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2248.96 ha
15.48 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

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

Gender differences in the demography of Vavuniya UC is seen with a higher number of women than men, a trend was seen in all the major cities in Sri Lanka, but pronounced in Vavuniya (98.18 men per 100 females, i.e. 50.91% are female). In Vavuniya, in all the age groups, except the 30-59 group and below 15, there are more females than men. While a national trend, this can also be a reflection of the impact of the years of civil conflict. As with other cities, the female elderly population is significantly higher than their male counterparts, and of the total male and female populations in 2012, the male and female elderly proportions were reported to be 10and 12 percent, respectively, which results from the higher life expectancy of women. The high proportion of elderly women in the UCs poses questions about how their wellbeing can be secured and will be a growing policy concern for many cities and the GoSL as has been the case in many advanced economies with aging populations.

Download data file here

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 Vavuna Urban Council.

Download data file here

Reason for migration

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

The shifting of rural populations to urban areas is mainly due to urban biases in terms of development and economic opportunities. It has been observed in developing economies that urban residents have a better standard of living, level of nutrition, and provision of services than rural dwellers. In Vavuniya UC Resettled after displacement and displacement are considered as the main two reasons for the migration of males and females into the city, this can also be a reflection of the impact of the years of civil conflict. while migration of the females into the city is for marriage purposes mainly and then employment, as well as accompanying a family member.

Download data file here

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

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. Sex ratio is reported as 94, reflecting there are 94 males for every 100 females in the country.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. it is 127.74%.

Download data file here

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

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

The total population of the Northern Province as per the statistics is 1.246 million, the lowest populous province in the country, with 606,678 males (47.3%) and 639,775 females (52.7%). The population density is 136 persons per Sq. Km as against to 346 for the whole Island. The majority in the province live in areas classified as rural (84.5%), and only 15.5% of the population live in areas classified as urban. The majority of the population i.e. 89% in the province are Sri Lankan Tamils and others are Sri Lankan Moors, Sinhalese and Indian Tamils living in the province. Most of the Sri Lankan Tamils are Hindus, and the other religious persuasions in the province are Christians, Muslims, and a small number of Buddhists. The graph here shows the difference in ethnic composition from province to district to city. While usually, the city shows a more cosmopolitan nature than the province. The Vavuniya city reflects the composition of the district quite closely, even more so than the provincial percentages.

Download data file here

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

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

The above data belongs to the Vavuniya district. Thus it can be observed that the number of male headed families is high. Here the averages of both males and females in Sri Lanka are shown separately

Migrant population in city limits by years of residence

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

Internal migration has always been one of the forces driving the growth of urbanization and bringing opportunities and challenges to cities, migrants and governments. Increasingly, municipal authorities are becoming recognized as key actors in managing migration and have started including migration in their urban planning and implementation. Thus, for cities to better manage migration, data on migration and urbanization are essential. The total male resident population in the Anuradhapura Municipal Council area is 84715 the total female resident population is 87400 out of which the total male migrant population is 47746 and the total female migrant population is 49719, showing a slightly higher percentage of female immigrants. The majority of this migrant population has resided in the city for more than 10 years, thus more like first-generation citizens rather than migrants.

Download data file here

Gender Distribution

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

According to the Census 2012, the female population is higher than the 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 Vavuniya Urban Council limits, 49.09 percent are male and 50.91 percent are female. Here is how the gender population in 2018 has changed according to the statistics of the Northern Provincial District Secretariat. However, the female population is still highly represented. By the year 2018, the total number of families living in the Vavuniya Urban Council area is reported as 9684.

Download data file here for 2012

Download data file here for 2018


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.

Highest Level of Education achieved by Gender

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

All the category, female students participated or achieved education is more than male in Vavuniya UC .

Computer literacy - ( Population aged 10 years and above )

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

The birth of the Information Age which is also known as the Computer Age is associated with the Digital Revolution, just as the Industrial Revolution marked the birth of the Industrial Age. The rapid developments in ICT have greatly contributed to enhancing human living standards worldwide. The advanced capability of this technology can facilitate extremely efficient collaboration and access to correct, consistent, and effective information. In the developed world, most of the key economically effective environments are increasingly ICT dominant. This graph looks at the computer literacy of the persons between the ages of 10 and 40 in terms of gendering the city. 49% of men and 51% of women in the Vavuniya Urban Council are computer literate. Definition for Computer literacy: A person (aged 5-69) is considered a computer literate person if he/she can use a computer on his/her own. For example, even if a 5 years old child can play a computer game then he/she is considered as a computer literate person. Definition for computer literacy rate: Computer Literate population expressed as a percentage to the total population, (aged 5 – 69 years) within the respective domain.

