The country’s population has reached 30.8 million, according to a preliminary report from the 2021 Population and Housing Census (PHC) conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS).
The Chief Census Officer and Government Statistician, Professor Samuel Kobina Annim, who announced this yesterday, said there had been an annual intercensal growth rate of 2.1 per cent, which is less than what was observed in the previous intercensal period of 2000 to 2010, which was 2.5 per cent.
One of the highlights of the report is that the Greater Accra Region has marginally overtaken Ashanti as the most populous region in Ghana. Prior to the 2021 census, the Ashanti Region had, since 1970, been the most populous region.
The Greater Accra and the Ashanti regions both have population sizes of 5.4 million each, while the Central Region has, for the first time, become the fourth most populous region, after the splitting of the former Western, Brong Ahafo and Northern regions.
Also, from the preliminary report, 15 per cent of all structures in the Greater Accra Region were metal containers,
In a detailed presentation that lasted almost two hours, the Government Statistician examined the data that were gathered during the 2021 PHC, but noted that the released data were only provisional results of the exercise and could be subjected to changes before the final report was released.
Prof. Annim said at the rate of growth, the country’s population would double within 33 years, indicating that Ghana’s population had gone up five fold since independence — from 6.5 million in 1960 to 30.8 million this year.
“The population has increased by 6.1 million from the 24.7 million recorded in 2010, constituting an annual intercensal growth rate of 2.1 per cent. This rate is less than what was observed in the previous intercensal period (2000-2010 — 2.5 per cent) and is the lowest observed since independence.
“At this rate, the country’s population will double within 33 years. And by 2050, the population of Ghana will be over 50 million,” he said.
The data released to the public yesterday showed that, as had been the trend in the past four censuses, there were more women in the country than men, with 51 per cent of the population being females and the remaining 49 per cent being males.
Prof. Annim said the sex ratio of 97 males to 100 females in 2021 represented a slight increase over the sex ratio of 95 males to 100 females recorded in 2010.
He explained that the 1960 census was the only post-independence census which recorded more males than females (102 males to 100 females), saying that since then the sex ratios had declined, until the uptick observed in 2021.
The regional sex ratio in the 2021 PHC, he said, ranged from 91 males to every 100 females in the Volta Region to 105 males to every 100 females in the Western North Region.
He said the rates were consistent with the findings from the 2010 Census where the then Volta Region had the lowest sex ratio of 89 men to 100 females, with the then Western Region recording the highest of 104 males to 100 females.
The total number of households in the country, according to the data, had grown by 2.8 million, representing a 52 per cent increase over the 5.4 million households enumerated in 2010.
The data showed that household sizes declined by 0.8 per cent, from 4.4 million in the 2010 census, while a similar decline of 0.9 per cent was observed between 2010 and the 2000 censuses.
However, the population density at the national level increased by 26 persons per square kilometre over 103 persons per square kilometre recorded in 2010.
Prof. Annim said the 2021 census was the first time that data were collected on all structures, regardless of use.
“Previous censuses only collected information on structures used for residential purposes. The 2020 PHC recorded 3.4 million structures for residential use, which is 2.5 million less than the 5.9 million counted in 2021,” he said.
According to the data, the Eastern Region came third in the rankings of the most populous regions. Both the Greater Accra and the Ashanti regions are almost twice the size of the region.
Prof. Annim noted that the four most populous regions in the country make up 54 per cent of the total population, meaning that half of the population lived in only four of the 16 regions of the country.
Meanwhile, the data showed that the Ahafo Region is the least populous region, taking the place of the Upper West Region, which had been the least populous in all previous post-independence censuses.
The Savannah and the North East regions are the second and the third least populous regions, respectively, the data showed.
“Disparities in population sizes across regions have been the largest observed since 1960. In 1960, the most populous region, Eastern, was almost five times the size of the Upper West, the least populous then. In 2010, the most populous, Ashanti, was almost seven times the size of the least populous, the Upper West Region. In 2021, the two most populous regions, Greater Accra and Ashanti, are almost 10 times (9.6) the size of Ahafo, the least populous,” Prof. Annim said.
The Deputy Government Statistician in charge of Social and Population Statistics, Dr Faustina Frempong-Ainguah, told the Daily Graphic in an interview after the presentation that the exercise was taxing, although there was support from the public.
She said the success of the exercise was evident in the fact that the provisional results had been released in a record time of 44 days after the end of the exercise.
She said the GSS would, on October 19, this year, release the Residential Proximity to Essential Services Report and then release the General report of the census on November 18, this year.
Thematic Reports would also be released between May and December 2022, while Analytical reports would be released between June 2022 to May 2024.
A census atlas would then be released between November 2022 and June 2024.
Reacting to the outcome of the exercise, the Chairperson of the GSS Board, Dr Grace Bediako, told the Daily Graphic that the census was one of many initiatives that would further the digitisation agenda of the country.
“Every census has its own challenges, but those of the 2021 PHC were quite distinct, being the country’s first fully digital census, and having taken place in an era when countries all over the world were grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.
Dr Bediako noted that many national censuses that were to have been conducted by last year were still at the planning stages, making Ghana’s “daring experience” both a source of inspiration and offering a bundle of lessons for other national statistical systems in Africa.