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1355.18 ha
20.96 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.



Gender distribution by age

Language competency

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

One distinctive feature of Sri Lankan culture is the way in which ethnicity, language and religious affiliation correlate with one another, each being key determinants of an individual’s identity. Alongside the two largest ethnic groups – Sinhalese (74.9%) and Tamil (15.4%) – the third largest ethnic group is Sri Lankan Moors (9.2%). The remaining 0.5% of Sri Lanka’s population is comprised of Burghers (mixed European descent), Parsis (immigrants from west India) and Veddas (who are identified as the indigenous inhabitants of the land). The Tamils separate further into two groups, Sri Lankan Tamils and Indian Tamils. There are three official languages of Sri Lanka: Sinhala, Tamil and English. This is evident throughout the country, with most signs written in all three languages. The Sinhalese - Buddhist majority mostly speak Sinhala, while Tamil is spoken widely by Sri Lankan Moors / Muslims and ethnic Tamils / Hindus. English was introduced as a result of the British colonial rule and has become the language used in government administration and commercial activities. Data showing the multinational language skills of ethnic group in 2012 in the Nuwara-Eliya Urban Council.

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. The number of Male-headed households is higher than the number of Female-headed households in the municipal limit. There are 173,296 Women Headed Families living in the Province.

Downlord data here

Gender Distribution

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

According to the Census 2012, female population is higher than male population in the country. Out of the total population, 48.4 percent are males and 51.6 percent are females. Out of the total population within the Nuwara Eliya Urban Council limits, 49 percent are male and 51 percent are female.


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 need for reliable, timely and meaningful gender statistics has gained high priority as the focus on Women’s contribution in development activities has heightened globally and nationally with the recognition of Women’s productive role in society. In order to meet the growing demand for gender dis-aggregated statistics, the Department of Census and Statistics has been making a concerted effort to cater to the requirement of various data users by bringing together statistics and indicators to portray the situation of women relative to Men in major economic and social spheres. This Graph shows the category of education attainment by gender in Nuwara Eliya MC according to 2012 census.


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. 

Annual Revenue and Expenditure of Local Authority

Source - Nuwaraeliya Municipal Council

The data elaborates the annual revenue and expenditure of the Nuwaraeliya Municipal Council in 2020.

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. 

Water Consumers

Source - Annuval Budget

water consumers

Solid Waste Generation and Collection

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

Generally MC’s waste collection plan is carried out in two shifts (daytime/nighttime). During peak season however, an additional collection shift is arranged to handle the surplus. Uncollected waste is mostly self-managed (home composting, burning, and self dumping) by the residents. Nuwara Eliya MC has implemented several initiatives like public awareness programs on waste management and distribution of composting barrels among residents to minimize waste generation. As a result, the daily collection is maintained as ~21 tons / day and 90 % of people segregate their waste. Waste is collected separately as degradable and non degradable. About 76% of the waste (16T/day) collected is biodegradable whereas 24% (5T/day) is non biodegradable. Biodegradable waste is dumped into the landfill and nonbiodegradable recycle materials such as glass, paper (approx 4T) are sold to the private buyers. There is a recycle center for polythene, plastic and PET-bottles at the landfill site which was commenced in July, 2017. Residual waste which is non biodegrabale and non recyclable are disposed at the landfill.


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.

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 Nuwaraeliya 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

Thematic maps


Nuwara Eliya Municipal Council  area: 

Nuwara Eliya MC covers an area of 1355.18 hectares. (Data Source _ Survey Department)

Download Map Here                     Download Data Layer Here 


Distribution of Grama Niladhari Divisions in Nuwara Eliya MC:

Includes detailed information related to its 14 Grama Niladhari Divisions. (Data Source: Survey Department)

Download Map Here                     Download Data Layer Here


Road Map of Nuwara Eliya Municipal Council:

The road map for Nuwara Eliya Municipal Council has more information with road names. This information has been updated in 2020.(Data Source _ Openstreetmap)

Download Map Here                      Download 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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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 statistics
Nuwara Eliya Municipal Council ( km 2 )
Overall Growth rate 1995 - 2017 %
Urban change 1995 - 2017