% in the total municipal revenues respectively. Although the grants occupies 40% in the total municipal revenues, the most of the amount is the block grant (36% in the total municipal revenues) released by the central government as salary and allowances for the municipal staff. The share of the capital grant is small accounting for 3.6% in the total revenues.

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

This data is common to Colombo, Dehiwala and Kotte MC areas, which covers the urban area of the capital city of Sri Lanka. the service delivery coverage and the service delivery financing is in a high level in this cities according to the data available.

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]


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 Dehiwela-Mount Lavinia MC Area. The majority of housing (around 85 per cent) comprises single story and two story houses.

Download data file here

Types of housing

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

The graph indicate that in Dehiwela-Mount Lavinia municipal council almost 95.4 per cent of the houses were permanent in 2012.

Download data file here

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. 


Source - Department of Census and Statistics

Dehiwela-Mount Lavinia MC Area has extremely high coverage of electricity and water services with 98.8 per cent and 99.7 per cent having access to safe drinking water and electricity respectively.

Solid waste composition

Source - JICA

The results of the locally outsourced survey on waste composition conducted from 15 to 21 October 2012 in Karadiyana Disposal Site is shown in this graph. The level of waste management of Dehiwala Mt. Lavinia MC is considered high compared to the other municipalities. To establish the current management system, MC has made various improvements based on the plan 10 years ago. However, there is no future plans. There is a need for the development of solid waste management master plan, since it is essential to formulate waste policy for the future.

Waste Generation Amount

Source - JICA

Waste generation amount was calculated based on the waste generation rate obtained by SATREPS in November 2012 and waste generation units obtained by locally outsourced survey. As a result, municipal waste generation amount is 175.2 ton/day and waste generation rate is 933g/person/day.

Solid waste collection and disposal (Per day)

Source - JICA

Almost 97 per cent households were covered for garbage collection.

Thematic maps


Dehiwala Mount Lavenia Municipal area: 

Dehiwala Mount Lavenia Municipal Council covers an area of 2,127 hectares. (Data Source _ Urban Development Authority)

Download Data Layer Here


Spatial data for Bellanwila Attidiya Wetland:

Boundary Demarcation (Bellanwila Attidiya Wetland)

As background used very high-resolution satellite images (Pléiadas) with a spatial resolution of 50 cm. covering Attidiya area dated on 27th November 2017.

According to the historical data on wetland conservation project by CEA a leaflet on 1993 pointed out main location points. Then getting support of google maps find real locations on satellite image. (Data Source: SOSLC Project)

Download Map Here        Downoad Data Layer Here


Building Layer 2017 (Bellanwila Attidiya Wetland):

Digitized building footprints of 2017 using very high-resolution satellite images (Pléiadas)(Data Source: SOSLC Project)


Download Map Here            Downoad Data Layer Here


Building layer 2004(Bellanwila Attidiya Wetland):

Using Google maps historical satellite image from 2004 create another building layer by removing and adjusting extensions to the new buildings constructed after 2004.(Data Source: SOSLC Project)

Download Map Here              Downoad Data Layer Here


Land use Layer of Bellanwila Attidiya Wetland Boundary:

As background used very high-resolution satellite images (Pléiadas) with a spatial resolution of 50 cm. covering Attidiya area dated on 27th November 2017.

It is timely and valuable task to done a in detailed land use mapping for attidiya marsh boundary.(Data Source: SOSLC Project)

Download Map Here             Downoad Data Layer Here




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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 Dehiwala Mount Lavinia Municipal Council covers an area of ​​2,127 hectares.There are 28 Grama Niladhari Divisions within that limits.


The Dehiwala Mount Lavinia Municipal area, known as the main starlight city of Colombo, has a high built-up land area (1975 hectares) and it covers 93% of the total land area. Non built-up land is very limited (154 ha) which is just 7%.


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, 159 hectares, 118 hectares and 152 hectares of land are occupied (7.5%, 5.5% and 7.15% of the total land area respectively)


For public spaces - 44.6 hectares (2.1% of the total land area) for transport 275.7 hectares (13% of the total land area)


Download data layer here

1973.26 (ha)
  • High Rise
    • 13.09
    Low Rise
    • 1120.93
    • 39.14
    • 0.02
  • Retail
    • 149.36
    • 4.57
    Mixed Retail-Residential
    • 4.48
    • 2.08
  • Education
    • University 16.67
    • Other higher edu. 10.40
    • School 33.83
    • Hospital 5.98
    • Dispensary 0.75
    • 84.66
  • Factory
    • 118.05
  • Bus Terminus
    • 2.69
    Rail Terminus
    • 1.66
    • 91.03
    • 5.51
    • 174.90
  • Park/Square
    • 11.50
    • 29.94
    • 3.24
  • Religious
    • Temple/Shrine 28.08
    • Church 6.95
    • Mosque 2.07
    • 0.69
    • 10.99
154.23 (ha)
    • 9.90
    • 43.73
    • 0.90
    • 44.20
    • 19.75
    • 35.75


In all of the cities it can be identified that the higher densities are concentrated in the city centres and the expansion is taken place along the roads. The expansion pattern is shaped by the geography of the surrounding area.


The selection of the area for the urban expansion analysis was followed by several preliminary studies. Initially, the urban index values which was identified using the remote sensing information were studied in the respective municipal areas including a fringe area.
Before selecting interested area for the expansion analysis it should consider following facts
- Municipal boundary
- At least 2-3 km buffer around Municipal boundary
- Rough boundary where the physical urban character disappearing


In the remote sensing discipline, the values higher than 0 represent the built-up areas.The boundary for the fringe area was identified by getting the extent of urban expansion as well as a fine boundary where the high-density expansion become insignificant. The identified boundaries were projected on to the latest satellite images to assure the identified urban index values are in line with the existing building densities.



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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.


Download statistical data layer here

Urban expansion statistics
Dehiwela-Mount Lavinia Municipal Council ( km 2 )
Overall Growth rate 1995 - 2017 %
Urban change 1995 - 2017
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