1,910.6 ha
52 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.

This section provides a description of the demographic status and trends in the city, primarily based on 2012 census data, presenting an overall view of the population. Trends and patterns of urban population are discussed including  aspects of demography such as age, sex, ethnicity, education levels; and overall observations with regard to migration patterns, suburban population and gender.

Understanding the demographic and composition patterns of the population within the existing physical boundary will help in planning a livable  city.



Population Growth rate

Source - Data Collection Survey on Solid Waste Management by JICA 2016

Here the population of Sri Lanka was projected for the year 2015 by each District based on the census data of 2012 and the population data up to 2014 that were obtained from the Department of Statistics. Also, the total population was estimated based on the population growth rate from 2015 to 2024 projected by the United Nations Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Accordingly, the growth rate of the total population up to 2024 was applied to the growth rate of each District from 2012 to 2015 to figure out the future population of the target local authorities. The Jaffna Municipal Council is one such local authority selected. A separate population growth rate was generated from those data. Download the JICA data file and the population growth data generated based on it using the below link for more information.

Download JICA survey population data here


Download population growth rate calculations based on previous data here

Language competency

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

One distinctive feature of Sri Lankan culture is how ethnicity, language, and religious affiliation correlate with one another, each being key determinants of an individual’s identity. Alongside the two largest ethnic groups – Sinhalese (74.9%) and Tamil (15.4%) – the third largest ethnic group in Sri Lankan Moors (9.2%). The remaining 0.5% of Sri Lanka’s population is comprised of Burghers (mixed European descent), Parsis (immigrants from west India), and Veddas (who are identified as the indigenous inhabitants of the land). The Tamils separate further into two groups, Sri Lankan Tamils and Indian Tamils. There are three official languages of Sri Lanka: Sinhala, Tamil, and English. This is evident throughout the country, with most signs written in all three languages. The Sinhalese - Buddhist majority mostly speak Sinhala, while Tamil is spoken widely by Sri Lankan Moors / Muslims and ethnic Tamils / Hindus. English was introduced as a result of the British colonial rule and has become the language used in government administration and commercial activities. This graph indicates the categories of ethnic groups and their language abilities.

Download data file here

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

Source - Department of Census and Statistics, 2012

The total population of the Northern Province as per the statistics is 1.246 million, the lowest populous province in the country, with 606,678 males (47.3%) and 639,775 females (52.7%). The population density is 136 persons per Sq. Km as against to 346 for the whole Island. The majority in the province live in areas classified as rural (84.5%), and only 15.5% of the population live in areas classified as urban. The majority of the population i.e. 89% in the province are Sri Lankan Tamils and others are Sri Lankan Moors, Sinhalese and Indian Tamils living in the province. Most of the Sri Lankan Tamils are Hindus, and the other religious persuasions in the province are Christians, Muslims, and a small number of Buddhists. The graph here shows the difference in ethnic composition from province to the district to city. While usually, the city shows a more cosmopolitan nature than the province in the case of Jaffna, this is not so. The Jaffna city reflects the composition of the district quite closely, even more so than the provincial percentages.

Download data file here

Gender distribution by age

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

Gender differences in the demography of Jaffna MC is seen with a higher number of women than men, a trend was seen in all the major cities in Sri Lanka, but pronounced in Jaffna (88.3 men per 100 females, i.e. 52.97% are female), with only Badulla having a more marked difference. In Jaffna, in all the age groups, except the below 15, there are more females than men. While a national trend, this can also be a reflection of the impact of the years of civil conflict. As with other cities, the female elderly population is significantly higher than their male counterparts, and of the total male and female populations in 2012, the male and female elderly proportions were reported to be 11.3 and 13.4 percent, respectively, which results from the higher life expectancy of women. The high proportion of elderly women in the MCs poses questions about how their wellbeing can be secured and will be a growing policy concern for many cities and the GoSL as has been the case in many advanced economies with aging populations.

Download data file here

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

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

The sex ratio is calculated using the percentage or proportion of males relative to females in a population. In 2020, male to female ratio for Sri Lanka was 92.12 males per 100 females. Male to female ratio of Sri Lanka fell gradually from 119.5 males per 100 females in 1950 to 92.12 males per 100 females in 2020. The above chart is based on the last census data in 2012. For a Jaffna MC area, there are more females than males in all age groups except less than 15.

Download data file here

Female-Headed households and Male-Headed Households with National Average

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

This describes how domestic leadership is divided into genders. The number of Male-headed households is higher than the number of Female-headed households in the municipal limit. There are 65,587 Women Headed Families living in the Province. This figure specified that, War Widows (7,686), widows by natural (44,176), by deserted (7,784), and other reasons (5,941). Furthermore, 19,143 persons are identified as disabled persons either physically or mentally and there are 936 children recognized as both parents lost in the Province, and 10,515 Children were lost either their father or mother. For these categories, more attention has to be taken for special needs people to improve their livelihood and standard of living.

Download data file here

Migrant population in city limits by years of residence

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

Internal migration has always been one of the forces driving the growth of urbanization and bringing opportunities and challenges to cities, migrants and governments. Increasingly, municipal authorities are becoming recognized as key actors in managing migration and have started including migration in their urban planning and implementation. For cities to better manage migration, data on migration and urbanization are essential. The total male resident population in the Jaffna Municipal Council area is 38,015, the total female resident population is 42,814 out of which the total male migrant population is 9,979 and the total female migrant population is 10,603. According to that, the number of female inmigrants is comparatively higher than the number of male inmigrants.

