Generally, a country?s population size and age-sex composition has broad ranging consequences for a number of socio-economic indicators. The changes in a country?s population are mainly through fertility, mortality and migration, which to a large extent, are influenced by age-sex composition. The 2010 Population and Housing Census (PHC), like all other previous censuses undertaken in the country, was a "de-facto" count of each person present in Ghana irrespective of nationality.
Population size, age and sex

composition/distribution of every society have varied implications for development planning such as health, education, transportation and overall welfare of the people. The objective of this chapter is to analyze the size, composition, and age and sex structure of the population of North Gonja District as captured by the 2010 PHC.

Population Size and Distribution

Table 2.1 shows the age and sex composition/distribution of the population in North Gonja District. The 2010 PHC indicates that the District has a total population of 43,547 made up of 49.6 percent males and 50.4 percent females. Out of the total population, a majority of the population, i.e., 37,037 (85.1%) resides in the rural areas with the remaining 6,510 (14.9%) in the urban areas.

Age-Sex Structure

Sex Ratio and Population Pyramid Age and sex structure of a population are vital characteristics of a population which influence many demographic issues. Understanding the age and sex structure of a population yields insights into the dynamics of the population composition and highlights on socio-economic challenges

Age-sex structure

Table further shows that, male children age 0-4 years represent 18.6 percent while their female counterparts make up 17.6 percent. This implies that there are more males at birth than females. As the age increases, female populations tend to dominate from 20-39 years whilst the reverse is true between ages 40 and 79 years for the males. This pattern is, however, contrary to expectation, because in general females tend to live longer than their male counterparts. The number of people within age group 15-64 years is 21,041, representing 48.0 percent males and 52.0 percent females. The age group 65+ is also made up of 50.9 percent males and 49.1 percent females.

Sex ratio

Sex ratio is the ratio of males to females in a given population, usually expressed as the number of males for every 100 females. The District has a sex ratio of 98.3. This implies that for every 100 females, there are 98 males. Age group 0-4 years has a sex ratio of 103.7 which conforms with the biological expectation of more males than females at birth. As the Table indicates, age group 65-69 has the highest sex ratio of 130.9 whilst age group 25-29 recorded the least sex ratio of 70.2. For the 2010 Population and Housing Census, the expected pattern of steady decline in the sex ratios is not witnessed in the District but fluctuates throughout the various age groups.

Age dependency ratio

Dependency ratio is the ratio of persons in the “dependent” ages (generally under age 15 and over age 64) to those in the “economically productive” ages (15-64 years) in a population (Population Reference Bureau?s Handbook; 5th Edition). Data in Table 2.2 shows that, the District has a general dependency ratio of 107. Males register a higher dependency ratio of 113.9 compared to 100.6 for females. In terms of locality, the rural areas have a higher dependency ratio of 108.5 as against 98.5 in the urban areas, which may be due to the higher fertility recorded in the rural areas compared to the urban localities in the country.

Population pyramid

A population pyramid is a graphical representation of the population by age and sex. Figure 2.1 is a population pyramid of North Gonja District in 2010 based on the 2010 PHC. It depicts North Gonja District as having a youthful population structure with a broad base, consisting of large numbers of children and a conical top of a small number of elderly persons.

It is important to note that the population witnesses decreasing numbers with each advancing age as in ages 0 to 59 years. The numbers, however, fluctuate from 59 to 69 years and assume no difference between males and females thereafter. It is also worthy of note that among the population less than 20 years, the male population out-numbers the female population. However, the reverse is the case within ages 20 to 44 years. This may be due to high levels of out-migration of the male population within these ages from the District to other Districts in the region or to other regions for educational or economic reasons.

Fertility, Mortality and Migration
Fertility, mortality and migration are factors that influence population growth at a particular point in time. Data on these three components are critical for planning the overall socioeconomic development of the District. The interactions of these components determine the size and structure of population. While fertility causes an increase in the size of the population through births, mortality on the other hand leads to a reduction in the size of the population through deaths. However, unlike fertility and mortality, migration affects the population size and structure in two areas; the area of in-migration as well as the area of out migration.


Fertility is directly determined by a number of factors that, in turn, are affected by many social, cultural, economic, health, and other environmental factors. Therefore, the actual reproductive performance of an individual, a couple, a group, or a population is referred to as fertility. This is different from general fertility rate which is the number of live births per 1,000 women aged 15-49 years in a given year.

Table 2.3 reveals that, the North Gonja District has 9,935 women within the age group 15-49 years with number of live births in the last 12 months preceding the 2010 Population and Housing Census being 1,349 children.

