The demographic characteristics of a particular human population include the size of the population, its distribution, composition and the changes as well as the components of changes (migration, fertility, and mortality) that occur in the population at a specific point in time.

These characteristics differ from one population to the other and have great impact on the social and economic conditions of the population. This chapter discusses a number of key demographic characteristics of the district’s population as they were measured in the 2010 Population and Housing Census. The characteristics are namely, size and distribution, age and sex composition, migration, fertility and mortality.

Population Size and Distribution

Table 2.1 presents the distribution of the district’s population by age groups and sex. The district had a total population of 88,402 distributed across all ages and different sexes. The total population consist of 53.0 percent females and 47.0 percent for males.

Out of the total population, persons between the ages of 5-9 years constituted the highest proportion (14.8%) of the population than any other age group, including even the younger age group, 0-4 years. It means that there are more children born in the past 5-9 years than the number of births in the past 0-4 years. This could possibly be as a result of declining fertility.

Looking at the percentage changes between the two age groups (5-9 and 0-4 years) in terms of males and females, the change for males (16.3 to 14.9 percent) is greater than that for females which is from 13.5 to 13.3 percent. It therefore shows that there is a great reduction in the number of males from the age group 5-9 years to 0-4 years than that observed for females. From age group 10-14 years to the other older age-groups, a continuous sharp declined is noticed in the number of persons.

The number of persons found between the ages of 95-99 is therefore the least, constituting only 0.1 percent of the total population.Sex ratio, which is a measure of the number of males per every 100 females in the population, stood at 88.9 for the district. This indicates that the total population is made up of a higher number of females than males. However, it varies from one age group to the other. The highest sex ratio (111.9) is found in the age group, 10 to 14. Other age groups that had sex ratios greater than 100 are 5-9 years, 15-19 years and 90-94 years. The least sex ratio (57.1) occurred in the age group of 95-99 years.

Demographers have observed that the sex ratio at birth is always more than 100 in most populations and that could possibly account for the higher male population between ages 0 and 14 years in the district (Siegel and Swanson, 2004).

The differences occur in older age groups, where the number of females becomes greater than that for males due to differentials in the patterns of mortality and migration for males and females in the population. The age and sex distribution of the population has some implications for socio-economic and demographic development as well as for labour force participation and gender relations in the district.

Age-Sex Structure

Figure 2.1 is a population pyramid which illustrates the age-sex structure of the district. The district had a relatively high proportion of its population within the youthful ages (0-24 years). This is demonstrated by a population pyramid with a broad base and a narrow top which gives it a conical shape. For instance, out of the total population of the district, persons between the ages of 0-24 years alone constituted 60.6 percent.

The median age for the population of district is 18.0 which indicate that half the population of the district is below 18 years old and another half is above 18 years old. The pyramid also shows that a sharper difference occurred in the percentage composition of males from age group 5-9 to 0-4 years, compared to that for females.

The percentages of males and females between 60-64 and 70-74 is higher than the percentages for the younger age groups immediately below them. This could have happened due to age misreporting during the census fieldwork.

The age structure affects general fertility rate and ultimately the nature of changes that are likely to occur in the population. Birth and death rates are influenced by the proportions of people in the different ages. Other things being equal, populations that have comparatively large numbers of elderly are likely to record more deaths and fewer births each year than population of equal size that is made of a large proportion of young people within the reproductive ages.

Age dependency ratio, which is often used to indicate the economic burden which persons in the economically productive ages (15-64 years) have to carry, is calculated based on two important assumptions. The first assumption is that, all persons in the economically productive ages are all working.

The second assumption is that, all persons aged 0-14 or 65 years and older do not work or cannot work and therefore depend on others who are in the productive ages. In reality however, some people in the economically productive ages do not work and others in the dependent ages do work. Based on those assumptions, the age dependency ratio for the district is 99.0 as indicated in Table 2.2.

This implies that each individual in the economically productive ages has to work to support almost about one other person in the dependent age groups (0- 14 years old and 65 years and older). A dependency ratio which is far lower than 100 is usually preferable to a higher ratio for any economy because a lower ratio shows less economic burden on those within the economically productive ages and thereby promotes savings on income.