Download data file here

Reason for migration

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

The shifting of rural populations to urban areas is mainly due to urban biases in terms of development and economic opportunities. It has been observed in developing economies that urban residents have a better standard of living, level of nutrition, and provision of services than rural dwellers. In Jaffna MC highest number of migrants are resettled after disparagement according to the data. Employment is considered as one of the main reasons for male population migration into the city, and the females are migrated in the city is due to marriages and also considering employments as well as accompanying with a family member.

Download data file here


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.

Classification of schools

Source - Jaffna Municipal Council Statistical 2019

The Education sector takes a significant role to produce a knowledge-based society in Sri Lanka. The number of functional schools has been increased to 1,008 out of 1,098 to serve 252,097 students with 19,224 teachers in 2018. The Student-Teacher ratio is 13 for the Province. National programs such as 1,000 schools and 5,000 feeders primary school program, TSEP, “Nearest School -The Best School” (NSBS) are being successfully implemented in the Province. A child-friendly approach has been introduced in 500 schools. Technical Laboratory facilities have been provided to 90 schools in the Province. Infrastructure facilities are also continuously provided wherever the requirements are identified through various sources. Therefore, the adult literacy rate by 2017 was Jaffna - 96.6%, Kilinochchi - 84.3 %, Mullaitivu - 89.3 % while Mannar and Vavuniya were 94.1% & 86.0% respectively. The rate of attendance at schools has also increased to 73%. To enhance the formal education and for the learning development of students, there are several programs inclusive of sports and cultural affairs, religion and value education, bilingual and trilingual education and also organized to the secondary and primary education to facilitate the higher education, tertiary and vocational educational training centers are also established in the province such as the University of Jaffna, Vavuniya Campus of the University of Jaffna, Open University of Sri Lanka, Vocational Training Centers, Technical College, National Colleges of Education, Teachers’ Training Schools, Technical Colleges and Advance Technical Institute.

Computer literacy - ( Population aged 10 years and above )

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

The birth of the Information Age which is also known as the Computer Age is associated with the Digital Revolution, just as the Industrial Revolution marked the birth of the Industrial Age. The rapid developments in ICT have greatly contributed to enhancing human living standards worldwide. The advanced capability of this technology can facilitate extremely efficient collaboration and access to correct, consistent, and effective information. In the developed world, most of the key economically effective environments are increasingly ICT dominant. This graph looks at the computer literacy of the persons between the ages of 10 and 40 in terms of gender and it explains that 34% of men and 28% of women in the Jaffna Municipal Council are computer literate. Definition for Computer literacy: A person (aged 5-69) is considered a computer literate person if he/she can use a computer on his/her own. For example, even if a 5 years old child can play a computer game then he/she is considered as a computer literate person. Definition for computer literacy rate: Computer Literate population expressed as a percentage to the total population, (aged 5 – 69 years) within the respective domain.

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

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

Gender difference in education performance may arise for a number of reasons such as differences in the types of subject male and female study, gender differences in individual-specific attributes that are correlated with attainment (example family background and marital status), or difference in the type and the quality of Institutions that male and female attended, additionally gender difference in attainment could be due to physical and or biological factors. during the past years, This graph shows there has been a sharp increase in the participation of women in higher education and it describes the determinants of gender differences in educational attainment. Women perform better on average than male counterparts.

Download Data File Here

Highest Level of Education achieved by Gender

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

As globalization and technology continue to re-shape the needs of labour markets worldwide, the demand for individuals with a broader knowledge base and more specialized skills continues to rise. This graph reflects those with tertiary education (the highest level of education) by age group. This includes both theoretical programs leading to advanced research or high-skill professions such as medicine and more vocational programs leading to the labour market. The measure is the percentage of the same age population, also available by gender. As a whole, the level of education in Jaffna city is at a satisfactory level, where all the category, female students participated or achieved education is more than male in Jaffna MC.

Download Data File Here


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.

The modal share of vehicles entering in Municipal Council from 06 am to 06 pm (Percent)

Source - Data based on the survey conducted in 2018 under the SOSLC project

The Northern Province had a widespread transport network before the civil conflict, and after the end of armed conflict in 2009, it has been re-built in many ways providing better services to passengers in all modes of transport services. The province is well connected to other provinces and districts by road, rail, and air. The main transport mode within the province is road transport, especially bus services. The bus transport services are provided by Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) and the Private Bus Owners Society, while the trishaws (three-wheelers), hired vehicles, and motor cars are also used for internal passenger services. In the survey carried out, the highest percentage of vehicles entering the Jaffna MC area between 6 am to 6 pm were private vehicles such as motorcycles, bicycles, and other vehicles totaling around 83 percent of the modal share. Route bus only has a 4% and bicycles 6% entering into Jaffna MC. This could be because intercity buses from the South of the country tend to transport passengers at night and early morning.

