The analysis of household composition reveals that 20.2 per cent of household members are heads and 32.3 per cent are children. The proportion of household members who are heads ranges from 17.2 per cent in Dangme East to 20.7 per cent in the AMA. In all the five districts, the proportion of male household heads is higher than that of females. In the Greater Accra Region, about a third of household heads are females.
The distribution is not even among the districts; the proportion of female household heads varies from 26.4 per cent in the Ga District to 44.9 per cent in Dangme East. The average household size for the region is 4.6, with the largest households in Dangme East (5.3) and Dangme West (5.2).
The pattern of marital status of the population aged 15 years and older shows AMA (43.3%) and Tema (43.5%) having the smallest proportion of married persons and the largest proportions of persons who have never married (41.6% and 42.7%). The Ga District has the smallest proportion (4.2%) of persons living in consensual union, compared to 13 per cent for Dangme West.
In AMA, Ga and Tema, Akan, Ga-Dangme and Ewe are the three predominant major ethnic groups. The predominant ethnic group is the Akan, accounting for over 40 per cent of the population in the AMA, Ga and Tema. Ga-Dangmes make up 85.9 per cent in Dangme East and 77.9 per cent in Dangme West. It should be mentioned that these two districts have a very high proportion of the indigenes who are mostly Dangmes rather than Gas.
Christianity is the dominant religion with more than 80 per cent of the population in each district professing this faith. Islam is practised more in AMA (12.2%) than in any other district. While an insignificant proportion of the population in the AMA (0.6%) and Tema (0.6%) practise traditional religion, over 6 per cent of the population in both Dangme West and Dangme East are adherents of traditional religion. Significant proportions of person in Dangme East (11.1) and Dangme West (7.9%) professes no religion.
The AMA has the highest literacy rate of 85.1 percent, followed by Tema (79.8%) and Ga (77.1%). Dangme West and Dangme East are the most disadvantaged in this regard, with half (50.0%) of the population aged 15 years and older not literate. The proportion of literate females in Dangme East (38.6%) is much lower than is the case for males (63.4%).
The analysis of educational attainment reinforces the one for literacy status. Dangme West and Dangme East, once again, stand out as the most deprived districts. The proportion of persons aged 6 years and older who have never been to school is about 20 per cent in AMA, Tema and Ga, but it is about 43.0 per cent in Dangme West and Dangme East. The proportion of females who have never attended school ranges from 22.7 per cent in AMA to 51.3 per cent in Dangme East.
The proportion of males at the senior high school, vocational/technical and tertiary levels in all the districts is much higher than it is for females. The reverse is however the case for persons with non-tertiary post-secondary (teacher training, nursing, agricultural extension) level.
As at the 2000 census, the total number of households in the region is 626,611 giving an average household size of 4.6. Among the districts, Dangme East has the highest average household size of 5.3 followed by Dangme West (5.2).
Surprisingly, Ga district, which is more rural than Tema, has a smaller average household size (4.6), which is closer to that of AMA (4.5) than Tema (4.8). In the AMA itself, the household sizes for the sub-metros are quite similar, ranging from 4.2 for Osu Clottey to 4.8 for Okaikoi.
A household head is the one the household looks up to and recognizes as the head. As the head, his or her social and economic characteristics such as marital status and occupation can impact his or her dependents. In the Greater Accra Region about a third of household heads are females. The distribution however is not even among the districts; the proportion of female household heads ranges from 26.4 per cent for the Ga District to 44.9 per cent in Dangme East.
The factors contributing to higher female headship reported in these districts may include migration of males to the more urban areas in the region like the AMA, high divorce rate and widowhood of women (Ghana Statistical Service, 2002).
Tema, Dangme West and Dangme East districts have higher proportions of female household heads in the urban areas than in the rural areas. The reverse however is true for the Ga district, where the proportion of female heads of households is higher for rural areas than it is for urban areas. The implication is that in the Greater Accra region, female household headship is more a rural than urban phenomenon.
Marital Status Of Household Heads
Marriage becomes very important when both parents are needed to play their individual roles in the household, particularly with children. Incidentally, in each district, over 60 per cent of household heads are either married or in a consensual union. The proportion of household heads who have never married are not significantly different by sex.
Two patterns however emerge in the marital status of household heads in the districts. While the pattern in AMA, Ga and Tema is generally similar to that for the region as a whole, Dangme West and Dangme East have a different pattern.
The three districts of AMA (17.3%), Ga (14.8%) and Tema (15.6%) have a comparatively higher proportion of household heads who have never married, compared with Dangme East (6.4%) and Dangme West (7.7%). The pattern suggests that the more urban the district, the more likely it is for household heads to be unmarried. The relatively higher proportion of single person or single parent households in urban areas may be the reason for this.
