1,379 ha
59 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 - Data Collection Survey on Solid Waste Management by JICA 2016

Here the population of Sri Lanka was projected for the year 2015 by each District based on the census data of 2012 and the population data up to 2014 that were obtained from the Department of Statistics. Also, the total population was estimated based on the population growth rate from 2015 to 2024 projected by the United Nations Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Accordingly, the growth rate of the total population up to 2024 was applied to the growth rate of each District from 2012 to 2015 to figure out the future population of the target local authorities. The Trincomalee Urban Council is one such local authority selected. A separate population growth rate was generated from those data. Download the JICA data file and the population growth data generated based on it using the below link for more information.

Download JICA survey population data here


Download population growth rate calculations based on previous data here


Population Trend

Source - Trincomalee district secretariat

Trincomalee Urban Council area consists of 17 Grama Niladhari Divisions. Trincomalee, an eastern coastal city in Sri Lanka, has been severely affected by the conflict in Sri Lanka for more than 30 decades, and its inhabitants have been severely affected. Considering this, it can be seen that there are gaps and variations in the existing population data. The graph shows the population of Trincomalee between 2010 and 2015. The population of Sri Lanka has been declining from 2010 to 2011 due to the return of internally displaced persons from Trincomalee to their hometowns.

Download data file here

Language competency

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

One distinctive feature of Sri Lankan culture is how 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 in 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. This graph indicates the categories of ethnic groups and their language abilities.

Download data file here

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

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

The sex ratio is calculated using the percentage or proportion of males relative to females in a population. In 2020, male to female ratio for Sri Lanka was 92.12 males per 100 females. Male to female ratio of Sri Lanka fell gradually from 119.5 males per 100 females in 1950 to 92.12 males per 100 females in 2020. The above chart is based on the last census data in 2012. For Trincomalee UC area, there are more females than males in all age groups except less than 15.

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

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

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

Trincomalee’s ethnic city makeup comprises a majority of 69.1 per cent Tamil, followed by 17.6 per cent Sinhalese, 12.4 per cent Sri Lanka Moor, and 0.9 per cent Other groups.

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

Gender distribution by age

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

Out of the total population within the Trincomalee Municipal Council limits, 47.96% are male and 52.04% are female. The proportion of the total population divided by age is 24.56% for children under 15, 26.24%, for those aged 15 - 29, 38.05% for those aged 30-59 and 11.13% for the elderly population over 60 year.

Download data file here

Migrant population in city limits by years of residence

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

The total male resident population in the Trincomalee Municipal Council area is 23188, the total female resident population is 25163 out of which the total male migrant population is 5475 and the total female migrant population is 5834. According to that the amount of female immigrants are comparatively higher than the male immigrants according to the data.

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.

School Classification

Source - Divisional Education Office , Trincomalee

The significant factor about the is the Trincomalee Town and Gravets Divisional Secretariat has the second largest number of National schools in a city Divisional Secretariat other than Colombo when considering the National School. Thimbirigasyaya DS got the highest number 17 thereafter Galle City DS got 9.

Download data file here

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

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

This graph provides the details of educational categories by gender 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 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 43% of men and 35% of women in the Trincomalee Urban Council are computer literate.

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.

Accident statistics in Police Divisions (Number of fatal casualties)

Source - Sri Lanka Police Department

Road traffic accidents are the second leading cause of death in Sri Lanka, according to the World Health organization (WHO). Rapid growth in vehicle ownership, diversity of motorized and non- motorized traffic of varying sizes and speeds without protection for the vulnerable have been identified as causal factors for recording the highest per capita road fatality rates in South Asia. Figures for the Trincomalee police division area are high, but city comparison figures show that the figures for other cities tend to be higher. It must be understood that the figures for urbanised areas will be higher than the rest of the district/province. This though is not a reason for complacency as national figures of road fatalities per 100,000 people was 17.4 in 2018 (WBG, 2020). With over half of the road fatalities identified as drivers and passengers of motorized two and three wheeled vehicles and close to a third (29%) as pedestrians (WHO, 2018). The aim of monitoring road accidents is to aim for a downward trend in accidents over the years.

Download data file here

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

Source - SOSLC Project

This graph shows that modal share vehicles and along with passengers entering into the city in 2012

Number of railway passengers annually

Source - Sri Lanka Railways

Number of railway passengers are decreasing from 2014 to 2016 according to the data.

Hourly traffic flow (in the day time)

Source - SOSLC Project

Between 7 am to 9 am is the busiest traffic period in the Trincomalee UC area with peak reached at 5 p.m due to returning home of 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 Trincomalee UC area between 6 am to 6 pm were private vehicles such as motorcycles/car/van/jeeps totaling around 87 per cent of the modal share but Route bus only has 1 per cent share of vehicles and 6 per cent of bicycles entering into the city.