Download data file here

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 Vavuniya MC according to 2012 census. About 60% of the total population between the ages of 3 and 24 attended to school. Also about 25% do not have any formal education.


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 railway passengers annually

Source - Railway station - Vavuniya

According to Vavunia railway station data it can observe an increase in the number of train passengers every year and the highest number of passengers was reported in 2016.


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 - Vavuniya Urban Council Final Account-2019

This includes information on the revenue and expenditure of the Vavuniya Municipal Council. For this, data for the year 2019 has been included.

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.

Distribution of Local Authorities (by Province)

Source - Statistical Hand Book 2019 Divisional Secretariat Vavuniya.

There is one Urban council and four Pradeshiya Sabhas in Vavuniya district

Cadre Information according to Service Levels in Local Authority

Source - VUC Admin report 2018

In this data set it has mentioned Cadre Information as at 31.12.2018. Further to that it has included Disignation, Service, Grade, Salary Code, Service Level according to approved cadre and living cadre. Special Note: Administrative Officer Cadre is Acting of Management Assistant Service I , 7 No's Health Labourer Cadre is Dying Cadre.

Download data file here

Number of voters and elected members

Source - NP Statistical Information

after 2016 The number of elected members has increased and the number of voters has declined.

Human resources of Local Authority

Source - Department of Local Government (N P)

The chart above shows the detailed data of the relevant local government cadre information. It details theapproved cadre and the number of existing cadre as well as the number of vacancies. Here is the data for the three years 2016, 2017 and 2018 in Vavuniya Municipal Council.


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 Vavuniya UC. The majority of housing (around 95 per cent) comprises single story and two story houses.

Types of housing

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

The graph indicate that in Vavuniya Urban council (GN Division) almost 84.71 per cent of the houses were permanent .

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 - Vavuniya 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 - Vavuniya 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.

Solid waste collection and disposal (Per day)

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

Almost 49.66 % of households were covered for garbage collection, around 45.06 per cent households burning their garbage

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 in the town is the responsibility of Vavuniya Urban Council, and disposal is a problem that has become more acute as the population has expanded (ADB, 2012). However, the majority of the solid waste generated in the area appeared to be self-managed. The given resources for collection of solid waste is inadequate. it is affected the frequency of collection in different areas. Currently, source separation is not practiced in the area. The collected solid waste is disposed to the land in Pampaimadu; about 14 km from Vavuniya Town. Even though a small scale compost plant established in the UC, the practices appeared to be abandoned at present.

Service Maintaned by Local Authority

Source - Department of Local Government,Nothern Province

The above data describe the services provided by the local government body. It further states how many centers there are for services such as markets, clinics, dispensaries, ayurvedic hospitals, fairs, commercial stalls, waste water treatment plants, cemeteries, etc. Here are the figures for the number of such centers in the Vavuniya Municipal Council area in the years 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. This shows that no significant change has taken place in those four years.

Download data file here

Heavy vehicles and equipment owned by local authority

Regulatory Services (Applications average per month)


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 2009 to 2013. According to the Vavuniya 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

Monthly Average Rainfall and Temperature

Source - Department of Meteorology

Data is on Average rainfall and temperature in Vavuniya district. The graph further elaborate the patterns and correlation in between the values.

Thematic maps


Vavunia Urban Council area:  Vavunia Urban Council covers an area of 2248.96 hectares. (Data Source _ Survey Department) Download Map Here                        Download Data Layer Here   


Distribution of Grama Niladhari Divisions in Vavunia UC: Further details related to its 12 Grama Niladhari Divisions can be seen by downloading the map. (Data Source: Survey Department) Download Map Here                           Download Data Layer Here


Road Map of Vavuniya Urban Council: The road map for Vavuniya 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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The Vavuniya Urban Council covers an area of 2248.96 hectares. There are 12 Grama Niladhari Divisions within that limits. (For detailed information, please refer to the thematic maps section under the City Information page)


The Vavuniya Urban Council area, known as the one of major city in the Nothern Province, has a high built-up land area (1339.66 hectares) and it covers 59.57% of the total land area. Non built-up land is limited (909.29 ha) which is just 40.43%.

The source of this spatial data is the Land Use Policy Planning Department. This should be further subdivided using land use verification to have more accurate information. Think this is enough just to get a rough idea.


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)

1339.66 (ha)
  • Low Rise
    • 1285.14
    • 28.79
  • Factory
    • 9.19
  • Park/Square
    • 12.3
    • 1.29
    • 2.95
909.29 (ha)
    • 752.38
    • 149.86
    • 7.05


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
Vavuniya Urban Council ( km 2 )
Overall Growth rate 1995 - 2017 %
Urban change 1995 - 2017