An analysis of population variables in development planning is essential, in view of the fact that human beings are at the centre of all national and sub-national development efforts. This section of the report therefore focuses on the analysis of the demographic characteristics of the Asante Akim South District and their implications for the socio-economic development of the district.
Population Size, Growth Rate and Density
As shown in Table 1.2, the total population of the district stood at 36,090 in 1960 and increased to 46,310 in 1970, 66,868 in 1984 and 96,868 in 2000.It is now projected at 108,674. The inter-censal population growth rate increased slightly from 2.5% between 1960-70 to 2.6% between1970-84 and to 2.3% between1984-2000. That is, the population of the district has been growing averagely at a moderate rate of 2.5% per annum for the past four decades (1960-2000). The current growth rate of 2.3% is significantly lower than both the regional and national growth rates of 3.4% and 2.7% per annum respectively.
However, for the efforts of the district at wealth creation and poverty reduction to be meaningful, there should be pragmatic measures to further reduce the growth rate. The district had a population density of 80 persons per sq km in 2000 as against 148.1 for Ashanti Region. It currently has a projected population density of 89 persons per sq km. and continues to be one of the least populated areas in the region.
The low density implies that land is relatively abundant in the district when compared with other parts of the region. This, together with the high agronomic value of soils in the district, is a great potential for sustainable agricultural development and natural resource management.
Age and Sex Distribution/Dependency Ratio
Table 1.2 shows the age and sex distribution of the Asante-Akim South District. Males represent the dominant sex in the district, constituting 50.4 per cent of the population whilst females make up 49.6 per cent. This gives a sex ratio of 101.7 males to 100 females, as against the regional ratio of 101.3.
The age distribution shows that the population of the district is considerably youthful, with a median age of 19.1 years, which is below the national average of 19.4. Over half of the population (i.e.51.6%) are below 20 years of age while children below 15 years constitute as much as 42.0%. Those aged 15-64 years, who form the potential labour force, constitute about 52%, giving an age dependency ratio of 1:0.9. The youthful nature of the population of the population for the development of the district so far as labour supply is concerned. However, it also calls for increasing investments in education, skills development and interventions that are geared towards human resource development. It also calls for conscious efforts to expand avenues for gainful employment.
Females of childbearing age (15-45 years) constitute 46.7% of the total female population, which is poses potential for high fertility in the district. Therefore to ensure effective population management, there is the need to encourage female education, employment, family planning and other fertility control measures.
Rural-Urban Split /Spatial Distribution
The Asante Akim South District is mainly rural. Results of the 2000 Population and Housing Census indicate that the district has only two urban settlements, namely Juaso and Obogu, with a combined population of 15,986. The projected population figures for 2005 still put Juaso and Obogu as the only urban centres. This means that the proportion of the urban population is only 16.5%; that is, as much as 83.5% of the population live in rural areas (settlements with less than 5000 inhabitants). Table 1.4 shows the populations of the 20 largest settlements in the district.
The rural nature of the district implies that poverty reduction interventions in the district have to focus on rural development strategies, especially the promotion of agriculture, agro-processing, marketing, feeder road improvements, the provision of basic social and economic infrastructure as well as group and community empowerment. Figure 6 shows the spatial distribution of the district’s population.
In terms of religion, Christianity is the dominant religion in the district which constitutes as much as 68.8 per cent of the population. 15.9 and 8.5 per cent of the population practise others such as the Islamic and traditional religions. The other religions are Buddhism and Hinduism. They form an insignificant proportion of the population.
The composition and structure of Asante Akim South household are reflection of the social structure of the society. The household structure in the District is still traditional in spite of modernisation. Average household size is 5 (five). Several households of external family members living in the same housing unit still make room for persons living outside nuclear or immediate family. The nature and extent of the mix depend on the head of a household as the authority figure and often the main provider for the household. Survey conducted by DPCU indicates that heads of households are mainly males and where female is the head of the household, it may be a single parent household.
The Asante Akim South District is homogeneous with the indigenous people Asante constituting 65 per cent while Akyems, Kwahus and Akwapims constitute 10 per cent, 4.7 per cent and 5.5 per cent respectively. There are yet other minority tribes such as those from the North, Ewes, gas and Krobos who constitute 14.8 per cent. This situation has fueled migration to and from the district especially the Kwahu and Akyem communities that share boundaries with the Eastern Region.
Some communities in Asante Akim South District consist of people who have migrated from other parts of Ghana to settle in the Disrict. The large migrant communities in the district are linked to the availability of land for cash crop farming which is associated with these migrants. The relatively high migrant population in the district greatly affects the development of some parts of the district. Areas with such people are normally not well developed, as these people tend to send all their earnings to their various hometowns for development leaving relatively very little for the development of the area they are living.
The District has 68.4% of its labour force employed while 7.6% are unemployed (socio-economic Survey 1996). Of those who are employed, 45.5% are females while 54.5% are males. About 47% of the unemployed are males whilst 53% are female. About 72.4% out of the employed labour force is engaged in the agricultural sector, 21.6% in the service sector and 6% employed in the industrial sector.
For tables refer to pdf file attached