Sri Lanka: Northern Province has a higher GDP per capita income than Pakistan and Bangladesh

I decided to compare the Northern Province of Sri Lanka with Pakistan and Bangladesh on my Quora blog.

Figures taken from local currency sources, except for Bangladesh, and converted by me for consistency.

GDP Per Capita (2012, latest available data for NP, April 2012 US$[1] )

Northern Province of Sri Lanka: US$1769.64 (226992 LKR)[2] (US$2444.15 all-island[3])

Pakistan: US$1450.87 [4]

Bangladesh: US$1,538[5]

A lot of people may be surprised to find out that the inhabitants of the war-torn Northern Province are actually richer than the peoples of Pakistan and Bangladesh. It’s even more-so surprising considering the scarcity of any major companies based in NP and the lack of an highly-educated class (as they were the first to flee).

The NP is an area dominated by Tamils. The region was historically home to Tamils as an extension of Tamil lands spreading from Mainland India. It suffered badly under the hands of Tamil separatists and much of its economically privileged fled to other areas. It’s frequently classed as in-need of support for development.

I would personally like to see some integration between India and Sri Lanka, though I obviously want to keep the economic security of Sri Lankans in consideration and I do not want to expose Sri Lanka to any racist politics from North India (nor their Pro-Muslim political corruption). I hope for freedom-of-movement someday.

The data was taken from 2012 since I couldn’t find more recent published data on the economic situation of NP. I used the 2012 data for Pakistan and Bangladesh for the purpose of consistency, using exchange rates from the 1st April 2012.

It’s only recently that the NP has started to develop from the damage caused by the Civil War, so I can only presume that the situation is markedly better now. The NP is growing at a rate of 12.1%, compared to just for a figure less than 4.8% for Pakistan and around 7% for Bangladesh.

The Northern Province is still in dire need of economic development. I gather that the region lacks basic infrastructure due to destruction during the Civil War. I also gather that the region completely lacks high-quality jobs too. I worry that the GDP per Capita figures may not tell the full story.

I would also like to point out that the GDP PPP Conversion Factor (to US$) calculated by the UN’s World Bank suggests that cost-of-living (how far a US$ would stretch) may be similar for Sri Lankans (0.3) compared to Bangladesh (0.4) and Pakistan (0.3). The NP is likely to be cheaper.

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[1] XE Currency Table: USD — US Dollar




[5] Bangladesh’s GDP per person is now higher than Pakistan’s