Ghana’s population is now estimated at 29.6 million up from the 24.5 million recorded during the 2010 Population and Housing Census, a Chief Statistician with the Ghana Statistical Service, David Kombat has disclosed to the Ghanaian Times.
He said the country’s population growth rate is at an estimated 2.5 annually, adding that an estimated 38.8 per cent of the population is made up of the youth.
Ghana’s population has grown by more than 23 million people when the population was estimated at less than six million at independence in 1957.
Other indicators from the United Nation’s World Population Review Report (2017) estimated that life expectancy for female in Ghana is 64. 2 years and that of male is 62.1 years, with fertility rate at 3.8 children per woman.
Mr Kombat said that, Ghana had a youthful population of 38.8 per cent saying “if provided with education, skills training it will help to create educated workforce that can increase the fortunes of the country.” If that is done, he said “we will be working toward Demographic Dividend.”
He explained demographic dividend as an opportunity opened to the country, as a result of the youthful population to accelerate its socio-economic development from skillful and well-trained labour force.
The Chief Statistician expressed the need for access to quality education and healthcare, especially reproductive health and the need to empower women economically, entrepreneurial skills development to drive economic growth.
The youthfulness of Ghana’s population, according to some demographers, could have negative impact when the youth are not well-equipped with skills to be gainfully employed and to be empowered to contribute to national development.
Other demographers have expressed concern that though the total fertility rate which represents the average number of children per woman over the course of her lifetime has declined from 5.6 in the 90s to 3.8 as projected by the world population review report, is still high and called for increase in family planning service.
Mr Kombat, who is the Census Coordinator, said preparations were underway to conduct the 2020 population census with mapping out of the country into enumeration zones and the selection of topics to be investigated.
The Chief Statistician said since Ghana had subscribed to the Sustainable Development Goals, there was the need for broad stakeholder engagement, to agree on the thematic areas to investigate to generate data for national development planning.
This, he said, would help to take cognizance of the country’s obligations to eradicate poverty, ensuring gender equity, justice and climate change, to be achieved by 2030 as required under the SDGs agenda.
Topics often captured in census are sex, age and distribution to inform the age structure of the population, housing characteristic, literacy and education, marital status, fertility and reproductive health, disability, employment and economic characteristics and information technology.
Population census which is carried out to generate data for development planning dates back to the colonial period, when the chiefs counted their subjects using the traditional method, where heads of household dropped different grains into receptacles to signify the various sexes.
Official population census in Ghana dates as far back in 1891 when the British colonial authorities conducted the first census which was restricted to the southern part of the Gold Coast and subsequent censuses were extended to the whole country by 1921 which recorded the population of the country at two million.
After 1891 there were censuses in every 10 years: 1901, 1911, 1921 and 1931. There was no census in 1945 because of the Second World War. The 1960 census was the first post-colonial census to be carried out in Ghana in accordance with the internationally adopted United Nations technique and recommendations.
The population of Ghana was 6.7 million in 1960; 8.6 million in 1970; Ghana did not conduct census in 1980 but in 1984 which put the population of the country as 12.3 million people; the population grew to 18.9 in 2000 and went up to 24.51 at the last census conducted in 2010.