The TFR is the average number of children that would be born to a woman by the time she ends childbearing if she were to pass through all her childbearing years conforming to the age-specific fertility rates of a given year. The District has a TFR of 5.3 which is the highest in the Northern Region and GFR of 135.8 in the region which also the highest in the region. This implies that there are 135.8 births per 1,000 women aged 15-49 in the District and is higher than the regional average of 102. Birth rate is the number of live births per 1,000 people in a given year. CBR is, however, computed for the whole population. The North Gonja District has a CBR of 31.1 which is the highest in the region as well and higher than the regional average CBR of 24.

Table 2.4 indicates the total female population 12 years and older of the North Gonja District as 13,214 with 32,988 children ever born, comprising of 17,229 males and 15,759 females. Out of this number, 28,026 are surviving made up of 14,564 males and 13,462 females. The data from Table 2.3 also show that, a total of 374 children were reported to be ever born to females of ages 12-14 and 15-19 years, representing 1.1 percent of all children ever born in the District. Generally, there are more male children ever born and surviving than female children in the District in all the age groups except the 12-14 year-group.

The differences in the number of children ever born and children surviving by age group explain the pattern of mortality among the population. The survival rate in the District is 85.0 percent with males? survival rate being 84.5 percent compared to 85.4 percent among the females. It is also shown that survival rate of children born to mothers less than 15 years is the lowest (77.8%).

The comparison by sex indicates that the male children in these ages suffer from a higher mortality compared to their female counterparts as is demonstrated by the relatively lower survival rate for the males as opposed to the females. This can be attributed to the fact that females within 12-14 years are very young and physically not matured enough for child bearing, thereby exposing their infants and themselves to a higher risk of dying compared to those within the age group 25-29 years who have the highest child?s survival rate of 90.0 percent.


Data on mortality provide an indication of the health status of the population as well as measure of the living conditions of the people. It also provides information on the potential growth of the population in the future. Several interventions over the years, including enhancing access to quality health care services, improving food security and improving environmental conditions, among others have been done by government and development agencies to reduce the prevailing high levels of mortality. Mortality during the 2010 PHC took into consideration crude death rates and age specific death rate in the North Gonja district. Alternatively, mortality refers to the incidence of death or the number of deaths in a population. Mortality Rates are generally expressed as the number of deaths per 1000 individuals per year.

Death in the households 

Table 2.5 shows that in 2010, the Northern Region recorded a total of 14,715 household deaths with a crude death rate of 5.9 per 1,000 population. The North Gonja District recorded 247 household deaths and a crude death rate of 5.7, which is slightly lower than the regional average.

Age-specific death rate by sex


Death rates are calculated for specific age groups in order to compare mortality at different ages or at the same age over time. The age-specific death rate is computed as a ratio of deaths of people in a specified age group. The results, presented in Figure 2.2, show that the neonatal death rate among both males and females is high with the males recording a higher death rate than their female counterparts except at ages 15-24 and 35-39 where it is higher among the females than the males. This could be the effect of maternal mortality, which women within these age groups are likely to suffer from. Age-specific death rate for either males or females declines up to age 15-19 years and thereafter fluctuates. 

The variation in mortality between the sexes is, however, more visible at age 40 years and above where the males exhibit a much higher mortality compared with their female counterparts.

Distribution on causes of death 

Table 2.6 presents information on the causes of death in North Gonja District, Northern Region and Ghana as a whole. Data collected on causes of death during the 2010 Population and Housing Census are grouped into two different categories: deaths caused by accident/violence/homicide/suicide and all other causes on one hand. The Table shows that accidents/violence/homicide/suicide accounted is 36 and 211 for all other cause of deaths in the North Gonja district.


Migration is the spatial movement of people across a specified boundary resulting in permanent or semi-permanent change of residence. Along with fertility and mortality, migration is a component of population change. The terms “immigration” and “emigration” are used to refer to movements between countries (international migration). The parallel terms “in-migration” and “out-migration” are used for movement between areas within a country (internal migration). 

Table 2.7 indicates that the District has a total migrant population of 2,576 out of which 1,426 were born elsewhere in the Northern Region where the District is located. Of the migrants who were born elsewhere in the region, 28.9 percent of the people have lived at their places of enumeration for 1-4 years and 15.6 percent for 20 years or more. Table 2.7 also indicates that Upper East Region (144) is the major source of migrants born elsewhere in North Gonja District at the time of the 2010 PHC while Western Region (W/R) recorded the least number of these migrants. With regard to migrants born outside Ghana, 689 persons are recorded and out of this number, 38.6 percent reports of duration of residence in the District between one and four years and 10.2 percent for 20 years and above.


Date Created : 11/21/2017 8:01:14 AM