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MP Gammanpila messes up the math on demographic change

28 Nov 2019 - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}      



In the above statement, MP Gammanpila makes two claims: that (i) the Muslim (Sri Lankan Moor) population will exceed 12% of the total population in the next 10 years (i.e. by 2029); and (ii) the Sinhala population is declining and is under threat of extinction by the rapid growth of the Muslim population. 

The MP’s claim is based on the growth of the Sri Lankan Sinhalese and Moors, in the under 5 age group (born during 2008-2012) relative to the 5-9 age group (born during 2003-2007). 
This fact check uses the data and basis presented by the MP to determine if his claim can be substantiated. That means it overlooks some small discrepancies in the MP’s data vs. published statistics; and ignores concerns about the MP’s methodological approach – which has received significant discussion in the media.

Based on the precise numbers given by the MP, the growth rates for the 5-year cohort born in 2008-2012 compared to 2003-2007 are 0.48% and 1.43% for the Sinhala and Moor population. That is equal to annual birth growth rates of 0.096% and 0.284% respectively. An annual population death rate of 0.6% was applied based on last available census data. The growth of other populations was set at zero, which favours the MP’s claim. Using these parameters FactCheck calculated the Sinhala and Moor population growth post-2012. 

This calculation, on the MP’s own data and basis, results in the Moors accounting for 12% of the total population only in 50 years (in 2069) and not in 10 years (in 2029) as the MP claimed.  The math, on the MP’s data and basis, does not allow for the Sinhala population becoming extinct, as the MP claims. It results in the Moor population even catching up to the size of the Sinhala population only in 1,111 years (in 3130).

This means there is a huge mismatch between the data and basis presented by the MP, and the demographic conclusions that he derives from them.

Therefore, we classify his statement as BLATANTLY FALSE.

FactCheck is a platform run by Verité Research. 
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