Ghanaians in the United Kingdom

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Ghanaians in the United Kingdom
(Ghanaian British/British Ghanaians/Ghanaian Britons)
Total population
Ghanaian-born residents
95,666 (2011 Census)
Regions with significant populations
London, Manchester, Birmingham, Milton Keynes, Swansea[1]
English, Twi, Fante, Ga, Ewe, Dagbani, Hausa, others[citation needed]
Primarily Christianity, Islam[citation needed]
Related ethnic groups

Ghanaians in the United Kingdom (also British Ghanaians[2]) are Ghanaian immigrants to the United Kingdom and their descendants. The 2001 census recorded 56,112 people born in Ghana living in the UK, and by 2011 this figure was 95,666. Most British Ghanaians migrated to the United Kingdom from the 1960s to the 1980s, after Ghana's independence from Britain in 1957, due to economic conditions at those times in Ghana.[3]



Although modern Ghana gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1957 and was the first African country to do so, small numbers of people from that region have been arriving and living in Britain since at least the mid-sixteenth century.[4] At that time, there were many Africans living and working in London, some of whom were based at the royal court. Even Shakespeare, it is rumoured, sought the company of an African lady, Lucy Morgan.[4]

In 1555, John Lok, a London merchant and Alderman, brought five Africans from the town of Sharma, in what is present-day Ghana, to London to be trained as interpreters in order to assist England’s trade with the western coast of Africa. From that time onwards, economic links were established between West Africa and England.[4] The English were most concerned with acquiring gold from the region that came to be known as the Gold Coast.[4] Pepper and other spices were also much in demand in Europe.[4]

Besides a number of West Africans arriving in Britain during the 16th–18th centuries, there were Britons who went to the Gold Coast and married Ghanaian women. Some Ghanaians have Scottish and English ancestry,[4] since a number of Scots and Englishmen married in local customary ceremonies and had children who became successful, such as Gold Coast's James Bannerman and Robert William Wallace Bruce.[4] Most Scottish and English settlers left the Gold Coast after it won independence.


By the 1980s and early-1990s, ten to twenty percent of Ghanaians were living outside Ghana, with many migrating to other countries in Africa, the Middle East, the United States and Europe from the 1970s to the 1980s due to poor economic conditions at those times in Ghana.[3]


Film and television[edit]

Ghanaian British actors such as Freema Agyeman, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Idris Elba and Peter Mensah have successfully crossed over into the international market and primarily work in Hollywood.


Ghanaian music and musicians have a strong influence on the overall Ghanaian British community as well as British music in general, from traditional Ghanaian music to Afrobeats, hip-hop and grime, the UK has produced many fine artists. The Ghana Music Awards UK began in 2002 with an aim to promote and award the best achieving Ghanaian British musicians.[5] By the 1980s, the UK was experiencing a boom in African music as Ghanaians and others moved there, immediately they made their presence felt in the form of local gigs and carnivals, and to this day Ghanaians and other African groups prevail as the most successful ethnic groups in the UK R&B and rap scene. Artiste such as Stormzy, Dizzee Rascal and Fuse ODG are a household names in the UK and have won numerous awards, Tinchy Stryder, Donae'o, Oxide & Neutrino, Abra Cadabra, Headie One, Sway DaSafo, Tempa T, Lethal Bizzle, Novelist and The Mitchell Brothers have also received numerous nominations and awards (including the MOBO Awards, Mercury Prize and BET Awards). Another notable Ghanaian British musician who chose to stray away from the typical hip-hop scene is Rhian Benson, who now lives in Los Angeles and is noted for being a Singer-songwriter, composer, instrumentalist and record producer who performs mainly jazz and soul music.



