Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority

Population and Languages

Population & Languages

The population of Sri Lanka is about 20 million. (2004 estimates). Sri Lanka is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious country with a diverse & rich culture. The Sinhalese, the majority community living here, comprise 74.0% of the country's estimated 20mn population. The other ethnic groups that are part of Sri Lanka's social fabric are the Sri Lankan Tamils, Indian Tamils, Moors & other minorities including the Malays and Burghers. Each of these groups has its own identity, customs & traditions. The two official languages are Sinhala and Tamil.

Sinhala is the language spoken of the majority of the population. Tamil is widely used in the northern & eastern parts of the country. English is widely spoken and understood in the urban regions. It is the language of business & commerce.