5,140.3 ha
25 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.

Predictions made by identifying demographic and composition patterns of the population within the existing physical boundary will create a well-planned livable  city.


Population Growth rate

Source - Department of Census and Statistics /SoSLC

The data is considering population estimates of SoSLC for year 2017

Gender distribution by age

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

Out of the total population within the Anuradhapura Municipal Council limits, 49.44% are male and 50.56% are female. The proportion of the total population divided by age is 22.39% for children under 15, 25.03%, for those aged 15 - 29, 41.91% for those aged 30-59 and 10.67% for the elderly population over 60 year.

Download data file here

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

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

Anuradhapura’s ethnic city makeup comprises a majority of 91 per cent Sinhalese, followed by 7.0 per cent Sri Lanka Moor, 1.2 per cent Tamil, and 0.3 per cent Other groups. The graph shows around 91 per cent of Sinhalese in all three region.

Migration to city limits by years of residents

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

According to the the statistics, immigrated male and female population in over 10 year resident category is the highest. More male population is recorded as immigrants to the urban area in less than 5 year period of residence, according to the data.

Reason for migration

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

More males are considering employment as a reason to migrate, where more females are considering marriage and accompanying with a family member in migration according to the data 2012.

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

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

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 all age groups except 30-59.

Female Headed households and Male Headed Households with National Average

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

The graph shows that household headed by gender with respective average. percentage of female households are lower than male headed households in the city.

Language competency

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

Graph shows language abilities of the people in Anuradhapura municipal council in 2012


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.

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

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

Almost 25% of people in the aged group 3-24 not attending to any type of education in Anuradhapura MC

Highest Level of Education achieved by Gender

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

Level of education in the city is in a satisfactory level, where, majority of the female students are achieving GCE AL. Considering the level of achieving degree or above education qualification, more number of males are recorded.

Computer literacy - ( Population aged 10 years and above )

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

Age in between year 15 to 19 records the highest level of computer literacy in the area.


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.

Hourly traffic flow (in day time )

Source - SOSLC Project

Between 7 am to 8 am is the busiest traffic period in the Anuradhapura MC area with peak reached at 8 am due to school and work commuting traffic.

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 Anuradhapura MC area between 6 am to 6pm were private vehicles such as motorcycles and car/van/jeeps totaling around 85 per cent of the modal share. Route buss only represent 2% out of the total share of vehicles

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

Source - SOSLC Project

The route buses are the dominant type of vehicle in the area which tolerate the majority of the passengers. Motor cycles are also used in a considerable level.

Accident statistics in Police Divisions (Number of fatal casualties)

Source - Sri Lanka Police Department

Fatal casualties record a drastic increase in 2015 and substantial reduction in 2016 in Anuradhapura MC.

Download data file here

Number of railway passengers annually

Source - Sri Lanka Railways

The date records a increase in annual railway passengers from 2014 to 2016

Railway passengers coming into/from city center

Source - Sri Lanka Railways

Number of passengers from Colombo area and Northern line are the majority.


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

Anuradhapura is ranked as the 5th best city according to the City Competitiveness Index (CCI). Anuradhapura is slightly lower by each categories compared to the average values across the nine provincial capital cities.

Estimated Gross domestic product per capita

Source - Central Bank Annual report 2017

The graph provide the evidence to a gradual rise in Estimated GDP per capita in Anuradhapura MC.

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.

City Governance Index

Source - SOSLC Project

Anuradhapura is ranked as the 5th best city in City Governance Index (CGI).The CGI index of the city is 40.96 out of 100

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. North Central province include 2 MC’s , 1 UC and 25 PS’s. Anuradhapura is the provincial capital city of North Central 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 unit

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

The graph indicates the typology of housing in the Anuradhapura MC Area. The majority of housing (around 96 per cent) comprises single story and two story houses.

Download data file here

Types of housing

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

The graph indicate that in Anuradhapura municipal council almost 90.5 per cent of the houses were permanent in 2012.

download data layer here

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. 