Miss Ghana UK is a beauty pageant that has been up and running since 1995, it aims to highlight Ghana's rich cultural heritage. Attendances per show attracted over 3,000 by 2009.[6]

In London, Ghana's Official Independence Celebration is a celebration of the African nation's independence. The event was founded by Abrantee Boateng also known as DJ Abrantee and business partners, Alordia and Edmond in 2000.[7]



At the time of the 1961 United Kingdom census, around 10,000 people born in Ghana were resident in the UK.[8] The 2001 UK census recorded 56,112 Ghanaian-born people.[9] The 2011 UK census recorded 93,312 Ghanaian-born residents in England, 534 in Wales,[10] 1,658 in Scotland,[11] and 162 in Northern Ireland.[12] The Office for National Statistics estimates that the Ghanaian-born population of the UK was 96,000 in 2016.[13]


Most Ghanaians in the UK live in Greater London.[8] At the time of the 2011 census, the largest Ghanaian-born populations were found in the London boroughs of Croydon, Southwark, Newham, Lambeth, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Lewisham, Waltham Forest, Merton, Brent and Barking and Dagenham, and in Milton Keynes, the county of West Midlands, and Greater Manchester.[10]


Research published in 2005 showed that 63.70% of recent Ghanaian immigrants to the UK of working age were employed (compared to 73.49% for British-born people regardless of race or ethnic background). 17.19% of recent immigrants were low earners, paid less than £149.20 per week (compared to 21.08% for British-born people), and 3.13% were high earners, paid more than £750 per week (compared to 6.98% for British-born people). The percentages for settled immigrants were slightly different: 69.51% were employed, with 15.04% being low earners and 5.31% high earners.[14]

Notable individuals[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ghana Mapping Exercise" (PDF). London: International Organization for Migration. April 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
  2. ^ "50 Leading British Ghanaians". 6 March 2007. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  3. ^ a b Herbert, Joanna; Datta, Kavita; Evans, Yara; May, Jon; McIlwaine, Cathy; Wills, Jane (November 2006). "Multiculturalism at work: The experiences of Ghanaians in London" (PDF). Queen Mary, University of London Mile End, Department of Geography. p. 6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 3 April 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Adi, Hakim (11 May 2007). "Ghanaians In London". Archived from the original on 8 September 2008.
  5. ^ "The 4th Ghana Music Awards UK 2006". September 2006. Archived from the original on 4 September 2006.
  6. ^ "The Official Miss Ghana UK Website". Archived from the original on 20 January 2009.
  7. ^ "Ghana's Official Independence Celebration". Choice FM. 2011. Archived from the original on 26 March 2011. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
  8. ^ a b Van Hear, Nicholas; Pieke, Frank; Vertovec, Steven (April 2004). "The contribution of UK-based diasporas to development and poverty reduction: A report by the ESRC Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS), University of Oxford for the Department for International Development" (PDF). COMPAS. p. 12. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 December 2006. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  9. ^ "Country of birth database". Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Archived from the original (XLS) on 4 May 2011. Retrieved 29 September 2009.
  10. ^ a b "2011 Census: QS203EW Country of birth (detailed), local authorities in England and Wales" (XLS). Office for National Statistics. 11 December 2012. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  11. ^ "Country of birth (detailed)" (PDF). National Records of Scotland. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  12. ^ "2011 Census: Country of Birth - Full Detail: QS206NI". Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. Archived from the original (XLS) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  13. ^ "Table 1.3: Overseas-born population in the United Kingdom, excluding some residents in communal establishments, by sex, by country of birth, January 2016 to December 2016". Office for National Statistics. 24 August 2017. Retrieved 9 December 2017. Figure given is the central estimate. See the source for 95% confidence intervals.
  14. ^ "Born Abroad: An immigration map of Britain: How different immigrant groups perform". 2005. Retrieved 8 December 2017.


  • Herbert, Joanna; May, Jon; Wills, Jane; Datta, Kavita; Evans, Yara; McIlwaine, Cathy (2008). "Multicultural living? Experiences of everyday racism among Ghanaian migrants in London". European Urban and Regional Studies. 15 (2): 103–117. doi:10.1177/0969776407087544.

External links[edit]