A dependency ratio higher than 100 indicates that, each person in the economically productive ages has more than one person in the dependent age groups to support. It also indicates a higher economic burden on those who in the economically productive ages. Age dependency ratio among males in the district is higher (112.3) than that for females (88.6). Also, the ratio for urban dwellers (66.4) is lower than that for the district and rural dwellers (105.8).

Table 2.3 gives the distribution of the district’s population by types of localities and by sex. The district’s population of 88,402 constituted 12.6 percent of the regional population. Whereas the urban population of the district also constituted 11.1 percent of the total urban population of the region, that for rural population constituted a slightly higher percentage of 12.9.

Also, out of the total population of the district, females constituted the majority (53.0%) and the remaining 47.0 percent are the males. The total population of persons who are in urban localities of the district is 12,716, out of which a larger percentage of 54.9 are females and the 45.1 percent are the males. The number of females also formed a larger percentage (52.6) of the district’s rural population than males.

Fertility, Mortality and Migration

The demographic variables- migration, fertility and mortality are referred to as the main components of population change and each of these components is influenced by a number of factors. In the 2010 Population and Housing Census, data was collected on each of these components of the population and the next few paragraphs are devoted to examining these data.


Fertility is the actual production of children. It is defined as the number of live births women have during their reproductive life time. In the 2010 Population and Housing Census, the data on fertility are collected from females aged 12 years and older. Table 2.4 presents the data on fertility indicators for the Jirapa district, compared with the other districts and the region.

Total fertility rate is a measure of the average number of children that would be born alive to a woman throughout her reproductive life span, given the assumptions that; she would survive the full period of her child bearing ages and that she would follow the fertility performance of each age group of women during the child bearing ages. The total fertility rate for the Jirapa district is 3.5, which is the same as the regional rate (3.5). Sissala West District had the highest total fertility rate (4.3) among the districts in the region and Wa West District had the second highest rate. The total fertility rate (2.9) is recorded in Sissala East District.

The other fertility measures presented on the table include general fertility rate (GFR) and crude birth rate (CBR). Whereas the CBR indicates the number of live births per 1,000 of the population in a given year, the GFR is the number of live births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 49 years in a given year.

The birth rate is termed “Crude birth rate” because it relates births to the general population, even including those at the age and sex groups who are not at risk of given birth. The GFR, which is more refined, is therefore a better measure to use for comparing the fertility of different populations.

From the table 13, the GFR for the Jirapa District is 100.2, which is higher than the regional rate of 97.4. Wa Municipal had the lowest GFR (82.6) among all the districts, a rate which is also lower than that of the region. Sissala West also had the highest GFR (124.0) among all the districts in the region. The crude birth rate for the district is 23.4. Lawra District had the lowest CBR (19.8), while the Sissala West District recorded the highest rate of 28.2.

In Table 2.5, the number of children ever born to females aged 12 years and older by various age groups and the number of children surviving are presented by sex segregation. From the table, more males (51,264) were ever born than females (49,499) to women aged 12 years and older in the district. Out of these numbers, 40,283 males and 40,025 females are surviving at the time of the census. Considering the different age groups, the highest number of children ever born is recorded for 60 years and older group.

To make for easy comparison among the number of children ever born to different age groups of women and the number of those children surviving currently, averages for the number of children ever born and survival rates are computed from table 2.5 and presented as in table 2.6.

The number of children surviving, out of the number children ever born, measures the level of mortality in the population. Females had a slightly higher survival rate (79.7) than males (78.3). The lowest survival rate is recorded for children ever born to women aged 60 years and older. Each of the sexes also recorded its lowest survival rate for children ever born by mothers at that same age group. The highest survival rate (91.1) is observed for children ever born to females aged 25 to 29 years. The rate for males and females ever born to mothers at that age are 89.6 and 92.5 respectively.

