Sri Lanka is a tiny island nation in South East Asia located in the Indian ocean on the southern tip of India. Historically known as Ceylon, the capital city of Sri Lanka is Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte and the largest city and financial capital is Colombo.
Sri Lanka has a population of around 22 million comprised of diverse cultures, languages and ethnicities. Sinhalese constitute the largest ethnic group in the country, with 74.8% of the total population. Sri Lankan Tamils are the second major ethnic group in the island, with a percentage of 11.2%. Moors comprise 9.2%. There are also small ethnic groups such as the Burghers (of mixed European descent) and Malays (of mixed Southeast Asian descent). There is also a small declining population of Veddas who are believed to be the original indigenous group to inhabit the island.
The two main languages spoken in the country are Sinhala and Tamil, additionally English is very commonly spoken and widely used for official and commercial purposes. The constitution while assuring freedom of religion, gives the foremost place to Buddhism and it is the predominant religion in Sri Lanka while Hinduism, Christianity and Islam are also widely practiced across the Island.
The overall literacy rate for those aged 10 and over was 95.7%, boasting the highest literacy rate in all of South Asia. Sri Lanka’s population is aging faster than any other nation in the region and has the fifth highest rapidly growing population of older people in Asia after China, Thailand, South Korea and Japan.
Colombo is the industrial capital and the most densely populated city in Sri Lanka, it is located in the west coast of the country. Kandy which is known as the hill capital is the second most densely populated city in Sri Lanka and is located in the central hills of the country. The Southern areas of the country are mostly populated by the Sinhalese people and the Northern Areas are mostly populated by the Tamil people.
The free education system established in the country in 1945 makes Sri Lanka, one of the few countries in the world that provide universal free education from primary to tertiary stage. This maintains the high literacy rates of the country