1,732.1 ha
71 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 - Department of Census and Statistics/SoSLC

The data is considering population estimations of SoSLC for year 2017

Gender distribution by age

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

Out of the total population within the Galle Municipal Council limits, 47.98% are male and 52.02% are female. The proportion of the total population divided by age is 25.58% for children under 15, 23.16%, for those aged 15 - 29, 37.94% for those aged 30-59 and 13.31% for the elderly population over 60 year.

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Language competency

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

This indicates that categories of ethnic groups and their languages abilities.

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

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

Galle’s ethnic city makeup comprises a majority of 70.5 per cent Sinhalese, followed by 28.2 percent Sri Lanka Moor, 1.3 per cent Tamil and Other groups.

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 all age group except less than 15.

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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.

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Migrant population in city limits by years of residence

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

The total male resident population in the Galle Municipal Council area is 41,424, the total female resident population is 44,909 out of which the total male migrant population is 5,941 and the total female migrant population is 7,152 . According to that the amount of female inmigrants are comparatively higher than the male inmigrants.

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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.

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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

This graph provides the details of educational attainments of aged groups 3 to 24 in 2012.

Highest Level of Education achieved by Gender

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

This graph shows that there is a higher proportion of females participating schools and respect to that achieve a higher degree and above.

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 55% of men and 34% of women in the Galle Municipal Council are computer literate.

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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 9 am is the busiest traffic period in the Galle 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 Galle 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 4 per cent modal share of vehicles.

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

Source - SOSLC Project

This highest percentage of vehicles entering into the Galle 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 4 per cent modal share of vehicles.

Accident statistics in Police Divisions (Number of fatal casualties)

Source - Sri Lanka Police Department

Accident is an undesired or unintended happening. Inevitable accident falls within the concept of fatal or an unfortunate harmful event, event without apparent cause unexpected occurring. A Motor Traffic Accident occurs on highway collision with vehicles, persons or with property. An Accidents may occur, between a vehicle and other vehicle, vehicle colliding with a person, vehicle colliding with movable or unmovable property, when a vehicle goes off the road, A person being knocked down with another person or due to natural or man made disaster. Here are the details of the fatal road accidents that have taken place within the Galle Police Division within the last few years. In addition, the following data file contains further details covering the entire country with an accident classification in varios sub sections.

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Number of railway passengers annually

Source - Sri Lanka Railways

annual railway passengers are decreased to a certain amount from 2014 to 2016

Railway passengers coming into/from city center

Source - Sri Lanka Railways

The data elaborate the passengers coming in and going out of the city by train.

Pedestrian’s movement

Source - SOSLC Project

The data is elaborating the pedestrian movements in the city.


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

Galle is ranked as the 4th highest on the CCI following Colombo, Kurunegala and Kandy as first, second and third respectively.

Estimated Gross domestic product per capita

Source - Central Bank Annual report 2017

This graph indicates the gradual rise in per capita GDP in Galle 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

Galle is ranked as the 4th highest on the CCI following Colombo, Kurunegala and Kandy as first, second and third respectively.

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 pie chart shows the distribution of LAs by province in particular local authority belongs. Southern province include 3 MC’s , 4 UC and 42 PS’s. Galle is the provincial capital city of Southern province.


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 Galle MC Area. The majority of housing (around 93.5 per cent) comprises single story, two story houses.

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Types of housing

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

The graph indicate that in Galle municipal council almost 93.2 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. 

Solid Waste Generation and Collection

Source - IWMI Publication - Solid and Liquid Waste Management and Resource Recovery in Sri Lanka: A 20 city analysis

Solid Waste Management in Galle is handled by the Galle Municipal council. Municipality practices source segregation, hence biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste is collected separately. Collection is more frequent in commercial and densely populated areas, with daily collection on main roads and twice a week on other roads. During the months of December, January and February, waste generation rises with the increasing migrating tourist to the Galle Fort area and the authorities arrange additional collection turns around Fort area during tourist season to overcome this situation. MC collects only non-surgical waste from Karapitiya teaching hospital, Mahamodara Hospital and two private hospitals; Hemas hospital and Co-operative hospital.


Source - Department of Census and Statistics

Galle MC Area has extremely high coverage of electricity and water services with 98.2 per cent and 99.3 per cent having access to safe drinking water and electricity respectively.

Solid waste collection and disposal (Per day)

Source - JICA

Almost 24.8 per cent households were not covered for garbage collection, consequences of this households burning, burying or open dumping their garbage.