Download data file here

Accident statistics in Police Divisions (Number of fatal casualties)

Source - Sri Lanka Police Department

Road traffic accidents are the second leading cause of death in Sri Lanka, according to the World Health organization (WHO). Rapid growth in vehicle ownership, diversity of motorized and non- motorized traffic of varying sizes and speeds without protection for the vulnerable have been identified as causal factors for recording the highest per capita road fatality rates in South Asia. Figures for the Jaffna police division area are high, but city comparison figures show that the figures for other cities tend to be higher. It must be understood that the figures for urbanised areas will be higher than the rest of the district/province. This though is not a reason for complacency as national figures of road fatalities per 100,000 people was 17.4 in 2018 (WBG, 2020). With over half of the road fatalities identified as drivers and passengers of motorized two and three wheeled vehicles and close to a third (29%) as pedestrians (WHO, 2018). The aim of monitoring road accidents is to aim for a downward trend in accidents over the years.

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

Source - Data based on the survey conducted in 2018 under the SOSLC project

There are number of road transportation modes used by commuter and travelers in city limit. This data is visualizing the number of vehicles and the number of passengers considering 24 hour time period. highest number of passengers are carried by buses. use of motorcycles and three wheeler are also used in a considerably high amount.

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Hourly traffic flow (in the day time)

Source - Data based on the survey conducted in 2018 under the SOSLC project

Traffic data is essential for both the planning and design of transportation facilities. This survey provided data that could help local experts in Sri Lankan cities to provide better estimates of the average daily traffic (ADT) and hence plan for better transportation facilities. Traffic increase from 6.00 upwards to 17.00 in the Jaffna MC area saw it peaking at 13.00 due to school closing time. This feature was particular to the Jaffna MC only as compared to other cities.

Download data file here

Length of rural roads within the boundaries of the local authority

Source - Department of Local Government (Northern Province)

The length of rural roads maintained by local government bodies in the entire Jaffna district is reported as 3040.6km, out of which the length of rural roads within the Jaffna Municipal Council limits is 158.2km. In addition, although the A and B category roads are not shown in the chart above, the total length of A category roads in the Jaffna district is 279.62 km and the total length of B category roads is 227.49 km. For information on routes, visit the data file below.

Download data file here

Length of roads according to road type

Source - Jaffna Municipal Council

As a historical port city, Jaffna MC has a well-connected road network. The A9 (Jaffna-Kandy) road is significant as the main road that connects the city with the rest of the country. Apart from that, Jaffna- Point Pedro Road, Jaffna-Kankesanturai Road, and Jaffna – Pannai Kayts Road, are some other roads that enrich the connectivity of the urban area.

Railway passengers coming into/from city center

Source - Sri Lanka Railways

The Sri Lanka Railways provide Train services to the passengers from Northern Province to other main railway stations. The Northern line is the longest railway line in Sri Lanka and it is 339 km length. The data elaborates the railway passengers commuting to the city as well as out from the city.

Number of railway passengers annually

Source - Sri Lanka Railways

The Northern Line is the longest railway line in Sri Lanka and it is 339 km in length, the mainline starts at Polgahawela moving north through the North Western, North Central, and Northern Provinces before terminating at the northernmost station of Kankesanthurai. All railway stations in the Northern Province were reconstructed after the end of the war in 2009 and provide extensive service to passengers at present. The annual railway passengers to the city show an increase from 2014 to 2016 according to the SLR data.

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Pedestrian’s movement

Source - SOSLC Project

Pedestrians are not only an indisputable fact, but a vitalizing force in the activity of traffic-generating centers of the city. This is particularly so in the CBD. Since virtually every person going to the CBD by auto, train, or bus ultimately becomes a person on foot, pedestrians constitute an essential element of downtown traffic. And the movement of persons and goods over pedestrian routes comprises an indispensable part of the CBD's transportation system. The latitude and longitude locations of the given values of point I, II, III and IV can be obtained by downloading the data file and further to that it contains more information about the direction of the pedestrian walks. This survey was conducted on 18/12/2017.

Download data file here


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 Gross domestic product per capita

Source - Central Bank Annual report

Per capita income or average income measures the average income earned per person in a given area in a specified year. It is calculated by dividing the area's total income by its total population. Per capita income of a country is national income divided by population size. GDP per capita is an important indicator of economic performance and a useful unit to make cross-city comparisons of average living standards and economic wellbeing. The graph provides evidence of a gradual rise in Estimated GDP per capita in Jaffna MC.

Download data file here

Annual Revenue and Expenditure of Local Authority

Source - Jaffna Municipal Council

The mission statement of the Ministry of Public Administration, Home Affairs, Provincial Councils & Local Government is "A Provincial and Local Government System which is effective, collaborative, innovative and accountable and provides high-quality services in the communities". To achieve that mission for every local government body it has sustaining methodology simply as a budgeting system. As the main capital city in the Northern province, representing Jaffna MC this graph indicates the annual revenue and expenditure summary for the years 2012, 2013, and 2014. this data is taken from a report prepared by JICA, based on the budget of the Jaffna Municipal Council. Download the data file for more information.

