Demographic Features

The population of the Region is 1,046,545, which is less than one twentieth (4.2%) of the national population. This however is an increase of 13.7 percent over the 2000 figure of 920,089, which is the lowest rate of increase among all the Regions in the country. The inter censual growth rate of 1.2 percent per annum is slightly below one-half of the national growth rate of 2.5 percent and is the lowest Regional growth rate recorded.

The Region?s population density of 118.4 persons per square kilometre is higher than the national density of 103.4 persons per square kilometre and ranks fifth in the country. The Region is one of the least urbanized in the country with only 21.0 percent of the population living in urban communities.

The Region?s population in terms of its numbers, age structure and sex distribution reflects on indicators such as growth rate, doubling time, labour force and dependency ratio. Changes in any population are brought about through the dynamics of fertility, mortality and migration.

The 2010 Population and Housing Census, as all the previous post independence censuses was a "defacto" count of all the persons present in the country (and consequently in the Upper East Region) on the reference date, 26th September 2010.

The objective of this chapter embraces the analysis of:

· The size or number of persons in the Region;

· The distribution or arrangement of this number geographically into Districts, communities and urban and rural localities;

· The distribution of this number according to age and sex (age/sex structure ); and

· The "growth" (increase or decline) of the total population or one of its structural units between census periods.


The main source of data is the 2010 Population and Housing Census. Where the information is available and relevant, the size and age/sex structure of the Region, from previous censuses, (1960, 1970, 1984 and 2000) have been provided.

Population Size and Growth

Regional Population

The population of the Region rose from 920,089 in 2000 to 1,046,545 in 2010, an increase of 13.7 percent. The 2010 Regional figure, however, is lower than one twentieth (4.2 %) of the national population (Table 3.1).

The Region?s inter-censal growth rate of 1.2 percent per annum is slightly below one-half the national growth rate of 2.5 percent and is the second lowest growth rate recorded for the Region over the years. It is also the lowest inter-censal growth rate for the period 2000 to 2010 compared to all the other Regions.

In addition to recording the lowest Regional inter-censal growth rate, the Region's share of the total national population continues to decline from its highest proportionate share of 6.9 percent in 1960 to the 2010 level of 4.2 percent.

In terms of density, the Region's population density rose from 104.1 persons per square kilometre in 2000 to 118.4 in 2010. It is higher than the national density of 103.4 persons per square kilometre and ranks fifth on the country's Regional density ladder. Given that Upper East is largely rural, the Region presents the highest rural density in the country.

District Populations

The Region's population of 1,046,545 is not evenly distributed among the nine Districts. Table 3.2 shows that five Districts have populations of 100,000 or more (ranging from 109,944 for the Kassena Nankana East District to 217,791 for the Bawku Municipal Distrtict). Kasena Nankana West District has the smallest share of the Region?s population (6.8%) followed by Bongo District (8.1%)

Inter-censal growth rates and changes in population sizes from 1960 to 2010 are not available for the Districts because since the change from the Local Authority system of administration to the District Assembly system in 1988, new Districts continue to be established and only the Regional boundaries have remained unchanged.

For example, the six existing Districts at the time of the 2000 census were increased by three to nine, and subsequently, as a result of the 2010 census, the nine have been increased to thirteen in 2012.

Urban and Rural Distribution

The Urban status of a community is based on population size only. Localities with persons 5,000 or more are classified as urban. On the basis of this definition, the population is primarily rural (79.0%). At the national level, the proportion of urban population increased from 23.0 percent in 1960 to 28.9 percent in 1970, 32.0 percent in 1984, 43.8 percent in 2000 and 50.9 percent in 2010. Thus, for the first time in the history of the country, more than half (50.9%) of the population live in urban areas. In terms of Regional analysis, there were increases in population of urban communities in all the Regions.

In the Upper East Region, the proportion of the population urban increased steadily from 3.9 percent in 1960 to7.3 percent in 1970. Over the forty years period from 1970 to 2010, the urban population increased three-fold to embrace one out of every five persons in the Region (21.0%). Despite this growth in the urban population, the Region is one of the two with an urban population below 30 percent.

Three of the Districts (Bolgatanga Municipality, Bawku Municipality, and Kasena Nakana East) have urban populations higher

than the Regional figure of 21.0 percent (Table 3.3)

Age and Sex Structure

The two population characteristics that receive most attention in demographic analysis are age and sex. There is little doubt about the importance of age composition. Almost all population characteristics and processes, many types of planning in both the public and private sectors require separate population data for males and females. The balance of the sexes affects social and economic relationships within a community; social roles and cultural patterns may be affected by significant imbalances between the two sexes. In fact, almost all demographic, social and economic activities, statuses and roles are based on age and sex specific entry and exit points.

Age Structure

Table 3.4 shows the age structure of the Region in five year age-groups. The age structure follows the national pattern of a large proportion below 15 years and a small proportion of elderly persons 65 years and above. One of the most important issues in any discussion of the population factor in development in Ghana is the youthful nature of the population and its expected attendant large dependency burden. In the Region children aged less than 5 years constitute 13.9 percent of the total population and those aged less than 15 years (0-14 years) represent 41.5 percent of the population. Youths aged between 15 and 19 years make up an additional 11.1 percent. The elderly population (65 years and older) constitutes only 6.8 percent of the Region?s population. The population under 20 years of age recorded in the 2010 census is 52.6 percent.

