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Sri Lanka Census by Religion from 1881 to 2001
  1881 1891 1901 1911 1921 1931 1946 1953 1963 1971 1981 2001
Buddhist 1,698,100 1,877,000 2,141,400 2,474,200 2,769,800 3,266,600 4,294,900 5,209,400 7,003,300 8,536,800 10,288,300 13,085,435
Hindu 593,600 615,900 826,800 938,300 982,100 1,166,900 1,320,400 1,610,500 1,958,400 2,238,600 2,297,800 2,600,890
Muslim 197,800 212,000 246,100 283,600 312,500 354,200 436,600 541,500 724,000 901,700 1,121,700 1,747,428
RC/Christian 268,000 302,100 349,200 409,200 443,400 518,100 603,200 724,400 884,900 1,004,300 1,130,600 1,415,045
Other 2,300 700 2,400 1,100 800 1,000 2,300 11,900 11,400 8,200 8,300 10,197
TOTAL 2,759,800 3,007,700 3,565,900 4,106,400 4,508,600 5,306,800 6,657,400 8,097,700 10,582,000 12,689,600 14,846,700 18,858,995
Computation of approximate population figures for missing provinces 2001
1981 census Buddhist Hindu Muslim RC/Christian Other
Jaffna 5,104 705,705 14,844 104766 133
Mullaitivu 1,060 60,117 3,789 12211 22
Kilinochchi          
Mannar 3,363 28,885 29,161 44689 137
Vavuniya 15,754 65,574 6,740 7338 22
Batticaloa 9,127 218,812 78,810 23499 85
Trincomalee 82,602 80,843 76,404 15583 516
Total 117,010 1,159,936 209,748 208,086 915
2001 census 12,936,704 1,329,020 1,431,044 1,158,683 9,093
Est 2001 13,085,435 2,600,890 1,747,428 1,415,045 10,197
Growth (percentage increase or decrease per Census year) from 1881 to 2001
Religion 1881 1891 1901 1911 1921 1931 1946 1953 1963 1971 1981 2001
Buddhist   10.54% 14.09% 15.54% 11.95% 17.94% 31.48% 21.29% 34.44% 21.90% 20.52% 27.19%
Hindu   3.76% 34.24% 13.49% 4.67% 18.82% 13.15% 21.97% 21.60% 14.31% 2.64% 13.19%
Muslim   7.18% 16.08% 15.24% 10.19% 13.34% 23.26% 24.03% 33.70% 24.54% 24.40% 55.78%
RC/Christian   12.72% 15.59% 17.18% 8.36% 16.85% 16.43% 20.09% 22.16% 13.49% 12.58% 25.16%
Other   -69.57% 242.86% -54.17% -27.27% 25.00% 130.00% 417.39% -4.20% -28.07% 1.22% 22.86%
8.98% 18.56% 15.16% 9.79% 17.70% 25.45% 21.63% 30.68% 19.92% 17.00% 27.02%
Growth (percentage increase or decrease from 1881) from 1881 to 2001
Religion 1881 1891 1901 1911 1921 1931 1946 1953 1963 1971 1981 2001 Avg/Year
Buddhist   10.54% 26.11% 45.70% 63.11% 92.37% 152.92% 206.78% 312.42% 402.73% 505.87% 670.59% 5.59%
Hindu   3.76% 39.29% 58.07% 65.45% 96.58% 122.44% 171.31% 229.92% 277.12% 287.10% 338.16% 2.82%
Muslim   7.18% 24.42% 43.38% 57.99% 79.07% 120.73% 173.76% 266.03% 355.86% 467.09% 783.43% 6.53%
RC/Christian   12.72% 30.30% 52.69% 65.45% 93.32% 125.07% 170.30% 230.19% 274.74% 321.87% 428.00% 3.57%
Other   -69.57% 4.35% -52.17% -65.22% -56.52% 0.00% 417.39% 395.65% 256.52% 260.87% 343.35% 2.86%
8.98% 29.21% 48.79% 63.37% 92.29% 141.23% 193.42% 283.43% 359.80% 437.96% 583.35% 4.86%
NOTE: Census for Jaffna, Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi was not conducted in 2001. Census for Mannar, Vavuniya, Batticaloa, & Trincomalee were partially conducted for 2001
This factor distorts the correct population figures for Muslims and Hindus living in the Northern and Eastern provinces and hence shows a decline in Hindu population and a
much lower Muslim population than the actual. The percentage of Buddhists in these two provinces is quite insignificant to affect the Buddhist total.
Approximate estimated values for the missing provinces have been computed above, based on the 1981 census and the % increase from the previous census