Download data file here

Estimated City Competitiveness Index (CCI)

Source - State of Sri Lakan cities publcation _ The Economy section

Competitive cities are able to attract flows of investment and trade, desirable from an economic development perspective. There are various tools to measure city competitiveness, incorporating indicators ranging from the business environment to human capital availability to transport infrastructure, which are tailored to the specific context in which they are implemented. The tool used here for the SoSLC Report 2018, draws on the Cities Competitiveness Index (CCI) utilized in the Philipphine Cities Competitiveness study developed by the Asian Institute of Management; as like Sri Lanka, Philipphines is also a rapidly urbanizing middle-income country, with similar per capita GDP. The assessment involves a primarily qualitative analysis, using secondary information and key informant interviews carried out in all 9 Provincial Capitals with the industry experts, representatives of each city's Chamber of Commerce, officials of the Urban Development Authority, and Municipal officials. The CCI includes 28 primary indicators and 70 secondary competitiveness attributes associated with 6 key drivers. The objective of estimating the competitiveness of Sri Lankan cities in relation to these drivers is to enable the preparation and implementation of plans, actions and initiatives which help to support local economic development. Interconnectivity with other cities, especially Colombo the country’s capital, has a positive impact on many drivers, because it enables greater access to services and economic opportunities. Jaffna, like other further away capitals of Trincomalee and Badulla tend to rank lower because their populations have less access to social and economic opportunities that easy access to Colombo may open up. This though is a changing phenomenon.

Download data file here

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.

Human resources of Local Authority

Source - Department of Local Government,Nothern Province

The model of local government human resource management (H.R.M) has been described as a hybrid of the ‘ideal type’ model (Farnham and Horton, 1996). One reason why this hybrid was formed is the different objectives of the ideal type of H.R.M and those of H.R.M as determined by new public management . Local authority HR departments have come under increasing government pressure to strengthen and professionalize their role. This data can explore the perspectives of line and HR managers in Jaffna local authority on how the HR function can best be organized to contribute to the development of their organizations. further to the above data can provide a better understanding of the human resources that perform the day-to-day duties of the local authority. approved cadre and existing cadre for the Local authority are given here. The number of vacancies can be found by subtracting the approved cadre from the existing cadre.

Download data file here

City Governance Index

Source - State of Sri Lakan Cities Report 2018. Urban Governanance Chapter

To assess the capacity of provincial capital cities to fulfil their mandate, the SOSLC Report 2018 deployed the City Governance Index. The CGI assesses these LA's against 6 key governance sub-indices each measured through 20 indicators and 42 sub indicators (Refer p. 42 of SOSLC 2018 report). The first is financial resilience of LAs, which includes indicators on the overall financial strength of the LA, their revenue collection capacities and resources allocation trends. The second is related to policy-making capacity, and includes the number of by-Laws promulgated by LA, resources allocated to implement Implement policies and evidence of their implementation. The third and fourth assesses the delivery key public service, including the breadth of services,their cost, quality and coverage. The fifth assesses the accountability and Equity of LAs, including women's representation, policies targeting vulnerable groups (poor, disabled etc.) and the transparency of LA activities. The sixth assesses political and citizen participation, including indicators on participation rates in local elections and other mechanisms in place to facilitate citizen participation. (SoSLC, 2018) Jaffna MC has scored a high of 82.59 in the ‘Service Delivery Coverage’ and low of 20.00 in ‘Accountability and Equity’.

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Number of voters and elected members

Source - Department of Local Government, NP (data extracted from statistical book 2018)

The above information is for the years 2016, 2017, and 2018 and it is said that there are 82897 persons in the Jaffna Municipal Council in 2018 and 91321 persons in 2017, and 91417 in 2016. Out of that total population 54592 voters and 23 elected members in 2016, in 2017 56182 voters and 45 elected members, in 2018 60361 voters and 45 elected members are there.

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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. The Northern Province of Sri Lanka is comprised of five administrative districts namely, Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mannar, Mullaitivu, and Vavuniya. There are 34 Divisional Secretariats and 34 Local Authorities such as one Municipal Council, 5 Urban Councils, and 28 Pradhasiya Sabas administratively rendering mandatory services to the public. It covers an area of 8,896.65 sq. km exactly 13.54% of the total area of the island. This region has a forest cover of 3,768.49 sq. km and Inland water area covers 415.15 Jaffna MC is the provincial capital city of Northern 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

A Census of Population and Housing is the most extensive undertaking in any country. The first Census of Population and Housing was undertaken in 1871 in Sri Lanka and thereafter a series of Censuses had been conducted in Sri Lanka. The Department of Census and Statistics (DCS) was able to conduct the 14th consecutive Population and Housing Census in Sri Lanka in 2012 after a lap of 31 years from 1981. This data is from the 2012 Housing survey. The graph indicates the typology of housing in the Jaffna MC Area. The majority of housing (around 96 per cent) comprises single story and two story houses.

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Types of housing

Source - Department of Census and Statistics

Shelter is a fundamental human right and housing is a people process and also the process of building the human civilization. From the prehistoric era, humans looked for shelter to protect against inclement weather conditions such as sunlight, rain, and wind and also to shield against animals. A Census of Population and Housing is the most extensive undertaking in any country. The first Census of Population and Housing was undertaken in 1871 in Sri Lanka and thereafter a series of Censuses had been conducted in Sri Lanka. The Department of Census and Statistics (DCS) was able to conduct the 14th consecutive Population and Housing Census in Sri Lanka in 2012 after a lap of 31 years from 1981. This data is from the 2012 Housing survey. The graph indicate that in Jaffna municipal council almost 91.6 per cent of the houses were permanent.

