Assin, with a population of 196,457, is the most populous district in the region, accounting for 12.3 per cent share of the region’s population, followed closely by Gomoa (12.2%). Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa, with a population of 89,395 (or 5.6%) of regions population is the least populated district.
The region’s population as at the last census is 1,593,823. The corresponding 1984 population was 1,142,335. This means that the region’s population is growing at a rate of 2.1 per cent per annum. The region is also the second most densely populated in the country, with a population density of 162 persons per square kilometre.
Out-migration, which continues to be a problem in the region, is declining gradually with immigrants constituting about a quarter of the population in all the districts. Between 1984- 2000, the region recorded a net out-migration rate of 14.3 per cent compared to that of 15.4 per cent recorded in the period 1970-1984.
Roughly between 20 and 37 per cent of the population in the districts are migrants. Twifo- Hemang-Lower Denkyira has the highest proportion of migrants of (37%) and Ajumako- Enyan-Essiam has the least (20%).
Inter-regional migrants are more than intra-regional migrants in three districts, while four other districts receive more intra-regional migrants. In almost all the districts, most of the immigrants come from the Western, Greater Accra, Ashanti, Volta and Eastern Regions.
The region is typically rural in nature, though there has been an increase in the urban population from 28 per cent in 1960 to 37.5 per cent in 2000. The most urbanised districts, which are about two-thirds urban, are Cape Coast, Awutu-Efutu-Senya and Agona.
The age structure of the districts, which shows marked differences, are typical of a youthful population. There are indications of inter district age differentials depicted in the variations in the proportions of the population under 15 years. The proportion of the population under 15 years is relatively very low in Cape Coast (36%), low in 5 other districts, (around 42%- 43.5%), and higher than the regional average (44.3%) in the remaining districts.
The smaller proportion of the under 5 years compared to the 5-9 years in five districts may be an indication of the onset of fertility decline in those districts, as all (except one) of them also recorded a lower total fertility rate (TFR) than the national average (4.0). Besides, Cape Coast, which recorded a very low proportion of aged less than 15 years population (36%), also recorded an equally low TFR (2.4).
Sex Composition And Sex Ratio
There are more females than males in all districts except Twifo-Hemang-Lower Denkyira, which has almost a balanced sex composition (100.4 males to 100 females). This may be a reflection of net out-migration of males. Half of the districts in the region, with sex ratios of 90.0 or below also have very high percentages of female headed households, ranging between 41.0-48.0 per cent. The low sex ratios also imply a relatively heavy burden on females, a high proportion of whom are single parents.
The proportion of males to females varies between age groups and districts. For instance, there are more males than females in Agona, Asikuma-Odoben- Brakwa and Lower Denkyira for children under five years while females outnumber males in the other districts for the same age group except Cape Coast where the ratio is one to one. There is generally male predominance in all districts for all ages from 5 up to 19 years except Cape Coast, Mfantsiman and Awutu-Efutu-Senya.
From age 20 years, there is female predominance with the exception of Assin, Lower Denkyira and Upper Denkyira, for which most of the sex ratios exceed 100 for ages above 40 years. Since generally, females outlive males in the older age groups in all countries, it is likely that age mis-reporting occurred in the three districts among the older age groups.
There is an indication that the fertility may be declining in districts like Abura-Asebu-Kwamankese, Mfantsiman, and Agona since the proportion of children in the 0-4 years is much lower than that of the 5-9 years.
The proportion of the elderly (persons 65 years and older) is higher than the regional average of 5.7 per cent in six districts. Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam, Mfantsiman and Abura-Asebu-Kwamankese have values ranging from 7 to 8 per cent, while five other districts have values lower than 5 per cent in the over 65-year group. Only three districts, Cape Coast, Awutu-Efutu-Senya and Agona, have a proportion in the 15-64 years age group greater than the regional average of 51.0 per cent. The dependency ratio is over 100 in five districts, which means that each worker would have to cater for an additional person. Cape Coast (69.1%) and Awutu-Efutu-Senya (87.7%), on the other hand, have the least dependency ratios.