Solid waste collection and disposal (Per day)

Source - JICA

Almost 53 per cent households were not covered for garbage collection, consequences of this, households burning, burying or open dumping their garbage.


Source - Department of Census and Statistics

Anuradhapura MC Area has extremely high coverage of electricity and water services with 97 per cent and 99 per cent having access to safe drinking water and electricity respectively.


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.

Flood Data

Source - Disaster Management Center

As a city located in dry zone of the country, flood is not a frequent experience in the city limits. Only 2012 records a flood event which effect on 34 people. Considering the Anuradhapura district, there are flood records in year 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016. 2014 flood record indicate effect on 22818 people, as a significant event and there are 2 death records due to flood in 2016.

Climate risk exposure(1974-2017)

Source - Disaster Management Center

The graph shows that the area get affected dominantly due to drought situations from 1974 to 2017 in Anuradhapura MC

Air pollution due to transport

Source - National Building Research Organisation

The data elaborates the level of pollutants in the air due to transportation in the city. Recommended sulfur dioxide (SO2 ) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2 ) levels are according to the WHO recommendations.

Thematic maps

Anuradhapura Soil Structure

Anuradhapura MC Area distribute a soil Type according to source shape File from Natural Resources Management Centre

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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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SOSLC project
SOSLC project
Filter Map
SOSLC project
2647.88 (ha)
  • Low Rise
    • 1420.33
    • 5.64
  • Retail
    • 160.35
    Mixed Retail-Residential
    • 13.96
    • 3.26
  • Education
    • University 39.60
    • Other higher edu. 10.85
    • School 38.16
    • Hospital 14.34
    • Dispensary 1.02
    • 187.25
  • Factory
    • 26.06
  • Bus Terminus
    • 2.47
    Rail Terminus
    • 4.00
    • 59.08
    • 4.15
    • 20.53
    Rail Road
    • 98.37
  • Park/Square
    • 45.14
    • 39.43
    • 19.23
  • Religious
    • Temple/Shrine 99.58
    • Church 1.52
    • Mosque 1.04
    • 332.34
    • 0.18
SOSLC project
2492.47 (ha)
    • 710.32
    • 1545.98
    • 36.76
    • 133.70
    • 12.54
    • 10.28
    • 42.89


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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SOSLC project
SOSLC project
Filter Map
Urban expansion statistics
SOSLC project
Anuradhapura Municipal Council ( km 2 )
Overall Growth rate 1995 - 2017 7.35%
Urban change 1995 - 2017 7.37
TOTAL AOI 684.23
    • 1995
      • Total Municipality 51.4
      • Urban 1.96
      • Semi-Urban 7.39
      • Non-Built 26.71
      • Water 15.34
    • 2001
      • Total Municipality 51.41
      • Urban 2.44
      • Semi-Urban 10.44
      • Non-Built 23.19
      • Water 15.34
    • 2012
      • Total Municipality 51.42
      • Urban 4.96
      • Semi-Urban 15.3
      • Non-Built 15.82
      • Water 15.34
    • 2017
      • Total Municipality 51.41
      • Urban 8.59
      • Semi-Urban 17.64
      • Non-Built 9.84
      • Water 15.34
    • 1995
      • Total Fringe 632.82
      • Urban 0
      • Semi-Urban 4.31
      • Non-Built 560.23
      • Water 68.28
    • 2001
      • Total Fringe 632.82
      • Urban 0.53
      • Semi-Urban 9.92
      • Non-Built 554.09
      • Water 68.28
    • 2012
      • Total Fringe 632.82
      • Urban 0.64
      • Semi-Urban 27.34
      • Non-Built 536.56
      • Water 68.28
    • 2017
      • Total Fringe 632.82
      • Urban 0.76
      • Semi-Urban 45.26
      • Non-Built 518.52
      • Water 68.28