The population of Sri Lanka in 2003 was estimated by the United Nations at 19,065,000, which placed it as number 53 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In that year approximately 6% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 27% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 107 males for every 100 females in the country in 2003. According to the UN, the annual population growth rate for 2000–2005 is 0.81%, with the projected population for the year 2015 at 20,640,000. The low growth rate is a result of concerted family planning programs. The population density in 2002 was 289 per sq km (748 per sq mi). About 50% of the population is concentrated in the southwestern quarter of the island.
It was estimated by the Population Reference Bureau that 24% of the population lived in urban areas in 2001. Colombo, the commercial capital and chief city, had a population of 690,000 in that year. Other urban centers are Dehiwala-Mt. Lavinia, 96,000; Moratuwa, 70,000; Jaffna, 129,000; Kotic, 109,000; and Kandy, 104,000. According to the United Nations, the urban population growth rate for 2000–2005 was 2.8%.