Demographics of Ghana
The Demography of Ghana describes the condition and overview of Ghana's peoples. Demographic topics include basic education, health, and population statistics as well as identified racial and religious affiliations. This article is about the demographic features of the population of Ghana, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.
Demographic trends 
Ghana's first postindependence population census in 1961 counted about 6.7 million inhabitants. By 1970 the national census registered 8.5 million people, about a 27 percent increase, while the most recent official census in 1984 recorded a figure of 12.3 million—almost double the 1960 figure (see table 2, Appendix). The nation's population was estimated to have increased to about 15 million in 1990 and to an estimated 17.2 million in mid-1994. With an annual growth rate of 2.2 percent for the period between 1965 and 1980, a 3.4 percent growth rate for 1981 through 1989, and a 1992 growth rate of 3.2 percent, the country's population was projected to surpass 20 million by the year 2000 and 35 million by 2025.
Increasing population is reflected in other statistical representations as well. Between 1965 and 1989, a constant 45 percent of the nation's total female population was of childbearing age. The crude birth rate of 47 per 1,000 population recorded for 1965 dropped to 44 per 1,000 population in 1992. Also, the crude death rate of 18 per 1,000 population in 1965 fell to 13 per 1,000 population in 1992, while life expectancy rose from a 1970 to 1975 average of forty-two years for men and forty-five years for women to fifty-two and fifty-six years, respectively, in 1992. The 1965 infant mortality rate of 120 per 1,000 live births also improved to 86 per 1,000 live births in 1992. With the fertility rate averaging about seven children per adult female and expected to fall only to five children per adult female by the year 2000, the population projection of 35 million in 2025 becomes more credible. A number of factors, including improved vaccination against common diseases, and nutritional education through village and community health-care systems, contributed to the expanding population. The rise in the nation's population generated a corresponding rise in the demand for schools, health facilities, and urban housing.
The gender ratio of the population, 97.3 males to 100 females, was reflected in the 1984 figures of 6,063,848 males to 6,232,233 females (see fig. 5). This was slightly below the 1970 figure of 98 males to 100 females, but a reversal of the 1960 ratio of 102.2 males to 100 females. The fall in the proportion of males to females may be partly attributed to the fact that men have left the country in pursuit of jobs.
Also significant in the 1984 census figures was the national age distribution. About 58 percent of Ghana's population in 1984 was either under the age of twenty or above sixty-five. Approximately 7 million people were represented in this category, about 4 million of them under the age of ten and, therefore, economically unproductive. The large population of young, economically unproductive individuals appeared to be growing rapidly. In the early 1990s, about half of Ghana's population was under age fifteen. If the under-twenty group and those above the age of sixty are regarded as a dependent group, the social, political, and economic implications for the 1990s and beyond are as grave for Ghana as they are for sub-Saharan Africa as a whole.
Provisional figures from the 2010 Ghana census indicates that Ghana's population is now 24,223,431. This is made up of 12,421,770 females and 11,801,661 males.
Population distribution 
Population density increased steadily from thirty-six per square kilometer in 1970 to fifty-two per square kilometer in 1984; in 1990 sixty-three persons per square kilometer was the estimate for Ghana's overall population density. These averages, naturally, did not reflect variations in population distribution. For example, while the Northern Region, one of ten administrative regions, showed a density of seventeen persons per square kilometer in 1984, in the same year Greater Accra Region recorded nine times the national average of fifty-two per square kilometer. As was the case in the 1960 and 1970 figures, the greatest concentration of population in 1984 was to the south of the Kwahu Plateau. The highest concentration of habitation continued to be within the Accra-Kumasi-Takoradi triangle, largely because of the economic productivity of the region. In fact, all of the country's mining centers, timber-producing deciduous forests, and cocoa-growing lands lie to the south of the Kwahu Plateau. The Accra-Kumasi-Takoradi triangle also is conveniently linked to the coast by rail and road systems—making this area an important magnet for investment and labor.
By contrast, a large part of the Volta Basin was sparsely populated. The presence of tsetse flies, the relative infertility of the soil, and, above all, the scarcity of water in the area during the harmattan season affect habitation. The far north, on the other hand, was heavily populated. The eighty-seven persons to a square kilometer recorded in the 1984 census for the Upper East Region, for example, was well above the national average. This may be explained in part by the somewhat better soil found in some areas and the general absence of the tsetse fly; however, onchocerciasis, or river blindness, a fly-borne disease, is common in the north, causing abandonment of some land. With the improvement of the water supply through well-drilling and the introduction of intensive agricultural extension services as part of the Global 2000 program since the mid-1980s, demographic figures for the far north could be markedly different by the next census.
Another factor affecting Ghana's demography was refugees. At the end of 1994, approximately 110,000 refugees resided in Ghana. About 90,000 were Togolese who had fled political violence in their homeland beginning in early 1993 (see Relations with Immediate African Neighbors, ch. 4). Most Togolese had settled in Volta Region among their ethnic kinsmen. About 20,000 Liberians were also found in Ghana, having fled the civil war in their country (see International Security Concerns, ch. 5). Many were long-term residents. As a result of ethnic fighting in northeastern Ghana in early 1994, at least 20,000 Ghanaians out of an original group of 150,000 were still internally displaced at the end of the year. About 5,000 had taken up residence in Togo because of the strife.
Urban-rural disparities 
Localities of 5,000 persons and above have been classified as urban since 1960. On this basis, the 1960 urban population totalled 1,551,174 persons, or 23.1 percent of total population. By 1970, the percentage of the country's population residing in urban centers had increased to 28 percent. That percentage rose to 32 in 1984 and was estimated at 33 percent for 1992.
