GSS Releases preliminary Report on Ghana’s Population

The figure represents an increase of 6.1 million from the 24.7 million recorded in 2010, constituting an annual intercensal growth rate of 2.1%.

The Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) yesterday released a preliminary report of the 2021 Population and Housing Census (PHC) with provisional results pegging Ghana’s population at 30.8 million.

The figure represents an increase of 6.1 million from the 24.7 million recorded in 2010, constituting an annual intercensal growth rate of 2.1%.

Chief Census Officer and Government Statistician, Prof. Samuel Kobina Anim, who disclosed this, said Ghana’s population has grown almost fivefold since the first post-independence census was conducted in 1960.

He stated that the country’s population will double within 33 years and is projected to be over 50 million by 2050.

Curious Observation

He, however, indicated that although the population is growing, it is done at a declining rate compared with previous censuses, noting that the annual intercensal growth  rate recorded in this year’s PHC was less than what was observed in the previous intercensal period (2000 – 2010: 2.5%) 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 would be over 50 million,” he stressed.

Regional Breakdown

The Chief Census Officer revealed that the Greater Accra Region is now the most populous region in Ghana (over 5.4 million), overtaking the Ashanti Region, which has been the most populous region since 1970.

According to him, the Ashanti Region closely follows as the second most populous region (also 5.4 million plus), asserting that Greater Accra and Ashanti Region “are both almost twice (1.9) times the size of the third most populous region, Eastern Region.”

The Central Region is now the fourth most populous region following the splitting of the former Western, Brong Ahafo and Northern Regions, which were all more populous than Central Region in 2010.

“The four most populous regions make up over half (54%) of the total population,” he noted and added that “Ahafo has replaced Upper West as the nation’s least populous region,” he noted and continued that the average household size, which has been on the decline since 2000, is 3.6 members.

“The Savannah and North East Regions are the second and third least populous regions respectively,” he stated and continued that the disparities in the population size across the region had been the largest observed since 1960 when Ghana conducted its first post-independence census.

In 1960, the most populous region, Eastern, was almost five times (4.63) the size of Upper West, the least populous. In 2010, the most populous region, Ashanti, was almost seven times (6.81) the size of the least populous, Upper West, he posited.

He added that in 2021, the two most populous regions, Greater Accra and Ashanti, were almost 10 times (9.6) the size of Ahafo, the least populous.

“There are 11 other regions that are at least twice as populous as Ahafo, and six that are thrice as populous. For Savannah and North East, there are seven other regions twice as populous and five that are thrice as populous.

“The current Northern Region observed the largest change in population with an almost 50% increase over its population in 2010.

“The two other regions that made up the then Northern Region in 2010, North East and Savannah, had the second and third largest intercensal increases (41.7% and 38.4%) respectively,” he disclosed further.

Prof. Annim said the next highest change recorded was in Greater Accra with an addition of 35.8%. The Eastern Region, followed by the Volta Region, recorded the lowest intercensal change (adding 10.8% and 11.4% respectively to their populations).

“The range of these figures highlights the regional disparities in population change from the previous censuses,” he noted again.

Females vs Males

According to him, females make up a greater proportion of the population in the 2021 PHC as has been the trend for the past four censuses, pointing out that they outnumber males in 10 out of the 16 regions of the country, making up 15,610,149, representing 50.7% as against 15,182,459 males, representing 49.3% in the de facto population of 30,792,608 on Census Night.

Prof. Annim stated that “this gives a national sex ratio of 97 males for every 100 females.”

He said the regional sex ratios in the 2021 PHC ranged from 91 males for every 100 females in the Volta Region to 105 males to every 100 females in the Western North Region, and these rates, he pointed out, were consistent with the findings from the 2010 census where the then Volta Region had the lowest sex ratio of 89, with the then Western Region recording the highest of 104.

Population Density

“The total number of households has grown by 2.8 million (representing a 52% increase) over the 5,467,136 households enumerated in 2010.

“Household size declined by 0.8, from 4.4 in the 2010 census. A similar decline of 0.9 was observed between the 2010 and 2000 censuses,” he stated.

The Government Statistician said the population density at the national level increased by 26 persons per square kilometre over the 103 recorded in 2010, and “the 2021 PHC is the first time that data was collected on all structures regardless of use.”

“Previous censuses only collected information on structures used for residential purposes. The 2010 PHC recorded 3.4 structures for residential use, which is 2.5 million less than the 5.9 counted in 2021,” he stressed.


He said in all, 8,345,414 households were enumerated, with an average national household size of 3.6 persons, and added that the national population density in the 2021 PHC was 129 persons per square kilometre.

“Over ten million (10,661,421) structures were counted during the listing, out of which 8,547,391 (80.2%) are fully completed i.e. roofed with windows and doors fixed.”

Confidence Levels

The Chief Census Officer indicated that out of the 10.7 million structures listed, 20% were metal containers, kiosks, and wooden structures, and added that one out of every five of the structures listed was not fully completed.

“The information on structure usage indicated six out of every 10 structures were for residential use,” he said and continued that all indicators showed the census results were in line with expectations based on the benchmark values used to assess coverage of the 2021 PHC.

“The 2021 PHC was compared with a range of benchmark indicators for this assessment including the 2010 PHC population (+24.9% of 24,658,823), GSS 2021 mid-year population projections (-2.7% of 31,636,804), the United Nations 2021 mid-year medium variant population projections (-3.0% of 31,732,129), and the U.S. Census Bureau (-4.9% of 32,372,889).”

For the listing as well, Prof. Annim said the numbers recorded were in line with benchmark indicators and that the number of structures listed was within range (+6.1% of 10,051,915) of the expected number of structures predicted using building footprints derived from satellite imagery.

Household Size

He, however, stated that Greater Accra and Eastern Region recorded the smallest household size of 3.2 which is almost half the household size of 6.0 recorded in the North East Region, the largest household size.

“In nine out of the 16 regions, households had less than four members, on the average, with the smaller household sizes observed in the southern part of the country,” he indicated.

About PHC

He revealed that the 2021 Population and Housing Census (PHC), which is Ghana’s first fully digital census, employed technology in all aspects of its implementation.

According to him, it leveraged on technology available to improve operational efficiency, enhance the quality of the data collected and be able to release results in a timely manner.

He stated that the 2021 PHC counted and collected detailed information on all persons that spent the Census Night – that is Sunday, June 27, 2021, in the country (de facto approach).

Source: Sheila Satori Mensa

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