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

Considering the district level, records on flood is available for every year from 2012 to 2017. In the city limits, the flood situations are available for 2014,2015,2016 and 2017. As a coastal city and located close to the Gin Ganga flood plain, the area is frequently go under flood situations.

Annual average air temperature at observation stations

Source - Department of Meteorology

Here is the change in the annual values of air temprature from 2006 to 2013. According to the Galle Observatory station, air temprature in the area is calculated separately for each month and more information can be downloaded from the following detailed statistics.

Download data file here

Climate risk exposure (1974-2017)

Source - Disaster Management Center

This graph shows that climate exposure of Galle Area from 1974 to 2017 due to floods people were mostly affected.

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. Recommended sulfur dioxide (SO2 ) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2 ) levels are according to the WHO recommendations.

Thematic maps


Galle Municipal area: 

Galle Municipal Council covers an area of 1732 hectares. (Data Source _ Survey Department) 

Download Map Here                       Download Data Layer Here   


Road Network within Galle Municipal Council:

Roads are classified by materials (carpet, concrete, cement, gravel). (Data source: Galle Municipal Council)

Download Map Here                       Download Data Layer Here  


Classification of buildings within Galle Municipal Council: 

Buildings are classified according to their use: Residential, Commercial, Industrial, State and Semi-Governmental, Sports and Recreation, Parks, Travel, Transport and logistics, Urban Vacant Buildings. Furthermore the nature of the building is classified by legal ownership. (Data source: Galle Municipal Council)

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Tsunami Affected Areas in Galle MC:

(Data Source: Risk info)

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SoSLC project, GMC
SoSLC project, GMC
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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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SoSLC project
SoSLC project
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The Galle Municipal Council covers an area of ​​1732 hectares and xx Grama Niladhari Divisions within that limits. (For detailed information, please refer to the thematic maps section under the City Information page)


The Galle Municipal area, known as the capital city of southern Province, has built-up land area (1399 hectares) and it covers xx% of the total land area. Non built-up land is (332 ha) which is just xx%.


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, conservations 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, xx hectares, xx hectares and xx hectares of land are occupied (xx%, xx% and xx% of the total land area respectively)


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SoSLC project
1399.82 (ha)
  • High Rise
    • 2.71
    Low Rise
    • 972.38
    • 0.23
  • Retail
    • 96.16
    Mixed Retail-Residential
    • 0.41
    • 0.41
  • Education
    • Other higher edu. 17.42
    • School 35.01
    • Hospital 3.03
    • Dispensary 5.68
    • 70.78
  • Factory
    • 17.6
    • 2.37
  • Bus Terminus
    • 1.19
    Rail Terminus
    • 6.6
    • 1.05
    • 26.39
    Rail Road
    • 57.48
  • Park/Square
    • 13.40
    • 12.75
    • 4.82
  • Religious
    • Temple/Shrine 34.45
    • Church 1.56
    • Mosque 5.97
    • 4.48
    • 5.49
SoSLC project
332.28 (ha)
    • 42.90
    • 36.56
    • 20.36
    • 1.38
    • 27.76
    • 33.12
    • 19.79
    • 150.41


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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Download data layer here

Urban expansion statistics
Galle Municipal Council ( km 2 )
Overall Growth rate 1995 - 2017 6.79%
Urban change 1995 - 2017 13.37
    • 1995
      • Total Municipality 17.33
      • Urban 2.7
      • Semi-Urban 4.83
      • Non-Built 9.13
      • Water 0.67
    • 2001
      • Total Municipality 17.33
      • Urban 3.43
      • Semi-Urban 5.63
      • Non-Built 7.6
      • Water 0.67
    • 2012
      • Total Municipality 17.33
      • Urban 5.61
      • Semi-Urban 6.6
      • Non-Built 4.45
      • Water 0.67
    • 2017
      • Total Municipality 17.33
      • Urban 7.59
      • Semi-Urban 7.05
      • Non-Built 2.02
      • Water 0.67
    • 1995
      • Total Fringe 202.01
      • Urban 4.12
      • Semi-Urban 19.75
      • Non-Built 119.93
      • Water 58.21
    • 2001
      • Total Fringe 183.17
      • Urban 5.86
      • Semi-Urban 29.97
      • Non-Built 89.22
      • Water 58.12
    • 2012
      • Total Fringe 183.18
      • Urban 12.62
      • Semi-Urban 47.89
      • Non-Built 64.53
      • Water 58.14
    • 2017
      • Total Fringe 183.17
      • Urban 21.32
      • Semi-Urban 59.07
      • Non-Built 44.8
      • Water 57.98