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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. 

Regulatory Services (Applications average per month)

Source - Jaffna Municipal Council

The Municipal council receive different types of applications. Considering the monthly average of the received applications, the highest amount of applications are received to obtain trade license. minimum number of applications are received for Environmental protection license. Currently there is no mechanism to submit online applications for this services. It further states roughly how many days it takes for the local authority to provide those various services. As an example Jaffna MC takes 30 days to deliver or issue building permit. Detailed information is available for download.

Download data file here

Heavy vehicles and equipment owned by local authority

Source - Jaffna Municipal Council

Uplifting the people’s living standards is a prominent task as well as a requirement of any country. Sri Lanka also attempts to acquire a higher level of living standard of people in the field of economic, social, and cultural development. In the process, it is a preeminent contribution in minimizing regional disparities, contributing to national economic development, and strengthening the democratic process that has been shown by the Provincial Councils and the Local Government system in the country. Local Government ministry has provided allocation for the strengthening of low-income generated Local Authorities to improve infrastructure facilities and furnish essential machines and equipment. Especially, more allocations have been provided for selected local authorities, which are facing many difficulties in carrying out day-to-day maintenances due to insufficient income levels. As a capital city of Northern province when it considering Jaffna MC it has heavy vehicles and equipment including Road rollers, excavators, and fire engines according to 2018 data. These types of equipment are used in municipal council monitored development activates. There are no motor graders available in the MC. considering the amount of ongoing and proposed development activities, it is recommended to improve the related facilities with equipment. Ministry has given distinctive attention to the current world-challenged problem of Solid Waste and has taken measures to introduce an appropriate Solid Waste Management mechanism. In Jaffna MC there are 7 Gully emptiers available in 2018 according to local authority data.

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Water Supply maintained by Local Authority

Source - Department of Local Government,Nothern Province

The Jaffna Peninsula falling within the dry zone in Sri Lanka is underlain by Miocene limestone that is considered to have appropriate aquifer properties for groundwater storage and discharge. Groundwater is the main source of water in the Jaffna District. The absence of perennial rivers or major water supply schemes to the Peninsula highlights the importance of groundwater as the predominant water resource for domestic, industrial, and agricultural use. The Chunnakam aquifer in the Valikamam area is the main limestone aquifer of the Jaffna Peninsula. The Jaffna Peninsula has altogether four main aquifer systems, namely Chunnakam in Valikamam area (mentioned above), Thenmaratchi, Vadamaratchi, and Kayts, of which the Valikamam area is intensively cultivated in the Jaffna Peninsula As the agriculture in the district is dependent on groundwater sources, crops and other plantations are irrigated using agro-wells in most of the farms (Source: IWMI). After three decades of war, the population in the district is now increasing and rapid developments are also taking place. People in Jaffna are now returning to their normal lives and have commenced agricultural activities once again. Water needs are thus also increasing rapidly.

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Workers related to road sector

Source - Jaffna Municipal Council

There are permanent and casual workers in the road sector in the MC. in year 2018, the majority of them are permanent workers. Considering the available road length by type of road, there are 7.7 Km A class roads, 55.5 Km B class roads and 75.5Km C lass roads in the MC. Also there are 158 km rural roads. Available workers are responsible in maintaining the road network.

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Workers related to Sanitation sector

Source - Jaffna Municipal Council

The majority of the available sanitation-related workers in the MC are permanent in the year 2018. the workers are responsible for all the cleaning and maintaining sanitation-related services in the MC. the permanent as well as casual workers in the MC are supporting the services to be maintained at an efficient level.

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Solid Waste Generation and Collection

Source - IWMI Publication - Solid and Liquid Waste Management and Resource Recovery in Sri Lanka: A 20 city analysis

SW collection within the Jaffna MC limits is daily from house to house by collection vehicles organized according to respective collecting zones. In narrow road areas where collection vehicles cannot pass, the waste is collected by handcarts. There is also a ‘kerbside’ system with waste bins on pavements. A stationed collection system for mixed waste also available in the MC area. From large shops and large restaurants, waste is collected twice per week. MC has imposed a waste tax of 230 LKR per 200 L barrel on those private entities; while garden waste is collected for 575 LKR per 1 load of the tractor as per the requests from residents (JICA, 2016). SW collected from the hotel sector which is mostly the food waste, amounts to approximately 3 tons per day. The collection service is also provided to hospitals located in the city including Jaffna teaching hospital, private hospitals such as Apollo hospital and Yaal hospital.


Waste Generation Amount

Source - Data Collection Survey on Solid Waste Management -JICA

This data was collected under a survey on "solid waste management" by JICA. The wast generation amount was calculated based on the waste generation rate obtained by the University of Peradeniya. according to the results, the municipal waste generation amount in Jaffna MC is 104.87 tons/day and the waste generation rate is 1.297 kg/person/day. In the Jaffna MC, the kerbside collection system with waste bins and the stationed collection system for mixed waste have been implemented thus far. Mixed waste from residents, which is stored in the waste collection bins, is discharged on the curb and collected by collection vehicles. Large amounts of waste generated by large shops and large restaurants, etc., are stored in 100 liter or 200-liter barrels and are collected door to door by collection vehicle.

