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Statistics pertaining to Births, Deaths, Marriages, Divorces and Population are compiled andpublished by the Registrar General’s Department inits annual reports. Vital statistics cover the entire Island.


The collection of birth and death statistics commenced in 1867 and annual figures are available since 1867. These statistics are compiled at the Statistics Branch of the Registrar General’s Department from the birth and death returns furnished by the Registrars of Births and Deaths. These statistics are by place of occurrence and date of registration and some data are tabulated by Place of Residence and Date of Occurrence as well.


The collection of statistics on diseases commenced in 1880 and has been published annually from 1911. These statistics have been compiled in accordance with the International List of Cause of Death (3rd Revision). 4th Revision of the list was adopted in 1933 and the 5th Revision in 1943. The International Classification of Diseases of the WHO (6th Revision) was adopted in 1950, followed by 7th Revision from 1969, 8th Revision from 1974 and the 9th Revision from 1980. 10th revision of the classification (ICD 10) was adopted in 1996.


Maternal deaths are extracted from the Civil Registration System in Sri Lanka which was established for the purpose of registering vital events mainly births and deaths. Registration of vital events is carried out by Medical Registrars appointed in Proclaimed Areas and by lay registrars in other Registrar Divisions.

                As defined in the 10th revision of International Classification of Diseases of the WHO, maternal death is the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy,irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management but not from accidental or incidental causes.

                Difficulties lie with the recognition and classification of maternal deaths which causes nonidentification of maternal deaths. This can be attributed to the following reasons:

  1. non-registration or non-receipt of document of maternal deaths at the Registrar General’s Department
  2. Incomplete or inaccurate reporting of the causes of death in the death certificates
  3. Errors in the coding of cause of death either due to insufficient details in the death registration documents or erroneous coding

Therefore, in order to improve the accuracy and completeness of maternal mortality statistics, information received from civil registration system is reviewed and was supplemented with the maternal mortality data compiled by the Family Health Bureau, Ministry of Health. This adjustment process which was initiated in 2009 has caused an increase in the Maternal Mortality Rate from 14.2 in 2006 to 22.26 in 2009. This should therefore not be interpreted as an increase of maternal deaths but be construed as an improvement to the quality and completeness of coverage of maternal deaths.


These statistics cover all registered marriages under the General, Kandyan and Muslim Law and have been collected and published since 1867 annually.


All rates are based on the mid - year estimates of population made by the Registrar General’s Department.

Live Births
Foetal, Infant and Maternal Mortality