6.8 per cent of household heads are divorced. Female household heads are four times more likely to be divorced than male household heads. At the district level, AMA has the highest proportion of divorced household heads (7.2%) followed by Tema (6.4%) and Ga (6.1%), which are only about half the proportion for all female heads.
The higher proportions of divorced female household heads in AMA (14.2%) Tema (13.7%) and Ga (14.5%) may well be a reflection of urban living, which makes it possible for females to live without the support of a man and therefore delays the formation of another union after the break of one.
On the other hand, Dangme West and Dangme East have higher proportions of widowed persons than other districts. In all districts, it is ten times more likely to find a widowed female household head than a widowed male household head. This situation could be due to males dying earlier than their wives on account of their older ages or men remarrying earlier than females after the death of a partner.
Another striking feature of the marital status of household heads is in Dangme West where a relatively higher proportion of household heads (13.9%) are living in consensual unions rather than being in a formal recognized marriage. This is true for both males and females.
Occupation Of Household Heads
Data on the occupation of heads of households show that 24.8 per cent of household heads are sales workers, 27.8 per cent are professional, administrative and clerical workers (white collar workers) and 20.0 per cent are general casual labourers.
Even though the region is bounded by the sea in the south, and the country as a whole has more than 50 per cent of the population are agricultural workers including workers in animal husbandry, fishermen and hunters, less than a tenth (9.2%) of the economically active household heads in the region are in this occupation.
The heads of households in AMA, Ga and Tema tend to have a similar pattern of occupation as the regional picture, while it is different for the two Dangme districts. For instance, in Dangme East (51.4%) and Dangme West (48.8%), household heads are engaged mainly as agricultural workers. Sales workers and “white-collar” workers closely follow agricultural workers.
In AMA, Tema and Ga, female heads are mainly sales workers, followed by white collar workers, service workers and production workers in almost equal proportions, but in the two Dangme districts, sales workers and productive workers follow agricultural workers.
With regard to males, white collar jobs and general labour are the two major occupations in AMA, Tema and Ga, followed by sales, while in the Dangmes white collar jobs and general labour follow agricultural works as the major occupations of household heads.
In all the districts, a distinctive feature among household heads is that a higher proportion (almost twice) of females than males is in the production and transport operation occupation.
Literacy Of Heads Of Households
Most household heads (78.2%) in the region are literate. The proportions are 47.7 per cent in English and a Ghanaian language, 23.8 per cent in English only, 5.6 per cent in Ghanaian language only and 1.1 per cent in other languages.
Thus, the literacy rate ranges from 39.5 per cent in the more rural Dangme East to 82 per cent in the wholly urban AMA. In all of the districts, there is a higher proportion of literate males than literate females. The gap between the sexes is much wider in the Dangme districts than it is in the three other districts. Apart from Dangme East, female household heads are more literate in a Ghanaian language than male household heads.
Half (50%) of the region’s population aged 15 years or older are either married (44.8%) or living in consensual union with a partner (5.2%), while an additional 9.6 per cent have once been in a marriage, but are currently divorced (3.7%), widowed (3.6%) or separated (2.3%).
Even though the marital status pattern of the population aged 15 years and older in the districts is similar and mimics the regional trend, it should be noted that the AMA (43.3%) and the Tema Municipality (43.5%) have the smallest proportions of persons who are married and the highest proportion of people who have never married (42%), while Dangme East has the lowest proportion of persons living together in loose unions (3.8%).
The two Dangme districts have the highest proportion of widows. In all the districts however, even though the proportion of widows is comparatively low, the proportion of widows is three times higher than that of widowers.
While the level of divorce is highest in AMA (4.0%), that of separation is highest in Dangme East (3.5%). The proportions of the separated and divorced are higher for females than for males.
In the Dangme West district, 13 per cent of persons aged 15 years and older, live together in loose unions with their partners compared to 3.8 per cent in Dangme East. In other words, persons aged 15 years and older in Dangme West are three times more likely to live in loose unions than is the case in Dangme East.
Considering that the two Dangme districts have much in common, one would have expected that marital status pattern would be similar. The dissimilarities could be due to the differences in cultural practices: the dipo of the Adas, for instance, would promote marriage rather than the practice of living together in a loose union.
As is to be expected 99.9 per cent of persons in this age group have never married. This ranges from 96.7 per cent in Dangme East to about 97 per cent in all the other districts.
Even though the proportion of children married in all the districts is very small, Dangme East has the highest proportion of children who are married (3.3%), and an insignificant proportion, less than 1 percent, living in loose unions, are divorced or widowed. These may be children forced or lured into such marriages by parental pressures to older men who either die or divorce them.