Sabaragamuwa is located in South-West Sri Lanka. It is composed of two landlocked districts: Ratnapura and Kegalle. Its capital is Ratnapura. The Provincial Council recognizes Sinhalese, Tamil and English as its official languages.


In 2016, the population of Ratnapura was 1,140,000 (562,000 men and 578,000 women) and 869,000 (414,000 men and 455,000 women) in Kegalle.The overall population was 2,009,000 for the province.  

Kegalle and Ratnapura have a medium population density with respectively 499 and 366 inhabitants per square kilometre.

The Census of Population and Housing conducted in 2012 provides detailed information on Sabaragamuwa province and its districts:

6 percent of the province’s population live in urban areas, 85 percent in rural areas and 9 percent in estate sectors.

86.4 percent of Sabaragamuwa’s population have Sinhalese origins, while 9.2 percent are of Tamil descent and 4.3 percent of Moor descent. In terms of religion, 85.7 percent are Buddhists, 8.1 percent are Hindus, and 4.4 percent are Muslims.

The literacy rate is 94.8 percent and 19.9 percent of the people are computer literate.


The province economy distinguishes itself with tea and rubber plantations, their important processing industry, as well as mining and quarrying industries.

The provincial GDP in 2015 amounted to Rs 781,112 million. It contributed to 7 percent of Sri Lanka’s GDP.

The agriculture sector made Rs 70,163 million, industries Rs 192,065 million and services Rs 463,300 million in 2015.

The agriculture sector employs 35.3 percent of the province’s working population. 29.1 percent works in the industry sector and 35.6 percent in the services sector.  

The mean household income per month is Rs 40,375 and the mean per capita income per month is Rs. 10,718

The unemployment rate in 2015 was 5.9 percent. It was 8.3 percent in the Kegalle district.  

The poverty rate in 2013 was 8.8 percent.  


Marshal Perera is the Governor of Sabaragamuwa since January 2015. The Chief Secretary of the Provincial council is Herath P. Kularathna.

Mahiepala Herath is Chief Minister since 2004. He is affiliated to the United People’s Freedom Alliance, a centre-left wing political alliance. Before 2004, he held responsibilities at the national level; he was Deputy Minister of Housing and Construction and Rural Industries Development Minister.

Provincial Council elections are to be held later on this year.

Further Readings:

Heritage of Sabaragamuwa: major natural, cultural, and historic sites (2002) Sabaragamuwa Development Bank

Sri Lanka in the Modern Age: A History of Contested Identities (2006) Wickramasinghe Nira, University of Hawaii Press

Historical Dictionary of Sri Lanka (2015) Peebles Patrick, Rowman & Littlefield