The total population is 25.2 million with 2.3 million living in Accra and 1.8 million in Kumasi (CIA World Factbook – July 2013). Approximately 52 percent of the population live in urban settings with an annual rate of urbanization of 3.5 percent.
The population is very young with the median age for men and women to be 20.3 years and 21.2 years, respectively. Population growth rate is 2.2 percent (US: 0.9 percent; Taiwan: 0.27 percent). Life expectancy at birth is relatively short with men and women expected to live to 63 years and 67.7 years, respectively. (US: 76.2 years/81.2 years (male/female); Taiwan: 76.6 years/83.1 years (male/female)). Mother’s median age for first child is 21.8 years.
By comparison, developed countries have older populations.
Ghana’s distribution by age group goes a lot toward explaining how society operates. First, there’s a clear hierarchy based on age and you are expected to respect your elders. I’m sure that’s imbued in the culture but it also helps that there aren’t many people left in their sixties, much less their seventies or eighties. It must be an achievement just to get to 70 years.
Second, it explains why many Ghanaian youth and new college grads are treated so poorly. There are just too many of them. An employer doesn’t need to pay too much for new workers because they are easily replaced. For instance, on the hiring side, I have heard from my staff that some hiring managers/decision-makers abuse their position of power by requiring women to have sex in exchange for filling a job position.
Third, the demographic skew means that the actual consuming population is relatively small. Since young workers do not make much, in many ways, they are still dependent on their parents or extended family for assistance.
Newcomers may be tempted to think that Ghanaians are all part of a single ethnic group. In fact, due to the arbitrary borders drawn by the French and British, Ghana’s population is quite diverse along tribal/ethnic lines.