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)

Pedestrian’s movement

Source - SOSLC Project

Behaviors of the Pedestrians in the city is explained in the data.


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

Trincomalee is ranked as the least on the CCI.

Estimated Gross domestic product per capita

Source - Central Bank Annual report 2017

This graph indicates the gradual rise in per capita GDP in Trincomalee UC.

Annual Revenue and Expenditure of Local Authority

Source - Trincomalee Urban Council

The data elaborates the annual revenue and expenditure of the city

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.

Workers related to road sector

Source - Trincomalee Urban Council

There are permanent and casual workers in the road sector. in year 2018, the majority of them are permanent workers.

Workers related to Sanitation sector

Source - Trincomalee Urban Council

The majority of the available sanitation-related workers are permanent in the year 2018. The workers are responsible for all the cleaning and maintaining sanitation-related services. The permanent as well as casual workers are supporting the services to be maintained at an efficient level.

City Governance Index

Source - SOSLC Project

This data is visualizing the city competitiveness of the Trincomalee UC. It is noted that most of all the areas in the economy of the city needs proper management in order to achieve development and sustainability.

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. Eastern Province include 3 MC’s, 5 UC and 37 PS’s. Trincomalee is the provincial capital city of Eastern 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 in each city Total

Types of housing unit

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

The graph indicates the typology of housing in the Trincomalee UC area. The majority of housing (around 94 per cent) comprises single story and two story houses.

Types of housing

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

Number of permanent houses in the are is high. There are few houses in the status of improvised.

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. 

Availability of Services
Availability of Road Inventory
Availability of Asset register
An online system is available for citizen to request services
A "reference no" is issued to the citizen requesting services
A "Front Office" is available
All the services can be accessed at a single location (Front Office) by a visiting citizen
Separate Male/Female toilets are available for the visiting citizen

Source - Trincomalee Urban Council

This data represent the 2018 records. Services delivered to the citizens by the local authority is very important to measure the functionalities and capacities of the local authority.

Number of training for Capacity Development

Source - Trincomalee Urban Council

Providing trainings to the staff will increase the capacities of the officers in managing and decision making. This data explained on provided trainings and the number of officers trained.

Heavy vehicles and equipment owned by local authority

Source - Trincomalee Urban Council

Uplifting the people’s living standards is a prominent task as well as a requirement of any country. Sri Lanka also attempts to acquire a higher level of living standard of people in the field of economic, social, and cultural development. In the process, it is a preeminent contribution in minimizing regional disparities, contributing to national economic development, and strengthening the democratic process that has been shown by the Provincial Councils and the Local Government system in the country. Local Government ministry has provided allocation for the strengthening of low-income generated Local Authorities to improve infrastructure facilities and furnish essential machines and equipment. Especially, more allocations have been provided for selected local authorities, which are facing many difficulties in carrying out day-to-day maintenances due to insufficient income levels.

Regulatory Services (Applications average per month)

Source - Trincomalee Urban Council Forms Manage

The Urban council receive different types of applications. Considering the monthly average of the received applications, the highest amount of applications are received to obtain non vesting certificate. minimum number of applications are received forownership certificate.

Solid Waste Generation and Collection

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

Waste collection schedule in the UC is practiced in such a way that mixed waste from residents, which is stored in the waste collection bins, is discharged on the curb and collected by collection vehicles on weekly basis. Large amounts of waste generated by hotels and hospitals, etc., are stored in 100 L or 200 L barrels and are collected daily through door to door collection vehicle(s). Some large hotels discharged five barrels (Total 500-700 L) and are charged 4,000LKR per month (JICA, 2016). However, due to lack of resources and malfunction of vehicles, the collection system sometimes does not function well in the city. Municipal waste collected by Trincomalee UC is disposed at Kanniya in a hilly forest area. The Kanniya disposal site has been in operation since 2005 and is shared by the Trincomalee UC and Trincomalee Town & Gravets PS as a regional disposal site (JICA, 2016). There are several environmental issues related to the existing disposal site such as roaming wild animals including elephants scavenging, flies & birds nuisance, fire, offensive odor and smoke generated at the dumping site. Recyclables collected are amounts to be about 2 tons per day, which is sold to private dealers by the waste collectors themselves.

Prices of recyclable material

Source - Trincomalee recyclable dealers

There are two recyclable material dealers – that purchase and sell on plastics, cans, metals and other recyclable materials – in the Trincomalee UC and one in Town & Gravets PS. Taking valuable materials to the shops is done by the waste collection drivers and private recyclers who collect valuable materials from households. The private firm “CGL International Eco Pvt., Ltd.”, which was commissioned by the Trincomalee UC to operate the Kanniya disposal site, has stated its intention to establish a recyclables recovery facility to collect cardboard, plastics, metals and so on. Accordingly, the collection and selling of valuable materials by the waste collection workers is prohibited by the Trincomalee UC.

