The Bongo District is predominantly rural and it is characterized by large household size, high population density, and high fertility rate as found in other parts of the region.
Growth and Size
The 2000 population and Housing census put the population of the district to 77,885. A calculation by the Planning Team indicated that the District has a growth rate of 2.8%. This put the population of the District at 91, 949 in 2006. Data available in the District shows that there is no significant in-migration of population. It is therefore presumed that the high growth rate is as a result of high birth rate.
Spatial Distribution of population
The settlement pattern of the district exhibits rural characteristics. Apart from the district capital, Bongo, all the other communities are made up of small farm settlements scattered around the district. According to the projected population for 2006, Bongo Township and its environs has a population of about 17,008 which accounts for about 18% of the entire population of the district. Other relatively larger settlements like Namoo, Soe, Zorko- Kanga and Beo exhibit similar characteristics.
A household is defined as a group of people living together who share the same catering arrangement. Analysis of the socio-economic survey conducted in the district revealed that the district has an average household size of 9.2 persons. This analysis was also done for all the seven (7) Area councils. The household size for each of the Area Council is found in the table below.
These household sizes are larger than the national standard of 4. This indicates that birth rate in the district is very high. This situation is emphasized by the fact that the family planning acceptance rate in the district is only 18.9%.
In 2000, the population density for the district was 169 persons per sq. km. Projections made in 2006 put the population density at 200 persons per sq km. with the land size of 459 sq. km. The trend of increase in population density points to the fact that there is increasing pressure on land for farming and other purposes.
This has been worsened by the fact that people have moved from the widely oncho-infested area of the district and concentrated on less than half of the land area of the district. The situation is more serious since about 40% of the land surface has been covered with rocks which make farming and other activities very difficult.
Thus the land carrying capacity keeps on dwindling with the increase in population. Conscious efforts should be made to reduce the birth rate in the district and develop alternative means of livelihood rather than depending solely on the land for farming which is the main economic activity in the district.
Again conditions at the oncho-free zone can be improve to attract farmers to settle at the place by reducing the nuisance associated with the black flies and also by providing basic social amenities such as potable water.
The table below shows the comparison of population Density with other Districts in Upper East Region. The above table shows that in every eight people in the district, one of them is a child below 5 years. The children of school going age constitute about 44.8% of the entire population
The district has a potential large labour force because the population age 15-64 years constitute about 48%. If this segment of the population especially those who fall within the age (15-39 years) are well managed, it can become a huge economic asset for the district. It is important to note that the size of each of the population segment has implication for demand and planning for future population growth, social services, youth employment, the dependency burden and the overall working force of the district.
Sex Distribution By Age
The table below shows the sex distribution by age The male projected population for 2006 is 42,848 which represents 46.7% of the total population whereas the female projected population is 49,100 representing 53.3% of the entire district population.
The age sex structure for the district is presented pictorially in the population pyramid below. The significant feature about the age sex structure is that the adult age group (20 - 44 years), the female are more than the males. Females in the district form a little over half of the population. This phenomenon is very significant for planning. Consideration of gender issues should also be given prominent attention. Thus, a lot of socio-cultural issues which negatively affect women and girl child in the district should be given a priority.
According to 2000 Population and Housing Census the dependency ratio in the district is 107 which is the highest in the region. This means that every 100 economically active population have the responsibility to cater for 107 dependents. It can further be explained to mean that each economically active person has 1.07 people who depend on him for the livelihood. This has very significant implications, which must be taken into account for development planning.
It must be stated here that age dependency ratio is influenced by birth rate. Population with high birth rate has high age dependency ratio due to the large number of children in the age group (0-14 years). The above issue buttresses the point that serious efforts should be made to reduce the high fertility rate in the district if the district will be successful in its quest to reduce poverty.
According to the Report of the 2000 Population and Housing Census, 66.4% of the active labour force in the district is employed in various sectors of the district economy. This is made up of 67.7 female and 64.7 males. The above shows that females who are employed are more than the males.
The unemployment rate in the district is 26% which is more than twice the National average of 10.4%. It is also higher than the regional average of 20.1%. Bongo District has the second unemployment rate in the region apart from Bawku West which is 27.4%.
The above situation poses a big challenge to the District Assembly and Development partners in the district to put in place concrete programmes and projects to create jobs for the large labour force who are not employed. If this is done, it will help improve the purchasing power of the people, improve their standard of living, and finally reduce poverty in the district.
From the table, agriculture and related activities employed 58.8% of the economically active labour force in the region. More males are engaged in agriculture activities than female. However 35.6% of females are employed in the commerce sector as against 21.4%. This is obvious in the sense that women in the district do buying and selling more than the men.
The picture is also true when it comes to industrial activities. The main industria activities in the district are shea butter extraction, malt processing, Basket and ha weaving and these activities are mostly undertaken by women.
Child Labour/Working Children
Working children or child labour may be defined as children of school going age (7 14) who are engaged in economic activity. This phenomenon is widespread in Bongo District. According to the Report of t! 2000 Population and Housing Census, about 60.3% of children of school going age are engaged in agricultural and related activities. Nearly 29.2% are engaged in industrial activities whiles about 10% are engaged in retail activities. On the whole, about one-third (33%) of the children of school going age are engaged in economic activities in the district.
The settlement pattern of the district is dispersed as in other parts of the Upper East Region. The distribution of services in the district is equally dispersed. However, a lot of services are concentrated in the District Capital Bongo and other major towns such as the sub-district capitals.Hierarchy Of Settlements
In terms of level or hierarchy of settlements, Bongo (District Capital) is the only first level settlement in the District. In the Scalogram Analysis, Bongo had a total weighted centrality score of 1,500 as compared to the next level with total weighted centrality score of about 230. This indicates that the distribution of functions is highly skewed towards Bongo even though Bongo is not the highly populated area in the district. Most communities in the district fall within the third, fourth and fifth hierarchy levels.
The following have influenced the above situation
- Political/Administrative headquarters (District and Area Council Headquarters).
- Population size (Higher population tend to attract more functions).
- Economic activities in the area e.g. irrigation farming, major marketing centres.
To ensure that facilities in the district are equitably distributed, development programmes could concentrate more in the communities in levels 3, 4 and 5.
Surface Accessibility To Services
Education: In terms of surface accessibility to educational facilities, the district is doing well. However, a few areas such as the Soe area have only one JSS and a lot of communities feed it. There is therefore pressure on the school. There is therefore the need for additional school infrastructure such as a JSS for the area.
The Beo area is also another deprived area in terms of educational infrastructure. The area is normally cut off during the rainy season and therefore children have to risk their lives crossing the streams to attend school in other communities. The provision of school infrastructure would go a long way to help the children from the area.
On the area of health, there is only one hospital in the district and four health centres. The hospital serves as the referral centre for the whole district and across the border in Burkina Faso. There is therefore extreme pressure on the hospital and the few health centres in the district.
However, the district is seriously addressing this issue with the implementation of the new health delivery system known as the Community Health Planning and Services (CHPS) Concept which is community based. Currently, there are seven (7) functional CHPS zones in the district and covers a total population of 16,837 and the percentage of population covered is 20.2%. There is therefore the need to provide more of the CHPS to cater for more communities and the populace.
Refer to the tables in pdf file below