Ghana is the first African country south of the Sahara to
achieve independence in 1957.
Ghana lies at the heart of a region which has been leading sub-Saharan African culture since the first millennium BC in metal-working, mining, sculpture and agriculture.
Ghanaians belong to a large number of ethnic groups, approximately 100
ethno linguistic groups such as Akan (Asante, Fante, Akuapem, Bono, Denkyira),
Dagomba, Ewe, Guan, Ga-Adangme, Wala, Builsa, Dagaaba. These are further
subdivided into numerous cultural and linguistic units.
Under Akan, there are the Fantes, the Akuapems, the Kwahus, the Asante, the Akyims, the Denkyiras, the Akwamus and so forth. And within these groupings, there are sub divisions, as in tribes, clans and families.
Among the Ga-Adangme, there are the Gas, the Krobos, and the Adas.
In the three Northern Regions, there are the Dagarti, the Sisala, the Mamprusi, the Dagomba, the Konkomba and the Frafra among others.
Other groupings are the Guans, who are found all over Ghana, the Eves, who are not only in Ghana, but in Togo and Benin as well, and the Nzema who are also in The Ivory Coast.
All these groupings have different attendant dialects like Twi, Fanti, Asante, Nzema, Ga, Ewe, Dagbani, and Guan. English, however, is the official language widely spoken throughout Ghana.
The population of Ghana stands at “18,845,265, an increase of 53.3% over the 1984 population of 12,296,081 and represents a growth rate of 2.6% per year” according to Dr. K. A. Twum Baah, Acting Government Statistician and Census Coordinator.
“The most populous region is Ashanti which has 19.1% of total population. It is followed by Greater Accra (15.4%), and then Eastern Region (11.2%) densely populated region with 894.8 persons per square kilometre followed by Central (162.2) and Ashanti (147.6)”.
In spite of the considerable increase in the level of urbanization since 1984 (43.9% in 2000) compared to 32.0% in 1984) the rest of the country, except Greater Accra and Ashanti remain largely rural.
The predominant ethnic group is Akan (49.1%) followed by Mole Dagbani (16.5%), Ewe (12.7%) and Ga Adangme (8.0%).
Females constitute 50.0% of total population compared to 50.7% in 1984. Also, it is known, says the Census Coordinator, that there are more males than females at birth, but there are more male deaths at all ages, so that the sex ratio should show a gradual decrease with age.
The proportion of children is 40% in 1984, and the proportion of elderly has jumped from 4% in 1984 to 5.3 in 2000, the latter jumps is due to improved heath services and life expectance.
The results of all these changes are that the dependency population reduced from 49% in 1984 to 46.1% in 2000.
There are three main religious groups in Ghana: Traditional, 45%; Christian, 43%; and Moslem, 12% of the population. Churches of most major Christian denominations and mosques can be found in every region.
To the people of Ghana, the traditions of their ancestors are still an important part of their daily life. Traditional chiefs have historical authority over tribal and family matters. They are also custodians of land belonging to their respective clans or groups.
Important events such as child naming, puberty initiations, marriage and death are marked by rites and rituals at family gathering, while seasonal festivals bring a whole people or clan together.