Download data file here


Source - Department of Census and Statistics

Infrastructure services in the city is detailed in this data. Pipe borne water supply and coverage of sewerage pipes needs more development according to the data.

Solid waste composition

Source - JICA

The results of a waste composition survey conducted in 2010 in the Kanniya UC by the NSWMSC are quoted as the result of waste composition of the Trincomalee UC.

Solid waste collection and disposal (Per day)

Source - JICA

Majority of the solid waste generated in the city es recorded as collected. Rest of the other which is not collected are managed by the households by burning, barring and composting.


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.

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.

Flood Data

Source - Disaster Management Center

Trincomalee city area records flood in 2014 and in 2015. 2014 flood had reasoned to affect 2958 people. However, the urban area is frequently going under flash flood situations, in heavy rain periods in north eastern monsoon.

Annual rainfall at observation station

Source - Department of Meteorology

Here is the change in the annual values of rainfall from 2008 to 2013. According to the Trincomalee Observatory station, rainfall in the area is calculated separately for each month and more information can be downloaded from the following detailed statistics.

Download data file here

Annual average air temperature at observation stations

Source - Department of Meteorology

Here is the change in the annual values of air temprature from 2007 to 2013. According to the Trincomalee Observatory station, air temprature in the area is calculated separately for each month and more inforamation can be downloaded from the following detailed statistics.

Download data file here

Climate risk exposure (1974-2017)

Source - Disaster Management Center

This graph shows the climate risk exposure from 1974 to 2017.

Thematic maps


Trincomalee Urban Council area: 

Trincomalee Urban Council covers an area of 1379 hectares. (Data Source _ Survey Department)

Download Map Here                 Download Data Layer Here


Distribution of Grama Niladhari Divisions in Trincomalee Urban Council:

Further details related to its 19 Grama Niladhari Divisions can be seen by downloading the map. (Data Source: Survey Department)

Download Map Here                  Download Data Layer Here


Road Map of Trincomalee Urban Council:

The road map for Trincomalee Urban Council shows information on the road classifications. Road names are visible in the detailed layer which can be downloaded. This 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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826.04 (ha)
  • High Rise
    • 1.17
    Low Rise
    • 491.41
    • 0.36
    • 0.53
  • Retail
    • 49.27
    • 2.60
    Mixed Retail-Residential
    • 6.16
    • 1.65
  • Education
    • Other higher edu. 4.63
    • School 16.65
    • Hospital 5.75
    • Dispensary 0.50
    • 90.05
  • Factory
    • 5.60
  • Bus Terminus
    • 3.64
    Rail Terminus
    • 7.53
    • 0.30
    • 1.39
    • 17.45
    Rail Road
    • 45.45
  • Park/Square
    • 3.92
    • 37.17
    • 5.37
  • Religious
    • Temple/Shrine 17.98
    • Church 6.54
    • Mosque 0.62
    • 1.67
    • 0.68
489.96 (ha)
    • 29.16
    • 16.91
    • 298.97
    • 7.58
    • 27.77
    • 55.13
    • 54.44


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
Trincomalee Urban Council ( km 2 )
Overall Growth rate 1995 - 2017 5.48%
Urban change 1995 - 2017 4.13
TOTAL AOI 143.63
    • 1995
      • Total Municipality 13.79
      • Urban 1.59
      • Semi-Urban 3.93
      • Non-Built 7.39
      • Water 0.88
    • 2001
      • Total Municipality 13.8
      • Urban 2.31
      • Semi-Urban 4.02
      • Non-Built 6.59
      • Water 0.88
    • 2012
      • Total Municipality 13.8
      • Urban 3.9
      • Semi-Urban 4.32
      • Non-Built 4.7
      • Water 0.88
    • 2017
      • Total Municipality 13.79
      • Urban 4.92
      • Semi-Urban 4.58
      • Non-Built 3.41
      • Water 0.88
    • 1995
      • Total Fringe 129.85
      • Urban 0.91
      • Semi-Urban 6.96
      • Non-Built 52.08
      • Water 69.9
    • 2001
      • Total Fringe 129.85
      • Urban 1.16
      • Semi-Urban 8.98
      • Non-Built 49.81
      • Water 69.9
    • 2012
      • Total Fringe 129.85
      • Urban 2.1
      • Semi-Urban 10.98
      • Non-Built 46.87
      • Water 69.9
    • 2017
      • Total Fringe 129.84
      • Urban 3.16
      • Semi-Urban 12.01
      • Non-Built 44.77
      • Water 69.9