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  • Total population: 19,894,014 (Ranked 50th in the world by the US Census Bureau).
  • Population density: 212 per square mile.
  • Children 0-14: 41.2%—8,192,103.
  • Teenage 10-19: 24.4%—4,854,667.
  • Youth between 15-24: 11%—2,187,123.
  • Seniors Over 70: 2%—405,861.
  • Male to female ratio: 99.2 males per 100 females.
  • Birth rate: 29.81 per 1,000 people.
  • Life expectancy at birth: 55.38 for males and 59.62 for females.
  • Infant mortality rate: 74.77 per 1,000 live births.




Beginning age 4

Duration, 2 years


Beginning age 6

Duration, 6 years


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.



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.



The total population in Ghana is 19.8 million (9.9 million males, 9.99 million females, or a ration of 99.2 men per 100 women). The under 15 population is 8.2 million (41% of the total population). The birth rate is 29.81 per 1,000 people, and the infant mortality rate is 57.43 deaths per 1,000 live births. The death rate is 10.22 deaths per 1,000 people, so the overall growth rate is about 1.87%. The life expectancy is 56 years for men and almost 59 for women (an overall life expectancy of 57.4 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 $35.5 billion (a per capita GDP of $1900). The GDP growth rate, as of 1999, was 4.3%. Estimates place 31.4% of the population under the poverty line, and household income or consumption by percentage at 3.4% for the poorest 10% of the population and 27.3% of the richest 10%. The inflation rate is 12.8%. The labor force is estimated at 4 million (60% in agriculture, 15% in industry, 25% in services). Twenty percent 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 20% (compare to a national average of about 5% in the US).

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 at 340,000, or 1.7% of the overall population (3.6% of the adult population. The number of children (those under 15) with AIDS is 14,000, or .17% of the child population.



There are three major religious groups in Ghana. 38% of the population is thought to be adherents to indigenous beliefs, 30% are Muslims, and 24% are Christian.



UNESCO Statistics Division.


US Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook.


Freedom House.

Jonathan Ketcham cCYS





Ghana Youth




"Adolescents in Ghana: Sexual and Reproductive Health," The Alan Guttmacher Institute. Online.

"Don't Hide your light under the bushel, youth encouraged," (6Dec04)World Alliance of Reformed Churches. Online.

Kweku, Nana. "Growing Old in Ghana: The Cool thing to do?" (4Oct01) The Ghanaians. Online.



Linking Ghanaian youth worldwide.














(Download this overview as a PDF)