Since the end of the war in 2009, the proportion of poor people in Langes has more than halved, from 9 percent to 4 percent in 2017. In other social considerations such as income level, literacy, childhood mortality and life expectancy, Sri Lanka is well placed in a regional comparison. One problem is that the assets are unevenly distributed.
The fact that the social conditions are relatively good for a developing country reflects long-standing government investment in education and health care.
- Countryaah Official Site: Official statistics for population in Sri Lanka, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.
The poor are found mainly in the countryside, as well as in the Tamil-dominated northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka, which were ravaged most by the civil war. Poverty comes with malnutrition. About one in five children weigh less than they should.
There is no comprehensive social insurance system, but old-age pensioners and people with disabilities receive a lump sum from the state. Social assistance can be provided for the needy, but the amounts paid are low. Those who have a formal employment pay for an insurance policy that provides more benefits. Public employees are covered by a special pension system.
Sri Lanka has a fairly effective healthcare system. Health care is free of charge and there are relatively many hospitals. This has resulted in relatively low child mortality and a high life expectancy.
However, a number of problems remain. There is a shortage of trained healthcare personnel, especially doctors and nurses. Congestion causes infectious diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and brain inflammation to spread. The civil war’s many thousands injured and disabled cause an increased burden on health care.
The civil war between 1983 and 2009 contributed to increased crime. Many violent men were soldiers deserted from the army or the guerrillas.
The caste system permeates the Lankan society. Social order and status are important. The caste system creates a strict social ranking where everyone from birth is considered to have a given place. In the home, the father or the eldest man is regarded as the head. The manager of a workplace has obvious authority, as do older people and members of superior castes.
The caste system means that different groups of people largely devote themselves to different professions. Sinhalese are often government employees, while Tamils are more engaged in trade. Among the lower castes there are groups that traditionally devote themselves to special crafts, such as carpet weavers or basket makers. However, the tradition is gradually loosened up: professions become less hereditary as more people receive formal schooling.
In general, class – which is more determined by the individual’s financial position – has begun to play a greater role. Class affiliation is mainly determined by the level of language and education, assets and social networks, rather than by an inherited role in the hierarchy.
A large majority of the Lankes live in the countryside. The dwelling houses are often white plastered and built to shut out the heat but let in air. Kitchens and washrooms are often located on the back of the house because it has traditionally been felt that it is important to keep away contaminants from visitors. Because religion has a great influence in daily life, many Buddhists and Hindus, and even Christians, have small altars in the home or outside in the courtyard.
The woman’s position is more equal than in many of the other countries in South Asia. Sri Lanka’s women were included in the universal suffrage that was introduced in 1931 and the country got the world’s first female prime minister in 1960. Girls attend school as much as boys and writing and reading skills are high even among women. It is quite common for women to work outside the home. The clothing industry mainly employs women, and among the hundreds of thousands of locals working abroad there are a large number of female maids. Many are also teachers or nurses.
However, unofficially, women are discriminated against both in the labor market and in the education system. In the home, it is largely only women who cook and care for the household. Rape and other violence against women are a major problem. Many of the women and girls who work as maids are treated poorly. Child prostitution is common. Violence and sexual harassment of women rarely lead to sentencing and punishment.
Traditionally, marriage is arranged in all ethnic groups, although it has become more common for young people to decide for themselves who they want to marry. Arranged marriages usually take place between people of the same caste and social status. After the marriage, the woman usually moves home to the husband’s family, but without cutting the ties to her own family. It is common to live many together. A large family can consist of several core families with their own households. The married age is on average around 25 years; child marriage has never been common in Sri Lanka.
Inheritance rights should be formally equal, but religious traditions sometimes prevail. Among Muslims, women inherit less than men. In general, it is also common for sons to inherit land, while daughters get any loose property.
Unlike some other countries in Asia, the ideal is to have a mixed litter, although sons here may also be slightly higher in course. For the first child, the first child may prefer to be a girl, since she can be expected to help care for little siblings. Children are otherwise everyone’s concern and are happy to be cared for and cared for by both women and men. With increasing age, children are given increased responsibility in the household and are expected to learn to show respect, modesty and self-control. When they reach school age, children are expected to invest in their studies and it is very common to have private lessons in addition to regular teaching.
FACTS – SOCIAL CONDITIONS
Infant Mortality: 6 per 1000 births (2018)
Percentage of HIV infected: 0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young women
0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young men: 0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of population with access to clean water: 92.3 percent (2015)
Proportion of the population having access to toilets: 95.8 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on health care as a percentage of GDP: 3.0 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on health care per person: US $ 153 (2016)
Proportion of women in parliament: 6 percent (2018)