Like the population density figures, the rate of urbanization varied from one administrative region to another. While the Greater Accra Region showed an 83-percent urban residency, the Ashanti Region matched the national average of 32 percent in 1984. The Upper West Region of the country recorded only 10 percent of its population in urban centers that year, which reflected internal migration to the south and the pattern of development that favored the south, with its minerals and forest resources, over the north. Urban areas in Ghana have customarily been supplied with more amenities than rural locations. Consequently, Kumasi, Accra, and many towns within the southern economic belt attracted more people than the savanna regions of the north; only Tamale in the north has been an exception. The linkage of the national electricity grid to the northern areas of the country in the late 1980s may help to stabilize the north-to-south flow of internal migration.
The growth of urban population notwithstanding, Ghana continued to be a nation of rural communities. The 1984 enumeration showed that six of the country's ten regions had rural populations of 5 percent or more above the national average of 68 percent. Rural residency was estimated to be 67 percent of the population in 1992. These figures, though reflecting a trend toward urban residency, were not very different from the 1970s when about 72 percent of the nation's population lived in rural areas.
In an attempt to perpetuate this pattern of rural-urban residency and thereby to lessen the consequent socioeconomic impact on urban development, the "Rural Manifesto," which assessed the causes of rural underdevelopment, was introduced in April 1984. Development strategies were evaluated, and some were implemented to make rural residency more attractive. As a result, the Bank of Ghana established more than 120 rural banks to support rural entrepreneurs, and the rural electrification program was intensified in the late 1980s. The government, moreover, presented its plans for district assemblies as a component of its strategy for rural improvement through decentralized administration, a program designed to allow local people to become more involved in planning development programs to meet local needs.
More than 50 languages and dialects are spoken in Ghana. Among the more important linguistic groups are the Akans, which include the Fantis along the coast and the Ashantis in the forest region north of the coast; the Guans, on the plains of the Volta River; the Ga- and Ewe-speaking peoples of the south and southeast; and the Mossi-Dagomba-speaking tribes of the northern and upper regions. English, the official and commercial language, is taught in all schools. Hausa is the main lingua franca used amongst Muslim peoples, and is usually spoken alongside their native languages.
Primary and junior secondary school education is tuition-free and mandatory. The Government of Ghana support for basic education is unequivocal. Article 39 of the Constitution mandates the major tenets of the free, compulsory, universal basic education (FCUBE) initiative. Launched in 1996, it is one of the most ambitious pre-tertiary education programs in West Africa. Since 1987, the Government of Ghana has increased its education budget by 700%. Basic education's share has grown from 45% to 60% of that total. Students begin their 6-year primary education at age six. Under educational reforms implemented in 1987, they pass into a junior secondary school system for 3 years of academic training combined with technical and vocational training. Those continuing move into the 3-year senior secondary school program. Entrance to one of the five Ghanaian universities is by examination following completion of senior secondary school. School enrollment totals almost 3 million.
CIA World Factbook demographic statistics 
The following demographic statistics are from the CIA World Factbook, unless otherwise indicated.
24,223,431 (2010 provisional census figures); 23, 382, 848 (July 2008 est.); 19,533,560(2001 est.)
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected
Age structure 
0–14 years: 37.3% (male 4,503,331/female 4,393,104)
15–64 years: 59.1% (male 7,039,696/female 7,042,208)
59.1 years and over: 3.6% (male 393,364/female 460,792) (2009 est.)
Population growth rate 
1.897% (2010 est.)
Birth rate 
28.74 births/1,000 population (2009 est.) ; 29.81 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)
Death rate 
9.13 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.); 10.22 deaths/1,000 population (2010 est.)
Net migration rate 
-0.55 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.); -0.89 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)
Sex ratio 
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15–64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate 
51.09 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.); 57.43 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)
Life expectancy at birth 
total population: 59.85 years (2009 est.); 60 years
male: 58.98 years (2009 est.); 59 years
female: 60.75 years (2009 est.) ; 61 years (2000 est.)
Total fertility rate 
3.57 children born/woman (2010 est.); 3.95 children born/woman (2000 est.)
Ethnic groups 
Akan 45.3%, Mole-Dagbon 15.2%, Ewe 11.7%, Ga-Dangme 7.3%, Guan 4%, Gurma 3.6%, Gurunsi 2.6%, Mandé-Busanga 1%, other tribes (Hausa, Yoruba, Fulani) 1.4%, other (among them whites of mostly British descent) 7.8% (2000 census)
According to a census taken in 2000, Christian make up 68.8% of the population. (Pentecostal/Charismatic 24.1%, Protestant 18.6%, Catholic 15.1%, other 11%) The census noted that Muslims make up 15% of the population, however other sources suggest that number may be 30%. Other faiths include traditional African religions and Judaism, which is practiced by a particular Sefwi peoples. There are also communities of Nichiren Buddhists and Bahá'ís in Ghana.
English (official), African languages (including Akan, Moshi-Dagomba, Ewe, and Ga)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 57,9%
female: 49,8% (2000 census)
- Owusa-Ansah, David. "Population". A Country Study: Ghana (La Verle Berry, editor). Library of Congress Federal Research Division (November 1994). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
- "Ghana's population hits 24m". General News (MyJoyOnline). 2011-02-03. Retrieved 2011-02-04.
- Owusa-Ansah, David. "Population Distribution". A Country Study: Ghana (La Verle Berry, editor). Library of Congress Federal Research Division (November 1994). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
- Owusa-Ansah, David. "Urban-Rural Disparities". A Country Study: Ghana (La Verle Berry, editor). Library of Congress Federal Research Division (November 1994). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
- Hausa at UCLA
- Historical Dictionary of Women in Sub-Saharan Africa by Kathleen E. Sheldon, pg. 109