World Bank says Sri Lanka urbanisation higher than estimated

 

Sep 29, 2015 (LBO) – Urbanisation in Sri Lanka is higher than officially estimated with almost half the population living in urban areas, a senior World Bank official said.

“Urbanization in island is close to 50 percent like the rest of world,” Ede Jorge Ijjasz-Vasquez, senior director social, urban, rural and reliance global practice of the World Bank said.

He was speaking at launch of the Leveraging Urbanization in South Asia: Managing Spatial Transformation for Prosperity and Livability World Bank report in Colombo Tuesday.

Ijjasz-Vasquez says official statistics on urbanisation using narrow municipal limits to show urbanisation are very different from what the new World bank study has found.

“While statistics show only 14 percent of Sri Lankans live in cities and with municipal councils, when urban agglomeration units are considered about 47.1 percent of the people are urbanised,”

“So the country is far more urbanised than what the statistics may be saying.”

The report said that in Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, the implied official underestimations are particularly wide, suggesting “large hidden urbanization”.

That means sizable portions of the populations of south Asia are living in settlements that, “although they may exhibit urban characteristics, are governed  as rural areas,” the report said.

“In the most extreme case of Sri Lanka, (new data) shows that as much as one-third of its entire population may be living in unrecognized urban settlements.”