Rural-Urban Composition of Population
Cape Coast, Awutu- Efutu-Senya and Agona are the most urbanised districts in the region, with over 60 per cent of the population living in urban areas. The remaining districts, apart from Mfantsiman, are predominantly rural. Generally, females exceed males in both rural and urban localities. However, in some districts, Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam, Mfantsiman, Gomoa and Agona the differences in the proportion are relatively large. In the others the differences are minimal.
Most of the urban localities are found in Agona, Mfantsiman and Awutu-Efutu-Senya. Awutu-Efutu-Senya, with five urban localities, has 18.6 per cent of the total urban population of the region, while Agona with 8 urban localities has 17.2 per cent of the urban population.
Cape Coast with three urban localities also has 13.8 per cent of the urban population while Gomoa with 4 localities has 12.7 per cent of the population. This implies that 62.3 per cent of the urban population in the region is concentrated in 23 of the localities.
Fertility And Child Survival
The total fertility rate (TFR) for the region is the same as that of the country (4.0). Of the twelve districts, 6 have a TFR higher than the regional average. Though the regional TFR of 4.0 is lower than that recorded (4.8) for the region in the 1998 Ghana Demographic and Health surveys (GDHS), it is still high.
The TFR for the region is declining and substantial out-migration still goes on, yet the population continues to grow as a result of the in-built momentum from high past fertility levels. Although districts such as Cape Coast have relatively very low under 15-year population (36.0%), yet continuing high fertility in some districts, resulting in TFRs of 4.9 and 5.0 (in districts such as Assin and Asikuma-Enyan-Esiam), give cause for serious concern.
Incidentally there appears to be a close relationship between the size of the under 15-year population of a district and the TFR of a district. For instance, Cape Coast, which recorded the lowest under-15 year-old population (36.0%), also recorded the lowest TFR (2.4). In addition, the five districts with under 15-year population 42.0%-43.5% also recorded a TFR of 3.8-3.9. However, the remaining five districts with under 15 year -population higher than the regional level and ranging from 44.1-45.9 percent, also recorded TFRs higher than the regional average, ranging from 4.3 to 5.0.
There is evidence also of falling levels of infant mortality and increased chances of child survival. These, combined with a high proportion of women in regular sexual unions (56.8%), should create concern about the future growth of the population in the region.
About 80 per cent of children born to women of childbearing ages (15- 49 years) in the region survive. The districts with the highest survival rates are in Twifo- Hemang-Lower Denkyira (84.6%), Agona (83.7%). Assin (83.5%), and Cape Coast (83.4%); these districts also have a large number of health facilities and health personnel in the region, which may account for the high survival rates.
Birthplace And Migratory Pattern
On the simple assumption that persons enumerated in localities of their birth are non-migrants, the indication is that about 30 per cent of the enumerated population in the region are migrants. Twifo-Hemang-Lower Denkyira has the highest proportion of migrants (37%) while Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam has the least proportion (20%).
There appear to be a greater proportion of migrants from other regions than from other districts in the region. Inter-regional migrants are greater than intra-regional migrants in Cape Coast, Awutu-Efutu-Senya and Upper Denkyira.
Twifo-Hemang-Lower Denkyira, Assin, Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa and Agona, on the other hand, receive more intra-regional migrants than the other districts. In almost all the districts, most of the in-migrants come from the Western, Greater Accra, Ashanti, Volta and Eastern Regions.
Interregional migrants constitute only 13.8 per cent of the region’s population. However, data show that each group of migrants (from a region) reside mainly in specific districts. Thus, migrants from Eastern region (with the largest migrant proportion 2.8%) are mainly found in Twifo-Hemang-Lower Denkyira (5.8%) and Assin (4.6%), both major cocoa, oil palm and timber producing areas. In addition, a significant proportion of Eastern migrants (3.9%) are in Agona with which it shares a border.
Migrants from the Western Region (2.2%), reside mainly in Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abirem (4.3%) and Upper Denkyira (4.1%) with which it shares borders, and Cape Coast (4.1%), the educational capital. Migrants from Ashanti region also form 2.2 percent, are predominantly found in Upper Denkyira (8.8%) with which it shares borders.