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Service Maintaned by Local Authority

Source - Department of Local Government,Nothern Province

The above data describes the services provided by the Local Authority. It further states how many centers there are for services such as markets, clinics, dispensaries, ayurvedic hospitals, fairs, commercial stalls, wastewater treatment plants, cemeteries, etc. Figures for the number of such centers within the limits of the Jaffna Municipal Council in the years 2016, 2017, and 2018 are given here. A significant change in these three years is the huge increase in the number of business stalls in 2018.

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Source - Department of Census and Statistics

Jaffna MC Area has extremely high coverage of water services with 98.9 per cent having access to safe drinking water but only 90 per cent of electrification coverage.

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Solid waste composition

Source - Data Collection Survey on Solid Waste Management - JICA

The municipal waste collected by the Jaffna MC is disposed of at the Kallundai disposal site nearby the abandoned salt field in Valikamam-South West PS. The Kallundai disposal site has been in operation since 2002 and is shared by the Jaffna MC, Valikamam-South West PS, and Nallur PS. The operation of the Kallundai disposal site, such as recording of collection vehicle data and moving of disposed waste by heavy machinery is conducted by the PHDE and the Engineering Works department of the Jaffna MC. The disposal amount at the disposal site is 113.1 ton/day (Jaffna 102.2 ton/day, Valikamam-South West PS:3.1 ton/day, Nallur PS: 7.8 ton/day) according to the records at the gate. The area of the current disposal site is approximately 10 hectares, and the site has not been officially approved for use as a disposal site by the three LAs since 2002. The above chart has mentioned the results of the locally outsourced survey on waste composition in the Kallundai Disposal site is given as waster composition in Jaffna MC in the year 2015.

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Solid waste collection and disposal (Per day)

Source - JICA

Almost 58.8 per cent households were covered for garbage collection, around 40 per cent households burning, burying or open dumping their garbage.


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.

Annual rainfall at observation station

Source - Department of Meteorology

The dry zone of Sri Lanka in the north and east of the island and this region is affected by the North-East monsoon (December to March) and the southwest monsoon (June to October). It is thought to be dry because most of the rains fall during the North-East monsoon season. Annual rainfall is 1,250 mm in the North West and Southeast of the Inland. It has two rainy seasons: South West Monsoon - May to August and North-East Monsoon- November to February. The annual values of rainfall from 2008 to 2013 are reflected here. The Jaffna Observatory station calculates rainfall in the area separately for each month (seen in the graph below). More information can be downloaded from the following detailed statistics.

Download data file here

Annual average air temperature at observation stations

Source - Department of Meteorology

Sri Lanka enjoys a typical monsoonal climate. The Northern Province tends to be hot and dry in the dry season (February to September), and moderately cool and wet in the wet season (October to January). The province's climate is the tropical kind and therefore during monsoons, there is always the chance of a deluge. In the lowlands the climate is typically tropical with the average temperature is around 28° to 30° for the year. However, on the whole, January is the coolest month and May is the hottest month. Relative humidity varies from 70% during the day to 90% at night. The annual values of air temperature from 2006 to 2013 presented here show that the fluctuations are within 28 degrees Celcius. The Jaffna Observatory station collects & calculates air temperature in the area for each month. More information can be downloaded from the following detailed statistics.

Download data file here

Monthly Average Rainfall and Temperature

Source - Department of Meteorology

Data is on Average rainfall and temperature in the Jaffna area. the graph further elaborates the patterns and correlation between the values. In Jaffna, located in the north-western tip of the country, the weather is hot all year round. Being that the summer monsoon is very weak, the heat remains intense even in summer. In Jaffna, 1,300 mm (51 inches) of rainfall per year, but the rains are really abundant only from October to December. In the north-west, the sun often shines from January to May, while in the rest of the year, all in all, the sun is seen for a decent number of hours, both in the summer (where it rarely rains, but there's still some cloudiness due to the south-west monsoon) and at the end of the year (when the north-east monsoon brings abundant rainfall, but otherwise the sun shines).

Length of canals by its type

Source - Jaffna Municipal Council

The Jaffna Peninsula is situated in the Northern extreme of Sri Lanka. It is geographically confined to the North and East by the Indian Ocean and the West by the Palk Strait, and the Southern areas extend into the mainland of the country. The Jaffna District covers an area of 1,023 square kilometers (km2) that includes inland waters. The district is predominantly an agricultural area with a high potential for the cultivation of commercial crops that include red onions, chilies, potatoes, tobacco, vegetables, bananas, and grapes. Thadchayini and Thiruchelvam (2005) reported that agriculture is the main source of livelihood for 65% of the population, and about 34.2% of the land is cultivated commercially with high-value cash crops. According to the above paper, about 65,400 families and 30,000 farm laborers are involved in agriculture and livestock in the Jaffna District.Many farmers in the Jaffna region use hose-fed irrigation which requires more water than other types of irrigation. A switchover from hose-fed irrigation to less water-intensive sprinkler irrigation could drastically reduce groundwater extraction.