Since the proportion of the population below 20 years is higher than 50 percent, it implies that the median age for the Region is below 20 years. It is estimated to be 19 years (Table 3.5).

The observed age structure in 2010 does not differ appreciably from that which was obtained in 2000. For example, the population below 15 years was 43.4 percent in 2000 and 41.5 percent in 2010. A peculiar feature of the Region's age structure is that, with respect to the aged population (aged 60 years and older), the Upper East Region is the only Region that recorded increases in the proportion of people in this age category for all the census years from 1960 to 2010.

Age Structure of the Districts

Table 3.5 provides information on the age structure by five year age groups for the Districts. In addition to the absolute numbers in each District, the table provides derived useful information for data users. The table shows that the age-based dependent population is about one-half the total population in each District. The table also provides information on the population eighteen years and older which can serve as a useful at a glance reference on the plausibility of official voters? numbers. In the Region and each District, the population 18 years and older is at least fifty percent of the population

Age Structure by Sex

The Age Structure for the sexes shows that, in the Region, there are more females (51.6%) than males (48.4%) in 2010; this is similar to the national proportion of 51.2 percent females. The age structure for the sexes, however, varies by age. The percentage of males in the age group 0-14 years (44.3%) is higher than that of females (38.9%) while the percentage of females in the age group 15-64 years (53.5%) is higher than that of males (49.7%). Among the elderly, 65 years and older, the percentage of females (7.5%) is higher than that of males (6.2%). This is in conformity with what pertains almost everywhere in the world; females normally outlive males.

Age Dependency Ratio

The age dependency ratio is conventionally defined as the population aged less than 15 years and 65 years and older divided by the population in the 15-64 years age group multiplied by 100. The bigger this ratio, the larger the economic burden the potential working population has to bear.

The age dependency ratio measures dependency on the basis of age only. It assumes that all persons aged 0-14 years or 65 years and above do not work or cannot work and are therefore dependent on others. It also assumes that all persons aged 15-64 years are working and therefore not dependent on others. This in reality is not the true situation. The age dependency ratio, nationally, has seen a steady decline over the forty-years period from the 1970 figure of 102 to 76 in 2010.

According to the Ghana Statistical Service, the steady decline is a positive occurrence since it means that the number of people working to look after non-working people is increasing in the Ghanaian population" (National Report 2012 Chapter 3).

However, the situation is different in the Upper East Region, where the magnitude of the decline between 2000 and 2010 is smaller. In the Region, the dependency ratio rose from 96.7 in 1984 to 99.2 in 2000 and declined to 93.7 in 2010. Table 3.6 shows that in four of the Districts, (Garu Tempane, Bawku West, Bawku Municipality and Bongo), the dependency ratios are higher than the Regional figure of 93.7.

Population Pyramid

The Population Pyramid is a graphical presentation of the Region?s age structure by sex. The Pyramid shows that there is a high tendency for female ages to be rough like the edges of a chain saw than of males, indicating that, in addition to out-migration, a higher percentage of females than males, may have been shifted into other age groups as a result of age misreporting (Fig 3.1).

The big dent in the age groups 15–19 may be a reflection of the escalating independent migration of teenagers from the north to the south popularly known as the “kayayei phenomenon”. The more prominent female dent may also confirm the female dominance in the kayayie phenomenon. 31

Sex Ratio

The sex ratio is defined as the number of males per 100 females. At the national level, the sex ratio has made gradual but steady declines from 98.5 in 1970 to 97.9 in 2000 and 95.2 in 2010. The opposite trend prevails in the Upper East Region where the sex ratio has made gradual but steady increases from 90.8 males per 100 females in 1970 to 92.6 in 2000 and 93.8 in 2010. Table 3.7 shows that, in 2010, four Districts (Builsa, Kasena Nankana West, Kasena Nankana East and Talensi Nabdam) have sex ratios higher than the Regional figure of 93.8.

Sex Ratio by Age

In Ghana generally, and in the Upper East Region in particular, it is an accepted fact that male births outnumbers female births. However, the mortality rates for females have a

tendency to be lower than that of males throughout the lifespan, especially at advanced ages. Therefore, the sex ratio (s) of the Region should decline from one age group to the other with advancing age. For the Upper East Region, the sex ratios obtained from the 2010 census do not reflect the expected pattern. For example, Table 3.8 shows that the ratio for the age-group 10-14 (108.9) is higher than that for age-group 5-9 (105.1).

The table also reveals a steep drop in the sex ratio from 108.4 for the age-group 15-19 to 95.1 for the age-group 20-24. This pattern is also observed at the national level and, therefore, is not likely to be the result of only mortality or migration out of the Region. From the age-group 35-39 onwards however, fluctuations are observed


Date Created : 11/29/2017 6:02:31 AM