Volta migrants (1.9%) form a significant proportion (4.8%) of the population of Awutu-Efutu-Senya and Cape Coast (2.5%) where they are mostly found in the fishing industry along the coast. In addition, they constitute 2.9 per cent and 2.1 per cent of the population of Twifo-Hemang-Lower Denkyira and Assin, respectively.
Migrants from outside Ghana form between 1.0 and 3.7 per cent of the population in Abura- Asebu-Kwamankese, Awutu-Efutu-Senya, Mfantsiman, Cape Coast and Komenda-Edina- Eguafo-Abirem. The sex distribution of migrants from outside Ghana is similar to that of the total population.
On the whole intra regional migration is slightly higher among females in all the districts except Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abirem. This may be due mainly to either the females moving in to join their spouses or to trade.
Place of Residence
The region gained 281,516 net in-migrants (or 24.4%). At the regional level, male in-migrants were more than female inmigrants; differences occur in the districts. In all districts, the proportion of male in-migrants exceeds female in-migrants except Cape Coast, where the male and female in-migrants are about the same, a fifth each of the population.
The age structure in the districts exhibits the normal structure typical of a growing population, with a higher proportion of children under five years, which tapers at each successive higher age. This is an indication of high fertility. In fact, the declining but still large proportion of young people aged less than 15 years in all the districts should be a cause for concern for policy makers.
For such a young age structure, the population will continue to grow in all districts even if fertility declines. In the interim also, resources need to be channelled to cater for the children, particularly in the area of education.
There are more females than males in all the districts, except Twifo-Hemang-Lower Denkyira where the proportion is almost equal. This may be the result of male out-migration to other regions. Generally, there is male predominance in all districts for all ages from 5 to 19 years.
From age 20 years, the pattern changes except in Assin, Twifo-Hemang-Lower Denkyira and Upper Denkyira. These are the three major cocoa and oil palm growing areas that are likely to attract male migrations.
At birth, there are more males than females and male out-migration usually starts close to the end of the teenage years. It is usually after the teenage years that males migrate for various reasons including seeking greener pastures.
As a result of the youthful nature of the population, there are fewer people in the working age group. In five out of the districts, dependency ratios exceed 100. Since the working age group (15-64 years) includes the unemployed, students, homemakers and other persons, who are not economically active, the dependency ratio will naturally be greater than what is reported.
It means therefore that on the average, each working person will be supporting more than one person who is not working. What is even more worrying is that there are some people who are expected to be working but are either underemployed or earn inadequate incomes to support these dependent persons.
Fertility And Child Survival
Currently, about 80 per cent of women below 20 years in all the districts have had at least a child, contributing to the region’s population growth rate which has increased from 1.8 per cent between 1970 and 1984 to 2.1 per cent between as at 2000.
There is the need to seriously revisit aspects of the National Population Policy relating to fertility factors and intensify female education at all levels, not only with the view to reduce the fertility but to provide avenues to women for better career prospects and more participation in decision making.
The child survival rate of about 80 per cent in all the districts implies that close to a fifth of the children born to women of childbearing-age do not survive. The expansion of health facilities and their accessibility will go a long way in improving the child survival rate.
It is hoped that as governance and development are brought closer to the people in the districts, the districts will cease to experience net out-migration and people, especially the youth, will stay to contribute to the development of their districts.
There is indication that more communities in the region are becoming urbanised. Cape Coast, Awutu- Efutu-Senya and Agona are the most urbanised districts in the region with over 60 per cent of their population living in urban areas. The remaining districts apart from Mfantsiman are typically rural. Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam, Assin and Twifo-Hemang-Lower Denkyira for instance have more than 80% of their population living in rural settlements.
There is evidence that the rate of out-migration from the region is declining but out-migration is still a problem especially among the males. For the few in-migrants within the period of five years before the census, there were more males than females.
More than half (56.0%) of the population in all the districts with the exception of Cape Coast, are in some form of marital union, while those who have never been married form about two- fifths. The proportion of persons who have never married in Cape Coast is greater than any other district. For all the districts, the proportion of female divorcees exceeds that of males.