It is also observed that, from ages 25-29 years, the survival rate for children ever born reduces as the females ages increased. The highest survival rate for male children ever born (100.0) is recorded for females aged 12 to 14 years while that for females ever born to female mothers aged 25-29 years. Finally, the average number of children ever born to all females aged 12 years and older is 2.9.

The highest average number of children ever born (5.6) is to mothers between ages 55 and 59 and the lowest is to mothers aged 12 to 14 years. Generally, the average number of children ever born increases as the mothers progress in age toward the completion of their child bearing ages, as observed in table 2.6. When the average number of children ever born is computed for women at the end of the reproductive period, (40 to 49 years) that number is considered as completed family size.


Mortality refers to deaths that occur within a population. The probability of dying depends on a number of factors such as age, sex, race, occupation and social class of the person. The incidence of death can give some indication about standard of living of a population and the efficiency of health care provided. Like crude birth rate, the crude death rate is simply the number of deaths that occur in a population within a given year. The measure does not take into account factors such as age and sex which could bring about variations in death rates between regions, districts and countries.

Table 2.7 gives the crude death rates for the various districts of the Upper West region. The Jirapa District recorded a total of 938 deaths within the year 2010 and a crude death rate of 10.6. The highest crude death rate 11.7 is recorded in Nadowli District while the lowest rate (5.0) is recorded in Wa Municipality.

The census data also indicated specific causes of the deaths that occurred during the year 2010 and these have been categorized into two. As presented in Table 2.8, deaths are either categorized as due to accident/violence/homicide and suicide which are human related causes of deaths or all other causes which include diseases and pregnancy related or natural causes.

In the Jirapa District, 92.2 percent of all deaths that occurred in 2010 are due to other causes other than human causes such as accident/violence/homicide or suicide. Wa West recorded the highest percentage (10.2) of deaths that occurred due to accidents/violence/homicide or suicide. The Jirapa District had 7.8 percent of all its deaths occurring as a result of accident/violence/homicide or suicide.

Age specific 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, for example deaths among the under-five year-age group to the population in that age group (less than five years) multiplied by 1,000. The age specific death rates for various age groups of the district are presented in figure 2.2. It is observed that the death rate for females is higher than that for males for the ages 14 – 24 years.

At younger ages, the death rate for males less than five years is far higher than that for females. Even though both rates started to decrease from age five and older, that for females decreased more sharply than the rate for males, bringing them to almost equal level between ages 5-9 years and 10-14 years.

Between the ages of 10-14 years also, the lowest death rates (almost close to zero) are recorded for both males and females. The death rates start to increase for both sexes from 10-14 years age group but faster for males than females. The highest death rates for both males and females are recorded among persons aged 70 years and older, but the rate for males is higher than that of females.


Migration refers to geographic movement of people across a specified boundary for the purpose of establishing a new permanent or semi - permanent residence. Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons are not considered as migrants. There are two main types of migration- internal migration which involves movement within the same country and international migration which involves movement between countries.

Table 2.9 presents information on internal migrants who are enumerated in the district. A total of 11,931 migrants are enumerated in the district. Out of that total number, 7,236 (representing 60.6%) of them are born elsewhere in the region while the remaining 39.4% are born elsewhere in another region. Among all the migrants, the number of those who are resident in the district for 20 years or more constituted the highest percentage of 28.5. The least percentage, 14.7, is for those resident in the district for a period between five and nine years.

Among those migrants who are born elsewhere in another region either than the Upper West Region, there are more people born in the Brong-Ahafo Region (2,279) than in any of the other regions. The number of those born in Ashanti Region (916) is the second largest while the number born in Volta Region (44) is the least. These migrants born elsewhere in other regions had resided in the district for varying periods of time.

Among the number of migrants who are born in the Western and Greater Accra regions for instance, the greatest percentages (30.9 and 30.2 respectively) of them had resided in the District for 20 or more years. Greater percentages of migrants born in five other regions, Volta (38.6), Ashanti (26.5), Brong Ahafo (31.2), Northern (31.4) and Upper East (32.3) had resided in the district for a period between one to four years.


Date Created : 4/10/2018 5:50:45 AM