The Agona District has a total population of 158,678 with female slightly dominating at an estimated population of 83,504 while male population was estimated at 75,174 according to the 2000 Population and Housing Census. Population Size and Growth Rates
The population growth rate was 2.66% in 1984. About 40% of the populace were children (source: Ghana -We Mean Business: A Guide To Ghana’s 110 Districts page 282). In 1960 the population of the area forming the current Agona District was 82,607 and growing at an annual rate of 0.6% it reached 87,446 in 1970 and by 1984 the total population was 122,631 showing an annual growth rate of 2.66% between 1970 and 1984(source: 1996-2000 Medium Term Development Plan page 14). With the current (2000) population being 158,678, the annual growth rate between 1984 and 2000 is 1.196% per annum. However, the growth rate of the major towns shows a higher average growth rate of 2.4%. The trend is the same nation wide. There is a trend of increasing urbanization.Age-Sex Structure of Population
The age and sex structure is displayed in Table 2 in pdf file. It shows that the population is predominantly female (52%), with males forming about 48%. It has a working population of about 48% who take care of the aged (6.5%) and the youth (45%). This gives a dependency ratio of 1.08. This means that every working adult cares for two persons. When cognizance is taken of the fact that the main economic backbone of the district - cocoa cultivation- is seriously on the decline, then the high incidence of poverty cannot be over emphasized.Social and Ethnic Structure of the District
The indigenous people of the District are the ’Agonas’. Over the years they have co-existed with other prominent minority migrants such as Obutus, Gomoas, Ewes, Effutus, Fantis, Kwahus, Atakpames, Kontokoris and several ethnic groupings of Northern Ghana origin. There is no existing documentation on the ethnic structure of the District but local estimates of the migrant population is about 10% to 30% (source: the 1996-2000 MTDP). Apart from Swedru (the district capital) to which people are attracted due to the existence of public and private sector business activities, Otsenkorang Area Council also has a high migrant population due to the cocoa industry. Here, migrants out number the indigenes by a ratio of 4:1 (source: 1996-2000 MTDP). Kwahus and Gomoas dominate in cocoa farming. Despites the high number of different ethnic groups, the District has a strong social integration from the diverse ethnic groups. The groups intermarry and participate in shared cropping arrangements under the existing land tenure systems, especially the ’Abunu’ and ’Abusa’ which are commonly practiced. This has promoted solid social bonds and economic ties between migrant tenants and their indigenous landlords. It also makes it easier for tenants to acquire land for farming.Festivals and Funerals
Festivals are important in the social life of the people in Agona District. The "Akwambo" festival is the most important traditional festival instituted for the spiritual reunion of the people. It is celebrated every year between August and October. As a social festivity, it also an occasion where communities plan their developmental activities including strategies for mobilizing funds for project implementation. Funeral rites that provide solemn occasions for sober reflection have also become occasions that bring people together. It is one single most important event that brings the youth home to mourn with their people. It also enable the youth visit their old parents. Business in mourning cloth is quit brisk, particularly, Swedru.Marriage and Inheritance:
The people of Agona practice the matrilineal inheritance system. Female children in the extended family under this system are considered important for the survival of the family as a unit. Inheritance is therefore passed on from brothers to their sisters’ children (nephews and nieces). Female share of labour and contributions to the family income from agriculture is quite substantial. Polygamy is a common social characteristic in the District, particularly in less urban and farming communities. Some of the reasons for polygamy mentioned include:
- The wide disparity of the male-female ratio reaching as high as 1:3 in some localities
- Inadequate opportunities for women compelling them to seek early marriage as teenagers
- The tendency of some men to use female labour on their farms.
The inhabitants of Agona District are highly religious. The dominant religion is Christianity. Other religions such as Islam and Traditional worship also exist in the minority. Religious groups found in the district co-exist peacefully. The larger Christian population in all Urban, Town and Area Councils makes the church a possible forum for information dissemination on community/group mobilization for development in the district. All other religious groups observe the taboos in the district. These taboos, which are considered to have socio-economic and spiritual importance include regulation of farming days, land use, water resources use and control and adhesion to some social norms. There are non-farming taboo days in every Urban, Town and Area Council.
Taboos in Agona District also help in the protection of the forests and the fragile ecosystem through the creation of sacred grooves, which are known popularly as "Nananom Mpow” in the district. Taboo days also assist in fixing community dialogue meetings.Environmental situation
Swedru is the only place with a waste disposal site for both liquid and solid waste. All the other communities rely on make shift local arrangements most of which do not conform to accepted environmental norms The poor waste disposal situation in Agona has been caused by inefficient and inadequate infrastructure facilities, especially insufficient drainage, toilet facilities. In some of the communities refuse disposal points have become terminals for open defecation. While the pile of refuse grow into unsightly mountains because the Assembly is unable to cope with, the problem.
The absence of development according to planned layouts has denied the towns of elaborate drainage systems and resulted in household effluents being disposed of haphazardly and causing unsanitary conditions in most areas. The illegal activities of chain-saw operators, charcoal and firewood merchants have resulted in deforestation since the fuel wood related activities are not based on sustainable exploitation of forest resources and thus posing a threat to ecological stability and sustainable environmental development. Traditional farm management practices, to wit, slash-and-burn; reduced fallow periods; reduced crop rotation cycles and the absence of agro-forestry practices among others have resulted in erosion on farmlands.
One major environmental problem especially in the villages is inter-house soil erosion. The foundations under several houses are exposed thus posing danger to life and property since — many of these buildings are constructed with laterite. Due to misuse and mismanagement of water bodies, for example dumping of refuse and soapy water into them largely due to ignorance and conservatism there is water pollution in some of the settlements. Air pollution in some settlements is caused by poor sanitary conditions arising from piles of rotting refuse.Human Settlement Patterns
Agona District consists of 497 settlements and has the third highest population density in the Central Region after Cape Coast Municipality and Mfantseman District Assembly. The most densely populated town is Agona Swedru, which alone accounts for about 28.75% of the total population (source: 2000 population census: Republic of Ghana). Other important towns in the District are: Nyakrom, Nsaba, Kwanyako, Abodom, Bobikuma, Asafo, Duakwa,
Nkum, Mankrong, Kwaman, Otsenkorang and Nsuansa.
For tables refer to pdf file