Cultural and Social Structure
The people of Volta Region are part of the larger Ghanaian population with just about every ethnic/language group represented in the region. Eight major ethnic groups are represented in the region and about 62 sub-groups speak 56 dialects.
The classification of ethnic groups is based on that of the Bureau of Ghana Languages. The main ethnic group is the Ewe (68.5%), followed by the Guan (9.2%), the Akan (8.5%) and the Gurma (6.5%). The Guan is made up of over 18 sub-groups while the Akan comprises over 19 sub-groups.
The Gurma has about 8 sub-groups and accounts for about 6.5 per cent of the population. Each of the other ethnic groups in the region (the Ga-Dangme, Mole-Dagbon, Grusi and the Mande-Busanga) represents less than 2.0 per cent of the population.
The Social Structure
The people of the region are organized under chiefs at the lineage and settlement levels. A lineage comprises extended families that trace their genealogy to the same ancestor. The extended families also have heads who are most often the oldest male. Ownership of property is passed on by patrilineal inheritance in 11 of the 12 districts. Some lineages in the Kadjebi and a few in the Jasikan Districts are of the Akan lineage, and practice matrilineal inheritance.
The Volta Regional House of Chiefs, like similar institutions in the other regions, was established by statute in 1958. By Legislative Instrument 991 of 1974, defined the composition of the Volta Regional House of Chiefs to consist of 15 paramount chiefs (in charge of 15 Traditional Councils) and 17 rotating members (from 17 groupings) bringing the total membership to 32.
The Traditional Council is composed of several Area Councils. Basically, the traditional authorities administer stool lands, holding them in trust for the people, and arrange the celebration of traditional festivals. They are also the custodians of traditional beliefs and customs, passed on from one generation to another.
The traditional authorities also have courts which adjudicate on matters relating to stool lands, lineage and family lands, chieftaincy title disputes, violations of traditions and disputes between localities, lineages, families and individuals. In the Volta Region, no Paramount owes allegiance to another Paramount.
The people of the region originally practised the Traditional religion. However, over a century and half ago, with the arrival of Christian missionaries in the region, many have converted to Christianity. While the Ewe, Guan and the Akan are mostly Christians, majority of the Hausa, Kyamba, Kotokoli, Kokomba, Nanumba and Gurma, particularly in the northern districts, are Moslems.
Of a total population of 1,635,421, 67.2 per cent are Christians; 21.8 per cent practise Traditional Religion and 5.1 per cent are Moslems. The proportion of males (66.8%) who subscribe to the Christian faith is, however, slightly lower than that of the females (67.5%). Among the Christian group, the proportion of females (42.0%) in the Protestant and Pentecostal churches is higher than those of the males (40.6%).
A larger proportion of the female population (22.3%) practise traditional religion than males (21.2%); In the case of Islam the reverse is the situation. It shows that a higher proportion of males (5.7%) than females (4.9%) do not subscribe to any religion.