As of midyear 2016, Ghana had a population of 28.2 million, annual population growth rate of 2.2%, and 38.8% of Ghana’s population was under age 15. With strong performance in health and education, Ghana is making progress towards a demographic dividend. However, the Total Fertility Rate (TFR), or the average number of children per woman over the course of her lifetime, remains high in Ghana.  The TFR has declined from 5.6 children in 1990 to 4.3 children per woman in 2015.  Only little progress in contraceptive use and fertility rates was made during the 16 years between 1998 and 2014.  In 1998, the contraceptive prevalence rate among married women in Ghana was 22.0%, increasing only slightly to 27.0% in 2014.

Population pyramids can be used to show change in population age structure over time. Here we can see that Ghana’s age structure is beginning to shift to older ages.

The broad bases in “Ghana 1970” and “Ghana 1990” represents a large number of children in relation to the working age population. “Ghana 2010” shows a base that is beginning to narrow at the youngest ages, representing a fertility decline.  “Ghana 2030” is the United Nations projection of Ghana’s population age structure if fertility declines further.  This pyramid assumes that by 2030, fertility will decline to an average of 3.4 children per woman over the course of her lifetime.  “Ghana 2030” shows a larger working age population than currently exists compared to the number of dependent children and elders, and by 2050; “Ghana 2050” shows us that this change will be even more substantial.

Working Towards a Demographic Dividend in Ghana

One of Ghana’s greatest achievements has been its accomplishments in primary education levels for boys and girls. If Ghana is able to continue to make progress in children’s access to education, particularly at the secondary school level, then this will help to create a well-educated workforce ready to contribute to Ghana’s development.  Substantial investments in reproductive health and family planning are needed for fertility levels to continue to decline. With additional investments in family planning, health, and education, as well as economic initiatives to facilitate job creation, Ghana may be able to experience the rapid economic growth known as a demographic dividend.  Work on the demographic dividend in Ghana has included:

  • A media training on the demographic dividend was conducted in 2013.
  • Research has been completed on the potential for a demographic dividend in Ghana including a paper presented at the Union of African Population Scientists (UAPS) meeting in 2015 and research study based on the national transfer accounts approach.
  • The National Population Council of Ghana has completed a policy brief on the demographic dividend and organized a national workshop on the topic.

Population Reference Bureau, 2015 World Population Data Sheet, (Washington, DC: Population Reference Bureau, 2015).

United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2015). World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision, (New York: United Nations, 2015) custom data acquired via website

World Bank Group. (2016) World DataBank. Retrieved from http://databank.worldbank.org/data/home.aspx

Education, Health, and Demographic statistics were taken from the 2015 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey.

World Bank Group. (2014) Worldwide Governance Indicators. Retrieved from http://info.worldbank.org/governance/wgi/index.aspx#home

World Economic Forum, Global Competitiveness Report 2014-2015, (Geneva: Switzerland, 2014).

Definitions

Gini index measures the extent to which the distribution of income or consumption expenditure among individuals or households within an economy deviates from a perfectly equal distribution. Thus a Gini index of 0 represents perfect equality, while an index of 100 implies perfect inequality.

Dependency ratio is the ratio of dependents--people younger than 15 or older than 64--to the working-age population--those ages 15 to 64. Although each country’s experience is different, countries that have realized a demographic dividend typically have a dependency ratio of less than 50 dependents for every 100 working-age adults.

Worldwide Governance Indicators are measured on a scale from -2.5 to +2.5. The closer to 2.5 the rating is, the stronger the governance. Government Effectiveness is a composite governance indicator with data from multiple sources. Political stability and Absence of Violence/Terrorism is a composite governance indicator with data from multiple sources More information on methodology available at: http://info.worldbank.org/governance/wgi/index.aspx#home

Global Competitiveness Index defines competitiveness as the set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country. The level of productivity, in turn, sets the level of prosperity that can be earned by an economy. The different aspects of competitiveness are captured in 12 pillars, ranging from institutional strength to market size. http://reports.weforum.org/global-competitiveness-report-2014-2015/