Climate risk exposure (1974-2017)

Source - Disaster Management Center

Data from the Government of Sri Lanka’s (GoSL) Disaster Management Centre (DMC) shows that over the past 35 years, cumulatively millions of urban residents have been affected by flooding, landslides, droughts, and cyclones; hundreds have perished. Floods and landslides have caused by far the most fatalities, accounting for 369 deaths between 1974 and 2017 in Sri Lanka’s 9 Provincial Capital cities. Overall, floods appear to be the greatest climate risk, affecting over 4 million people and leading to the deaths of 234 people in the reference period. Droughts have also impacted urban populations by presenting challenges in accessing safe water. Climate risk varies spatially across the 9 Provincial Capitals and is closely related to the distribution of rainfall across Sri Lanka. In this regard, the distribution of cities across the tropical island’s three climatic zones impacts their exposure to risk. The wet zone, which includes Kandy, Ratnapura, Galle, and Colombo, receives high mean annual rainfall (over 2500 mm) and does not have a pronounced dry season; these areas are more exposed to floods and landslides. In contrast, the city of Jaffna, which is located in the Dry Zone, receives far less rainfall and is exposed to drought. In 2014, below-average rainfall was recorded for much of the year. This led to a drought that affected 1,783 households in the city, according to the DMC database. The 2017 drought was also related to below-average rainfall and affected 367 people in the city. Occasionally, however, heavy rains strike Jaffna: in 2015, for example, nearly 800 mm of rain fell in the city, with severe flooding causing damage to property. This graph reflects that with data for Jaffna, shows that from 1974 to 2017, risk exposure was mostly with flood and drought.

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Flood Data

Source - Disaster Management Center

Urban area in Jaffna is frequently affected due to flood. Considering the records from 2012 to 2017, except the year 2013, flood situations are records. Still in district level, there is a minor scale flood recorded in 2013 which statistics are given as 9 houses damaged. It is important that there are no any records on deaths due to flood in MC area. In district level, there are recorded deaths due to flood as in 2012 – 2 people, 2015 – 3 people and in 2017 – 1 person.

Thematic maps


 Jaffna Municipal area: Jaffna Municipal Council covers an area of 1910 hectares. (Data Source _ Urban Development Authority)  Download Map Here     Download Data Layer Here


Map of Distribution of Grama Niladhari Divisions in Jaffna Administrative Limits: The ethnic / sex / age composition in the Jaffna Municipal Council area, detailed for each of its 47 Grama Niladhari Divisions. (Data Source _ Department of Census and Statistics)   Download Map Here      Download Data Layer Here


Road Map of Jaffna Municipal Council: The road map for JMC has more information with name of roads, which can be accessed if downloaded. This information has been updated in 2018.(Data Source _ SoSLC Project)  Download Map Here     Download Data Layer Here


Map of buildings belonging to Jaffna Municipal Council: This map is created using the information that has been updated in 2018.(Data Source _ SoSLC Project)  Download Map Here      Download Data Layer Here


Forecasted sea level rise and impacts on land use in Jaffna City for next 100 years: Jaffna city is situated in the coastal region, and very vulnerable to sea levels rise caused by climate change. The data presented here is based on forecasts by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The impact area is specified separately with its land use.(Data Source _ IPCC & SoSLC Project)  Download Map Here      Download Data Layer Here


Map of Health Institutions belonging to Jaffna Municipal Council: This map is created using the information that has been updated using opensorce base 2018.(Data Source _ SoSLC Project)  Download Map Here      Download Data Layer Here


Map of Public Spaces belonging to Jaffna Municipal Council:  This map is created using the information that has been updated using opensorce base 2018.(Data Source _ SoSLC Project)  Download Map Here      Download Data Layer Here


Map of Distribution of Grama Niladhari Divisions in Jaffna District:
The ethnic / sex / age composition in the Jaffna District, detailed for each of its 436 Grama Niladhari Divisions. (Data Source: Survey Department)  Download Map Here       Download Data Layer Here  


Flood Northern Province Nov / Dec 2008: WESSA or “VAE for Sri Lanka: a Satellite-based flood Analysis” supports the World Bank and Sri Lankan authorities through satellite based EO products as an input for the WB “Climate Resilient Program”. WESSA is a project of nazka mapps and RSS, carried out in the frame of VAE programme and funded by the European Space Agency. The project has facilitated by GFDRR on request of Disaster Management Centre. 4 historical flood events (May 2010, Dec 2007, Nov/Dec 2008 & May 2003).  Download Map Here       Download Data Layer Here

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SoSLC project, IPPC
SoSLC project, IPPC
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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
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The Jaffna Municipal Council covers an area of ​​1910 hectares and 47 Grama Niladhari Divisions within its limits. (For detailed information, please refer to the thematic maps section under the City Information page)


The Jaffna Municipal area, known as the capital city of Northern Province, has 4044.5 hectares of built-up land area, which covers 79.2% of the total land area. Non built-up land  (369 ha) is just 20.9%.


