Over 3M Lankans were poor in 2019 – CSD

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Three million and forty two thousand three hundred (3,042,300) individuals comprising 14.3 per cent of Sri Lanka’s total population lived in poverty in 2019, the Census and Statistics Department (CSD) said on Wednesday (20 April). The split comprised 1,592,000 females and 1,451,000 males in poverty in 2019, it said.

This data is based on Sri Lanka’s updated poverty line (UPL) of Rs 6,966 per person, per month as at 2019, CSD added. It further said the population in Sri Lanka was 21.2 million in 2019.

“In 2019 an estimated 11.9 per cent of households were poor,” CSD further said. It said there were 5.7 million households in Sri Lanka in 2019. In numerical terms, the number of households in poverty in 2019 was 681,800. The average household size in the island in 2019 was 3.7, said CSD.

“Meanwhile, the highest Poverty Headcount Index (PHI) was reported from Mullaitivu District (44.5 per cent) and the lowest from Colombo District (2.3 per cent) in 2019,” CSD said. Mullaitivu District’s population was estimated at 100,000 and that of the Colombo District 2.35 million in 2019, by CSD. Number of households in poverty in Mullaitivu in 2019 was 10,300 and in Colombo (11,300), it added.

CSD also said in numerical terms the highest number of poor was from the rural sector or rural poor with 2,500,600 who comprised 82.2 per cent of the total poor in 2019, the next was estate poor with 324,200 or 10.7 per cent of the total poor, while the lowest was the urban poor who comprised 217,500 (7.1 per cent) of the total poor in 2019.

CSD also said the number 324,200 comprising the “estate poor” was equivalent to 33.8 per cent of the totality of Sri Lanka’s estate population in 2019. It further said 2,500,600 of the rural poor comprised 15 per cent of the totality of the rural population and 217,500 of the urban poor comprised six per cent of the totality of the urban population in 2019.

CSD also said the totality of Sri Lanka’s total rural population in 2019 was 16.7 million, urban population (3.6 million) and that of the estate population (one million). It also said the average household size in the urban sector in 2019 was 3.8 persons, rural sector (3.7) and estate sector (four per household).

By Paneetha Ameresekere