Ghanaian people


Total population
c. 24,000,000
Regions with significant populations
Ghana Republic of Ghana : 20 million (2013 estimate)[1][2]
 South Africa 2,000,000 (2010) [n1][3]
 Jamaica 1,000,000 (2012) [n1][4]
 Brazil 442,189 (2013) [n1][5]
 United States 116,807 (2011) [n1][6]
 United Kingdom 93,000 (2011) [n1][7]
 Italy 50,414 (2015) [n1][8][9][10]
 Netherlands 40,000 (2003) [n1][9][11]
 Suriname 31,400 (2014) [n1][12]
 Germany 29,590 (2015) [n1][13]
 Canada 23,225 (2006) [n1][9][14]
 French Guiana 19,200 (2014) [n1][9][15]
 Spain 12,699 (2007) [n1][16]
 Lebanon 10,297 (2013) [n1][17]
 France 10,000 (2007) [n1][18]
 Belgium 5600 (2015) [n1]
 Australia 3,866 (2011) [n1][19]
 Israel 3,000 (2003) [n1][20]
 Japan 2,524 (2010) [n1][21]
 Norway 2,424 (2014) [n1][22]
 Sweden 1,754 (2009) [n1][23]
 Denmark 1,600 (2015) [n1][24]
 Guyana 850 (2014) [n1][25]
 Cuba 533 (2011) [n1][26]
 Turkey 500 (2012) [n1]
 New Zealand 277 (2007) [n1][27]
 Russia 200 (2011) [n1][28]
Related ethnic groups

^[n1] Ghanaian citizens or Ghanaian card nationals.

The Ghanaian people are a nationality originating in the Ghanaian Gold Coast. Ghanaians predominantly inhabit the republic of Ghana, and are the predominant cultural group and residents of Ghana, numbering 20 million people as of 2013.[1][2] Ethnic Ghanaians make up 85.4% of the total population.[1][2] The word, "Ghana", means "Warrior King".[31]

Approximately 20 million Ghanaians are residents of the Fourth Republic of Ghana;[1][2] an additional estimated diaspora population of 4 million people worldwide are of Ghanaian descent.[32] The term ethnic Ghanaian may also be used in some contexts to refer to a locus of ethnic groups native to the Gold Coast.[33] The Republic of Ghana is a natural resource, mineral resource and fossil fuel-rich nation and is home to one of the world's largest gold and sweet crude oil reserves and they are the second major producers of cocoa in the world.[34]

The Republic of Ghana is an economical powerhouse in West Africa,[35] and has one of the biggest economies on the African continent and one of the world's fastest growing economies.[36]

Origin, ethnogenesis and history

The origin and ethnogenesis of the ancient ethnic Ghanaians is traced back to nomadic migration from Nubia along the Sahara desert then south to the Gold Coast, and the Ghanaian ethnogenesis taking place on the Ghanaian Gold Coast region from the 10th century AD to the 16th century AD.[37] The Ghanaians started a lucrative trade with Ghanaian gold bars and other Ghanaian natural minerals to the Portuguese in 1471; and then the Ghanaians became the wealthiest ethnic group and nation state on the African continent from the 17th century onwards following successful further expansion of lucrative Ghanaian gold bars trading to the Dutch, Prussian and Scandinavians from the 16th century through to the 20th century.[38]

The Ghanaians established a number of powerful kingdoms from the 10th century AD to the 17th century and the Ghanaians became the dominant military power in the west of Africa.[38] In 1902, the powerful Ghanaian kingdoms had all become a colony of Britain and their powerful kingdoms was renamed Gold Coast following a series of military battles between the Ghanaians and the British.[38] The Ghanaians gained their independence from Britain in 1957, and renamed their sovereign state "Ghana (Warrior King)" due to the fact that pre-historic Republic of Ghana was ruled by warriors.[39] The Republic of Ghana was the first African country to gain independence from European colonization.[40]


Main article: Demographics of Ghana

Out of Ghana's 2013 population of 20 million people in 2013,[1][2] more than ninety percent of the Ghanaian citizens in Ghana live in urban areas – a figure higher than the world average. The rate of Ghana's population growth is at the world average.[29]

National identity and citizenship

The inhabitants of Ghana possessing Ghanaian passports are 20 million persons, including an additional 3‒4 million persons abroad. Ghana has a diverse population that reflects its colourful history and the peoples who have populated the region from ancient times to the present, with the historic amalgam of the main groups forming the basis of Ghana's current demographics. Native West Africans make up 98% percent of the population.[41][42][43] There is also a new population of Asians, Middle Easterners, Europeans and other recent immigrants.[44]

