The region is the most populous and one of the most rapidly growing in the country. The region’s population as at the last census is 3,612,950, representing 19.1 per cent of the country’s population. Its share of the national population increased steadily from 16.5 per cent in 1960 to 17.3 per cent in 1970 but remained almost the same (17.0%) in 1984 before increasing to its current level (19.1%).
The region’s population growth rate was 2.9 per cent per annum in 1970, dropped to 2.5 per cent per annum in 1984 and increased to 3.4 per cent in 2000, 1.3 times higher than the national average growth rate of 2.7 percent. The population growth rate of the region in 2000 is the second highest in the country, after the Greater Accra Region (4.4%).
Although the region is the most populous, its density (148.1/sqkm) is lower than those of the Greater Accra (895.5/sq km) and the Central (162.2/sq km) Regions.
A number of factors, particularly high fertility and migration, may account for the rapid population growth in the region. The Total Fertility Rate, (TFR) which measures the number of children a woman in her reproductive age, would give birth to, is high (4.8), compared with the national average of 4.0.
The completed fertility by women 15-49 years (5.6) is lower than the TFR by 0.8; which implies a slightly lower current fertility schedule. The other reason for the growth is the centrality of the region and its economic potentials in the cocoa and mining industries, which attract people from other parts of the country to the region.
Age And Sex Structure
There are slightly more males (50.3%) than females (49.7%) in the region. This translates into a sex ratio of 101.3 males to 100 females in 2000. In 1960, the male population (51.2%) also exceeded that of females (48.8%) but in 1970 and 1984, the female population exceeded that of males.
The region has a youthful population with about two-fifths (41.9%) below 15 years of age. This proportion has declined consistently from 1970 (49.3%) and 1984 (45.3%), an indication of a decline in fertility. On the other hand, the proportion of the population aged 65 years and older has increased from 2.5 per cent in 1960 to 3.0 per cent in 1970 and 3.6 per cent in1984 to the current level of 6.1 per cent in 2000.
The urban population (51.3%) in the region exceeds that of the rural population (48.7%). The region is currently the second most urbanized in the country, after Greater Accra (87.7%). The growth of the mining industry in Obuasi and the increase in commercial activities in Kumasi may account partly for the relatively high urban population in the region.
One other factor that has also contributed to the high urban population in the region is the growth in some of the localities which were hitherto considered as rural settlements, but have now attained urban status (localities with population of 5000 and above).
For example, Atimatim in the Kawabre district, which had a population of 836 in 1970 and 1,123 in 1984, increased to 14,017 in 2000. Ahwiaa also in Kwabre, has grown from 2,110 in 1970 to a large town of 19,729. Both have grown mainly due to population spillover. Abuakwa in the Atwima district has grown from a small village of 970 people in 1970 to the largest town in the district, with a population of 16,582 in 2000, mainly due to to the establishment of industries such as the cocoa pesticide formulation plant and the Darko Farms.
In the Kumasi metropolis itself, areas such as Ayigya, Dikyemso (Dichemso) and Tarkwa Maakro, which were small communities in 1960 and 1970, have grown into densely populated residential areas with 20- 40,000 people.
Migration is one of the three important factors of population change in a locality. Over the years, the region has attracted migrants from within and outside the country because of its economic potentials and its centrality as a nodal region.
The non-migrant population of the region is 66.8 percent, having increased from 58.3 per cent in 1960, 56.8 per cent in 1970 and 63.8 per cent in 1984. Both the proportions of the intra-regional and inter regional movements decreased almost steadily from 1960.
The proportion of the intra-regional migrants decreased from 21.4 per cent in 1960 to 13.1 per cent in 2000, while the proportion of the interregional migrants also decreased from 20.3 per cent in 1960 to 11.1 per cent in 2000.
Place Of Birth Of Population
About four-fifth (79.9%) of the population in the region were born in the region. This is 3.5 percentage points lower than in 1984. However, there are relatively more Ghanaians by birth and parenthood born in the locality of enumeration in 2000 (66.8%) than in 1984 (63.7%).
Whereas the proportion of the population born in another locality in the same region decreased by 6.6 percentage points, between 1984 and 2000, the proportion born in other regions during the same period increased by 1.9 percentage points. Ghanaians by birth in the region, born outside the country, increased for those born in ECOWAS and other African countries.