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Paradigm Shifts in Demographic Components in the New Millennium and Possible Implications: A Case Study of Sri Lanka

Authors:

W. Indralal De Silva ,

University of Colombo, LK
About W. Indralal
Emeritus Professor of Demography
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Ranjith De Silva,

Sri Lanka College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, LK
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W. S. M. Goonatilaka

University of Kelaniya, LK
About W. S. M.
Insurance Manager, Social Security Board
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Abstract

This paper, using Demographic and Health Surveys, population censuses, and results of two population projections, attempts assess future population dynamics of Sri Lanka. Since the turn of the new millennium, fertility demonstrated an increasing trend where the average number of live births per woman increased from 1.9 in 1995-2000 to 2.4 in 2012. Although there was an increase in life expectancy of both sexes, after the cessation of civil war in 2009, male life expectancy increased significantly. At the same time departures of labour migrants dropped from 300,000 in 2014 to 200,000 in 2019. As per the population projection of 2015, which captured fertility upturn, the size of the population of the country was expected to increase significantly to 24 and 25 million by 2032 and 2042 respectively. On the other hand, the population projection of 2007, which did not capture the fertility upturn, indicated that the country was reaching population stability by the early 2030s with a population even below 22 million. However, with the increase in fertility and life expectancy, and drop in labour migration, significant growth of the country’s population is now expected to be eminent. The aging process and the unexpected fertility upturn have contributed to overall dependency on these increases significantly, which would generate more pressure on the working age population and the State. It is not only that Sri Lanka at present stands at the last phase of the demographic dividend, other factors required for economic take-off such as political stability, investment, savings, and productivity, also not demonstrating an adequate improvement to harness this window of opportunity. Failing to implement appropriate policies and programmes, the rapid growth of the population and aging would also create serious socio-economic and environmental issues in the near future.
How to Cite: De Silva, W.I., De Silva, R. and Goonatilaka, W.S.M., 2020. Paradigm Shifts in Demographic Components in the New Millennium and Possible Implications: A Case Study of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Journal of Advanced Social Studies, 10(2), pp.96–125. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljass.v10i2.7154
Published on 30 Dec 2020.
Peer Reviewed

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