Pay attention to Accra’s ‘bloated’ population – Assistant Chief Statistician to Gov’t

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The Assistant Chief Statistician at the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), Johnson Owusu Kagya, has called on policy makers to pay attention to Greater Accra’s swelling population.

Speaking on Angel FM’s Anɔpa Bɔfoɔ Morning Show on September 23, 2020, he expressed shock that the Greater Accra Region has overtaken Ashanti Region as the most populated region in the 2021 Population Census.

“I am surprised that Greater Accra has become the most populous region. Over the years, the Ashanti Region has always led as the most populated region. Even though the increase for Accra is marginal, it is imperative that policy makers monitor it keenly given the difference between now and 2010”,  Owusu Kagya said.

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Data from the 2010 Population and Housing Census (PHC) shows that in 2010, the Ashanti Region led as the most populated region with a total of 4,780,380 people constituting 19.4% while Greater Accra followed suit with 4,010,054 people, which constitutes 16.3% of the total population.

However, the Greater Accra Region with 5,446,237 people has usurped the Ashanti Region which has 5,432,485 in the 2021 population census.

According to the Assistant Chief Statistician, policy makers must “de-stress” the region due to its small land size which has increased its population density.

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He attributed Accra’s swelling population to the phenomenon of Rural-Urban drift, where the youth migrate to Accra in search of employment opportunities.

“Fertility and mortality rates are also contributory factors although the GSS is yet to make analysis to find out the real causes”, he added.

Per the GSS’ statistics, Greater Accra Region has a high population density of 16 thousand people per square Kilometer; while Ashanti Region, comparatively, is sparsely populated with 202 persons per square Kilometer.

Again, data from from the 2010 Population and Housing Census (PHC) indicates that Greater Accra with an area size of 3,245 square Kilometers had the highest population density of 1,236 persons per square Kilometer.

Ashanti Region came second with 196 persons per square Kilometer though it was the most populated region in 2010.

Meanwhile, some members of the public have over the years called for Accra to be decongested.

Prominent among them is Kojo Akoto Boateng of Omni Media, who tweeted that, “Accra as a city is not efficient, consistent or sufficient. It is just a big mess. Maybe we should reduce the investment in Accra and channel the funds into making the Koforidua’s, Sunyani’s, Buipe’s, Hohoe’s,…..If we develop 15 productive towns and mini-cities in the North and Volta, the population and congestion can drop by about 10 to 20%. Fix a handful in Central and Western and you reduce it further by about 5 to 10%”.

Some members of the public also shared their opinions as follows:

“I think decentralization and opening of same economic opportunities, that is, markets, administrative offices in other regions will depopulate Accra.It’s populated because Accra has all the jobs and viable opportunities”.

Another female suggested that “if we have good schools and hospitals like Korle-Bu in other regions, people won’t ran to Accra”.

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