Population ageing in Ghana: A profile and emerging issues

  • E.O. Tawiah Regional Institute for Population Studies University of Ghana


Population ageing in Ghana is a consequence of a gradual fertility decline which is also occurring in many sub-Saharan African countries. Data from the 2005/2006 Ghana Living Standards Survey show that the percentage of the elderly (persons aged 60 years and above) has increased from 4.9 in 1960 to 5.3 in 1970, 5.8 in 1984 and 7.2 in 2000. Median age has increased from 17 years in 1970 to 18.1 years in 1984 and 19.4 years in 2000, implying a 14.1 percentage increase in 30 years. Socio-economic indicators show that elderly females are more vulnerable and disadvantaged than their male counterparts due in part to low educational attainment resulting in low female participation in the formal sector with its attendant low remuneration and inadequate retirement package. One important emerging issue is the branding of elderly females as witches and subjecting them to abuse and torture in certain parts of the country. This harmful practice infringes upon the human rights of these women and the government of Ghana should do well to abolish the witches’ camps. A large proportion of workers engaged in the informal sector of the economy do not contribute to the Social Security Scheme and this makes it extremely difficult for them to cater for their needs in old age particularly when the extended family is unable to provide support and care. The government of Ghana should make strenuous efforts to bridge the gap between producing a concise National Ageing Policy and its implementation.