Long untouched by the Lord's Resistance Army insurgency that ravaged Kitgum and Pader Districts to the north, the increased violence of 2002 resulted in massive population displacement within the district of Lira. However, as of June 2009, the security situation in the district was relatively peaceful. In 2006 and 2007, Lira District experienced a massive return of Internally Displaced Persons. Over 310,000 of the estimated 350,000 left camps to return to their home villages in a period of 14 months.
Lira District is part of Lango sub-region, which consists of the following districts: Alebtong, Amolatar, Apac, Dokolo, Lira, Kole, Otuke and Oyam. The sub-region is coterminus with the now defunct Lango District. Lango sub-region was home to an estimated 1.5 million Langi in 2002, according to the national census conducted at that time.
In 1991, the Uganda national population census estimated the population in the district at about 191,500. Eleven years later, the 2002 national population census, put the district population at about 290,600, with an annual population growth rate of 3.4%. In 2012, the population of Lira District was estimated at about 403,100. The table below attempts to demonstrate the district population growth estimates over the last 10 to 15 years. A new national population census is planned for in August 2014. The majority of the population are ethnic Langi and the predominant language spoken is Lwo.