To obtain Ghanaian nationality, one must be naturalized after seven years of Ghana Card permanent residency.[44] The Asians, Middle Easterners and Europeans who have lived in Ghana for most of their lives have acquired Ghanaian citizenship, which is granted without any discrimination.[44] 67.1% of Ghanaians speak English.[29][45] There are over 100 ethnic groups, each with its own distinct language.[46] However, languages that belong to the same ethnic group are usually mutually intelligible. There are nine language family groups and 11 languages from these groups are officially sponsored by the government: They are Akuapem Twi, Asante Twi, Ewe, Mfantse, Ga, Dangme, Dagbani, Nzema, Dagaare, Gonja and Kasem.[44][47]

During the colonial era, a number of Europeans intermarried with Africans and had offspring, who include such notable Gold Coasters as Carel Hendrik Bartels and James Bannerman. Most European settlers left the Gold Coast after it won independence. Currently, the most significant immigrant populations in Ghana are Africans from other countries on the continent, Asians (Indians and Chinese) and Middle Easterners, particularly Lebanese and Syrians.


According to a Y-DNA study by Wood et al. (2005), indigenous Ghanaians in Ghana carry 61% E1b1a.[48][nb 1] Indigenous Ghanaians in Ghana also belong to paternal lineages: 2.2% E1a and.[48] Indigenous Ghanaians in Ghana are 1.1% E1b1b clade bearers, a haplogroup which is most common in North Africa and the Horn of Africa finally, 1.1% carry West Eurasian haplogroup R1b.[48]

Nationalism, independence and transformation to republic

Universal Newsreel about the independence of Ghana in 1957.

The Ghanaian nationalism was suspended by the Ghanaian Government during the time of the World War II, but was resumed in 1945.[49] The Ghanaian allied with the Allies in the World War II.[49] The Fifth Pan-African Congress held on October 1945, served to form the support for the liberalization of Ghanaian colonial domination on 4 August 1947.[49][50] On 12 June 1949, Kwame Nkrumah, formed the first governing party in the history of the Gold Coast, which did not cooperate with the British and which led to the achievement of Ghanaian independence and the opposition to the 1951 Constitution, in which Nkrumah was incarcerated together with his collaborators.[50]

On 8 February 1951, the first elections in the history of the Gold Coast were held; Nkrumah's win was confirmed on 12 February 1951.[50] Ghanaian nationalism was initiated in organisation with the Ghanaian nationlist movement, the Big Six and through the Ghanaian Aborigines' Rights Protection Society (ARPS); then strikes and mass riots were formed on the streets of the Gold Coast by its natives for Gold Coast independence, the British governor at the time, the Earl of Listowel, proclaim Gold Coast's independence on 6 March 1957,[51] Nkrumah became the first Ghanaian Prime Minister.[52] On 1 July 1960, Nkrumah drew up the first Constitution of Ghana; the British monarch ceased to be head of state, and Ghana became a republic.[52]

National borders, regions and terrestrial plains

Main article: Geography of Ghana
National Border, Region and Terrestrial plain of the Fourth Republic of Ghana
Coastal Plain Accra, Apam, Cape Coast, Elmina, Kakum National Park, Kokrobite, Nzulezo, Sekondi-Takoradi, Ada Foah The Gulf of Guinea coastal plain with the seat of government and capital city, several castles and forts and the best preserved rainforest in Ghana
Ashanti-Kwahu Koforidua, Kumasi, Obuasi, Sunyani Forested hills and the ancient Kingdom of Ashanti
Volta Basin Tamale massive and world's largest Lake Volta, the river system that feeds it and Ghana eastern border crossing
Northern Plains Wa, Bolgatanga, Mole National Park Savanna plains and north Ghana trade route and border crossing
Map of Ghana with national border, geographical regions and terrestrial plains colour-coded
Accra Seat of Government and Capital City.
Bolgatanga Ghana's gateway to Burkina Faso.
Cape Coast Cape Coast castle is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Elmina Coastal town with a quite harrowing fort.
Koforidua Aburi Botanical Gardens location.
Kumasi Traditional centre of the Kingdom of Ashanti.
Obuasi The World's 10th largest gold mine location; and Mining town.
Sekondi-Takoradi Ghana's sweet crude oil fields and location of beaches and UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Tamale Largest city in the north of Ghana and gateway to Mole National Park.


Approximately 5% of Ghanaian citizens live in rural areas and 95% in urban areas. The rate of urbanization estimated for the period 2010–2015 is 4% per annum,[53] one of the highest among developing countries.

Region (2010)[29] Region population Area (km²)[29] City (2010)[54] City population Administrative divisions of Ghana
Ashanti Region 4,780,380 24,389
Kumasi 1,989,062
Brong-Ahafo Region 2,310,983 39,557
Sunyani 87,642
Central Region 2,201,863 9,826
Cape Coast 217,032
Eastern Region 2,633,154 19,323
Koforidua 127,334
Greater Accra Region 4,010,054 3,245
Accra 2,291,352
Northern Region 2,479,461 70,384
Tamale 537,986
Upper East Region 1,046,545 8,842
Bolgatanga 66,68
Upper West Region 702,110 18,476 Wa 102,446
Volta Region 2,118,252 20,570
Ho 96,213
Western Region 2,376,021 23,921
Sekondi-Takoradi 445,205
Total Ghana Ghana


Ghanaian Arabs

Main article: Ghanaian Arabs

Ghanaian Arabs are Ghanaians and citizens of Arab origin or descent. Ghanaian Arabs are mainly from Lebanon, Syria and Arab Maghreb. Ghana has the largest Arab population in western Africa.

