The present study, undertaken as part of the background research for an evaluation of the Hambantota Integrated Rural Development Programme (HIRDEP), analyses the demographic characteristics and trends of Hambantota district (Ieading up to a set of population projections by age and sex 1981-2011), assesses how demographic variables were taken into account in the HIRDEP planning process and discusses the impact of HIRDEP on the demography of the district. The study highlights inter alia the implications of the ongoing demographic trends in terms of employment for young adults and welfare for the elderly, whose numbers are set to grow very rapidly in the coming 20 years.