Sri Lankans are actually getting richer all the time, and are even becoming able to save a bit. Average household income was Rs. 881 in 1980 and is 36,451 according to the latest data, 2010. People who hark back to the good old days of colonial administration are quite mad. There simply wasn’t much to administer. Life has undoubtably gotten better since Independence, but still not yet enough.
According to the poverty measure they use, 8.9% of people are thus poor now, compared to 26.1% in 1990. Which is remarkable, unless you note that people are still spending a lot on food. As people get actual wealth, they usually spend less (as a percentage) on food, and more on protein. Sri Lanka isn’t really following that law.
For more on that issue check out my dad’s article in LBO, from whence I discovered this data. I just put this graph up as a teaser. There’s good up to date info on everything in the 2009/10 Household Income and Expenditure Survey Report (HISE) and I’ll try to put up an infographic soon.