The built-up land has been categorized under six main categories like residential, commercial, institutional, industrial, transport, public space, cultural and under construction. Non-built-up land has been divided into six sub-categories as agriculture, water, forest, wetlands, coastal areas and barren lands. The built-up land is again divided into 30 subsections. (More information on the respective land use is listed below with charts and land area)


For commercial, industrial and institutional purposes, 48.3 hectares, 7.6 hectares and 107.5 hectares of land are occupied (2.5%, 0.4% and 5.6% of the total land area respectively)


Download data layer here 

SoSLC project
1514.34 (ha)
  • High Rise
    • 1.10
    Low Rise
    • 988.52
    • 2.45
  • Retail
    • 58.49
    • 15.05
    Mixed Retail-Residential
    • 45.49
    • 2.75
  • Education
    • University 1.94
    • Other higher edu. 7.43
    • School 50.48
    • Hospital 8.21
    • Dispensary 2.28
    • 34.17
  • Factory
    • 7.59
  • Bus Terminus
    • 1.16
    Rail Terminus
    • 5.05
    • 1.56
    • 0.17
    • 5.98
    • 154.01
  • Park/Square
    • 16.84
    • 32.38
    • 4.28
  • Religious
    • Temple/Shrine 27.03
    • Church 16.87
    • Mosque 1.17
    • 16.38
    • 5.51
SoSLC project
396.26 (ha)
    • 64.71
    • 26.32
    • 1.89
    • 2.27
    • 3.28
    • 29.04
    • 268.75


In all of the cities it can be identified that the higher densities are concentrated in the city centres and the expansion is taken place along the roads. The expansion pattern is shaped by the geography of the surrounding area.


The selection of the area for the urban expansion analysis was followed by several preliminary studies. Initially, the urban index values which was identified using the remote sensing information were studied in the respective municipal areas including a fringe area.
Before selecting interested area for the expansion analysis it should consider following facts
- Municipal boundary
- At least 2-3 km buffer around Municipal boundary
- Rough boundary where the physical urban character disappearing


In the remote sensing discipline, the values higher than 0 represent the built-up areas.The boundary for the fringe area was identified by getting the extent of urban expansion as well as a fine boundary where the high-density expansion become insignificant. The identified boundaries were projected on to the latest satellite images to assure the identified urban index values are in line with the existing building densities.



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Urban Distribution of Jaffna City (Changed during 1995 - 2017)


Jaffna, the capital of the Northern Province, is a city that has undergone significant changes in urbanization over the past two decades. These maps have attempted to give a clear idea of ​​how the urban expansion took place.


To identify the evolution of the construction sector that has taken place within the city limits over the years, the level of density is classified as high density and low density areas.


Satellite imagery is used for this purpose and detailed information on the steps taken during the mapping process can be found in these links. (Report on the Current Status of Cities in Sri Lanka 2017 |  Spatial Data Analysis Section of the Annex and Information Systems Training Manual)


The data is presented in four sections, namely, Urban, Semi-Urban, Non built up, and Water within the Municipal Boundary Area of ​​Jaffna Municipality and beyond in the years 1995, 2001, 2012 and 2017. Further information is shown in below charts, by the number with the extent of square kilometers.


Within the municipal limits, the urban area has grown from 14.4% in 1995 to 18.6% in 2001, 29.8% in 2017 and 39.4% in 2017.


Concurrently, it can be concluded that the non-construction area has gradually declined from 40.9% in 1995 to 33.9% in 2001 to 16.8% in 2012 and to 3.8% in 2017.


According to the 2001 Census and Population Survey, the urban population in Jaffna is 80827. The land with construction that year was 1562 hectares. According to estimates, the population density of Jaffna town in 2012 was 51.7 (people per hectare).


According to projections, the number of people living in the city of Jaffna in the year 2017 is 94,000 and the built up for that year is 1811 hectares. According to estimates, the population density of Jaffna city in the year 2017 was 52 (people per hectare). The population may be gradually increasing but there is no clear change in the population density. that is because of increasing the built up lands.


Download data layer here

Urban expansion statistics
SoSLC project
Jaffna Municipal Council ( km 2 )
Overall Growth rate 1995 - 2017 4.8%
Urban change 1995 - 2017 5.01
TOTAL AOI 118.79
    • 1995
      • Total Municipality 19.12
      • Urban 2.76
      • Semi-Urban 8.27
      • Non-Built 7.82
      • Water 0.27
    • 2001
      • Total Municipality 19.12
      • Urban 3.56
      • Semi-Urban 8.81
      • Non-Built 6.48
      • Water 0.27
    • 2012
      • Total Municipality 19.1
      • Urban 5.7
      • Semi-Urban 9.92
      • Non-Built 3.21
      • Water 0.27
    • 2017
      • Total Municipality 19.11
      • Urban 7.53
      • Semi-Urban 10.58
      • Non-Built 0.73
      • Water 0.27
    • 1995
      • Total Fringe 99.66
      • Urban 0.27
      • Semi-Urban 27.15
      • Non-Built 50.93
      • Water 21.31
    • 2001
      • Total Fringe 99.68
      • Urban 0.35
      • Semi-Urban 31.47
      • Non-Built 46.55
      • Water 21.31
    • 2012
      • Total Fringe 99.67
      • Urban 0.64
      • Semi-Urban 38.21
      • Non-Built 39.51
      • Water 21.31
    • 2017
      • Total Fringe 99.68
      • Urban 0.98
      • Semi-Urban 40.79
      • Non-Built 36.6
      • Water 21.31