The population of the Region3 2,106,696, represents 11.1 per cent of Ghana’s population of 18,912,079. It is the third most populous region after Ashanti and Greater Accra Regions. The intercensal growth rate was 2.0 per cent between 1960/1970, 1.8 per cent between 1970/1984 and 1.4 per cent between 1984/2000 implying a slowing down of the rate of growth of the population
The region’s population is very young, with 41.7 per cent aged less than 15 years and 5.8 per cent older than 64 years. Females constitute 50.8 and male 49.2 per cent of the total population, giving a sex ratio of 96.8 males to 100 females. On a broad sector basis, 58.4 per cent of the employed population work in agriculture including hunting, forestry and related work and fishing. 13.5 per cent in wholesale and retail trade and 9.1 per cent in manufacturing. The population distribution pattern shows that 34.6 per cent of the region’s population live in 56 urban settlements (towns with population above 5,000) while the greater percentage, 65.4 per cent, live in rural communities.
There are four major ethnic groups in the region namely, the Akan (52.1%), the Ga-Dangme (18.9%), the Ewe (15.9%) and the Guan (7.2%). The Akan are predominant in 11 of the 17 districts and constitute about 85.4 per cent of the population of Birim South, 75.0 per cent in Birim North and 67.9 per cent in East Akim . Yilo Krobo (79.7%) and Manya Krobo (71.4%) have the largest concentration of the Ga-Dangme while the Ewe population is largest in the Asuogyaman (39.1%) and in the Afram Plains (50.8%). Both these districts share a common border with the Volta Region which is the home of the Ewe. The Guan have a large concentration in the Akwapim North (34.5%) even though they are not the largest ethnic group in the district. They are also significant in the Suhum-Kraboa-Coaltar (17.4%) and Asuogyaman (14.1%) districts. 1 Ada Local Council, now Dangme East, was formerly part of the Eastern Region.
Religious affiliation in the region follows the national pattern of Christianity, Islam and Traditional religion. Those who profess the Christian religion constitute 82.8 per cent of the population, followed by Islam by (6.1%) and Traditional (2.4%). The Christian religion comprises the Catholic (9.6%), the Protestant (26.7%), the Pentecostal/Charismatic (33.4%) and other Christians (13.1%). The Catholic faith has the largest followers in the Afram Plains (22.1%) and Manya Krobo (15.3%) districts while the Protestants have a large concentration in the Akwapim North, (43.4%) East Akim (33.3%) and Asuogyaman (31.1%) districts . The Pentecostal/Charismatics who have a greater following in the region have the largest followers in the Yilo Krobo (44.8%), Manya Krobo (35,5%), Fanteakwa, (37.8%), Suhum- Kraboa-Coaltar (36.4%) and New Juaben (33.2%).
The strength of the Protestant Churches in the region has its antecedents in the arrival of the Basel Missionaries in the Akwapim and Kwahu areas in the 18th and 19th centuries. The predominance of the Pentecostals and Charismatics is a recent phenomenon which has drawn their following from the mainstream Catholic and protestant Churches. Moslems are significant in New Juaben (9.4%) and West Akim (9.1%). Traditional religion is important in four districts: Afram Plains (9.4%), Asuogyaman (3.7%), Akwapim North (3.5%) and Akim West (3.4%).
Household Composition And Structure
Out of the 2,106,696 persons in the region, 20.1 per cent are heads, 36.9 per cent children of the household head, 9.6 per cent grandchildren and other relatives (18.4%). Spouses constitute 9.1 per cent of the households. Non-relatives and affinal relations, constitute 4.1 per cent, an indication that the traditional family structure of the primary family with extended family still prevails. There is a greater proportion of male heads (27.0%) than female heads (13.4%) of households while there is a significantly greater proportion of female (16.1%) than male (1.9%) spouses.
Out of a total population of 1.227.612 aged 15 years and older, 56.3 per cent are in marriage unions, both formal (49.2%) and informal (7.1%). The never married constitute 29.8 per cent while those who have ever been married but are currently separated, divorced or widowed, constitute 13.9 per cent of the population.
There is a higher percentage of females (8.0) than males (6.2) in informal unions and an equally higher percentage of divorced females (7.8%) than divorced males (4.4%). There is also a preponderance of widowed females (8.9%) compared to widowed males (2.1%). Polygamy also creates a situation where a man who divorces a spouse remains married while the spouse becomes divorced. Divorced males generally tend to remarry than divorced females.
The higher predominance of females in informal relationship may be due to both polygamy and a number of emerging social and economic factors influencing young males and females to enter permanent marriage unions. The higher proportion of widowed females may also be explained by the tendency of older males marrying much younger females and dying before them or the higher likelihood of widowed males remarrying, than widowed females.
In the region, 63.6 per cent of the population are literate compared with the national average of 57.9 per cent. The results also show that 46.4 per cent of the population in the region are literate in both English and a Ghanaian language in addition to 13.4 per cent in English only. This gives a total of 59.8 per cent, which is the effective literacy or the critical mass of the people who can more effectively access information on what goes on around them. There is also the indication that the level of literacy is higher for males (73.6%) than for females (54.4%). These are also higher than the national literacy level of both males (66.4%) and females (49.8%)