Richest 20% get 51.3% of total household income

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Sri Lanka’s richest 20 per cent of households received nearly 51.3 per cent of the island’s total household income, while the poorest 20 per cent received only 4.6 per cent in 2019, the Census and Statistics Department (CSD) said recently.

CSD in a publication titled ‘2019 Household Income and Expenditure (HIES) Survey’ released on 2 April  defined ‘richest households’ as those households  which were earning a minimum income of Rs 97,591 per month and the ‘poorest,’  those earning  a maximum of Rs 28,057 per month in the review year.

It further said the mean household income per month for Sri Lanka at the national level in 2019 was Rs 76,414 and average monthly household expenditure Rs 63,130.

 When segmentalising such income vis-à-vis ‘urban,’ ‘rural’ and ‘estate’ sectors, the comparative figures were Rs 116,670, Rs 69,517, and Rs 46,865 and ‘expenditure,’ Rs 95,392, Rs 57,652 and Rs 38,519.

CSD further said there were a total of 5.7 million households in Sri Lanka in 2019, while the country’s total population that year was 21.2 million. It said the average size of a household in Sri Lanka was 3.7 in 2019. CSD however didn’t quantify the numbers of the ‘richest’ and the ‘poorest’ living in the country in absolute terms, nor did it specify the value of the total household income in Sri Lanka in 2019.

By Paneetha Ameresekere