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The People of Ghana


  • Total population: 23,832,495 (Ranked 50th in the world by the US Census Bureau).
  • Population density: 258.8 per square mile.
  • Population density: 258.8 per square mile.
  • 0-14 Years: 37.3% (Male 4,503,331/female 4,393,104)
  • 15-64 Years: 59.1% (Male 1,039,696/female 460,792)
  • 65 Years and over: 3.6% (Male 393,364/female 460,792)
  • Male to female ratio: 100 males per 100 females.
  • Birth rate: 28.58 per 1,000 people.
  • Life expectancy at birth: 58.98 for males and 60.75 for females.
  • Infant mortality rate: 51.09 per 1,000 live births.

Educational Landscape

Pre-primary Beginning age 4 Duration, 2 years
Primary Beginning age 6 Duration, 6 years
Secondary Beginning age 12 Duration, 7 years

The Ministry of Education is responsible for the administration of education in Ghana. It has two agencies, the Ghana Education Service and the National Council on Tertiary Education (NCTE), which are responsible for all levels of education. The goals of the Ministry of Education are to:

  • Provide basic education for all students.
  • Educate and train students in the areas of science, technology and creativity.
  • Develop middle and top level management through higher education.
  • Ensure that all citizens are literate and self-reliant.

The Ministry of Education follows a program called fCUBE, or Free, Compulsory, Universal, Basic Education.


Since 1987, Ghana has been working to increase the number of students in primary schools. Additionally, there have been improvements in technical and professional training in secondary and higher education.

Illiteracy is an issue, as 3.4 million people over 15, out of a total of 11.7 million over 15, are considered illiterate (almost 30 percent).

Ghana is working hard to improve the quality of and access to education for women. To this end, it created the Girl’s Education Unit (GEU), a division of the Ghana Education Service. The GEU seeks to educate girls in order to:

  • Ensure equality of access to education and educational opportunities.
  • Enable girls to contribute effectively to the development of Ghana as a nation.
  • Improve the status of girls and women.
  • Develop social capital for girls and women.

In accordance with the fCUBE program, the GEU is to achieve the following goals by 2005:

  • Increase enrollment of girls in basic education (primary) to equal the enrollment of boys and to ensure that girls continue into secondary education.
  • Reduce female dropouts from 30% to 10% in primary schools, and from 21% to 15% in secondary schools.
  • Increase the transition rate of girls from junior to senior secondary schools by 10% by the end of the fCUBE program.
  • Increase the participation of girls in science, math and technology.

Ethnic Landscape

The vast majority (99.8%) of the Ghanaian population is black African. Among the black Africans are the following tribal groups:

  • Akan
  • Moshi-Dagomba
  • Ewe
  • Ga

The remaining .02% of the population is European.

Social Landscape

The total population in Ghana is 23.8 million (a ratio of 100 men per 100 women). The under 15 population is 8.9 million (37.3% of the total population). The birth rate is 28.58 per 1,000 people, and the infant mortality rate is 51.09 deaths per 1,000 live births. The death rate is 9.24 deaths per 1,000 people, so the overall growth rate is about 1.87%. The life expectancy is 59 years for men and almost 61 for women (an overall life expectancy of 59.85 years). Estimates place literacy among those over 15 at 64.5% (76% for men, 53.5% for women).

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for Ghana is $34.52 billion (a per capita GDP of $1500). The GDP growth rate, as of 2008, was 7.3%. Estimates place 31.4% of the population under the poverty line, and household income or consumption by percentage at 2% for the poorest 10% of the population and 32.8% of the richest 10%. The inflation rate is 16.5%. The labor force is estimated at 10.12 million (56% in agriculture, 15% in industry, 29% in services). 11% of the population is thought to be unemployed.

Officially, Ghana is a presidential/parliamentary democracy, but it is not truly democratic, because of the influence the president has. All citizens over 18 have the right to vote. Each member of parliament has the right to introduce bills, but all bills since 1996 have been introduced by the attorney general’s office, which is strongly supportive of the president. The courts enjoy a good deal of autonomy, but are under the sway of the government, particularly in cases of freedom of the press. Freedom of the press is guaranteed by the constitution but is not always enforced. The president, and the government, are fond of using the country’s libel laws to suppress information in the media. Freedom of assembly is guaranteed under the constitution as well, and is usually enforced.


Unemployment is a major social issue in Ghana. Estimates put the unemployment rate at 11%.

Other social issues revolve around the willingness of the government to actually enforce the rights afforded by the constitution. External groups feel that the government has too much authority and sway over the life of its people, and that it is abusing that power.

It is also thought that domestic violence is an issue, but it is largely unreported. Women are not equal in practice, though afforded many of the same rights as men.

AIDS is also an issue in Ghana, as in many other sub-Saharan African nations. Estimates place the number of people infected with AIDS or 1.9% of the overall population.

Religion and Faith

There are three major religious groups in Ghana. 8.5% of the population is thought to be adherents to indigenous beliefs, 15.9% are Muslims, and 68.8% are Christian.


UNESCO Statistics Division.

US Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook.

Freedom House.

Jonathan Ketcham, Chris Lloyd
© 2018 CYS

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