Ghanaian Chinese

Main article: Ghanaian Chinese

Ghanaian Chinese are an ethnic group of Chinese diaspora in Ghana. The ancestors of ethnic Chinese migrants to Ghana were of Hong Kong origin. They began arriving in the late 1940s and early 1950s.[55] In the late 1960s and early 1970s, some of the Hong Kong migrants began to bring their wives and children over to Ghana.[56] Migrants from Shanghai also began to arrive round this time.[57] With the economic reform and opening up in the PRC, migrants from mainland China began arriving. Migration from mainland China intensified in the 1990s; some came as employees, but most were independent traders running import-export businesses or restaurants.[56] The sources of migration have also expanded; whereas earlier migrants came mostly from Hong Kong or Shanghai, later Chinese migrants have arrived from Guangdong and Henan as well as the Republic of China on Taiwan.[57] As of 2009, there were an estimated 700,000 ethnic Chinese migrants that have settled in Ghana.[58]

Ghanaian Indians

Main article: Ghanaian Indian

Ghanaian Indians are Ghanaians and citizens of Indian origin or descent. Many Ghanaian Indians are descendants of those who migrated from India following India's partition in 1947.[59]


There are 3‒4 million Ghanaians in the diaspora.[32]

Ghanaian Australians

Main article: Ghanaian Australian

Ghanaian Australians are dual citizens with Australia and residents of Ghanaian origin and descent. More than 50% of all Ghanaian-born Australians live in Sydney, New South Wales.[60]

Ghanaian Americans

Main article: Ghanaian American

Ghanaian Americans are dual citizens with America and residents of Ghanaian origin and descent.

Ghanaian Britons

Main article: Ghanaian British

Ghanaian Britons are dual citizens with Briton and residents of Ghanaian origin and descent.

Ghanaian Jamaicans

Main articles: Coromantee and Afro-Jamaican

Coromantee (derived from the name of the Ghanaian coastal town "Kormantse"), was the name given to Ghanaian Coromantee labourers imported from the Gold Coast or modern-day Ghana. The term Coromantee is now considered archaic as it simply refers to Akans, and was primarily used in the Caribbean. Coromantees actually came from several Akan subgroups – predominantly Coromantee – presumably taken as war captives. Owing to their militaristic background and common Akan language. The Coromantees had the single largest African cultural influence on Jamaica, including Jamaican Maroons whose culture and language was seen as a derivation of Coromantees. Names of some notable Coromantee leaders such as Cudjoe, Cuffy, and Quamina, correspond to Ashanti day names and Ghanaian names Kojo, Kwame, Kofi, and Kwamina, respectively.

Ghanaian Surinamese and Guyanese

Ndyuka (also spelled "Djuka") or Aukan or Okanisi sama, are a Ghanaian Akan subgroup who live in Eastern Suriname and west of French Guiana and speak the Ndyuka language, a sub-language of the Akan language. They were shipped as imported labourers slaves from the Gold Coast (modern-day Ghana) to Suriname about 300 years ago to work on Dutch-owned plantations. Ndyukas or Aukans are subdivided into the Opu, who live upstream of the Tapanahony River of southeastern Suriname, and the Bilo, who live downstream of that river. They further subdivide themselves into 14 matrilinear kinship groups called lo.

Ghanaian society and culture

Ghana's cultural diversity is most evident in cuisine, arts, literature, heritage, music, dance, clothing, and sports.[61][62]

Kente is a Ghanaian ceremonial cloth traditionally used as the national costume. Kente is hand-woven on a horizontal treadle loom in strips measuring about 4 inches wide, which are sewn together into larger pieces of cloth. Cloths come in various colours, sizes and designs, which have different meanings, and are worn on important social occasions.[61] During the 13th century, Ghanaians developed their unique art of adinkra printing.

Notable Ghanaian authors include novelists Ayi Kwei Armah (The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born) and J. E. Casely Hayford, author of Osiris Rising. In addition to novels, other literary genres such as theatre and poetry have been well developed at a national level.

Ghanaian music incorporates several distinct types of instruments such as talking drums, the atenteben and koloko lute, the atumpan, and log xylophones used in asonko music. The most well-known genre to come from Ghana is highlife.[63] Highlife originated in the late 19th century and early 20th century. In the 1990s, a new genre of music, hiplife, was created through the combination of highlife, Afro-reggae, dancehall and hiphop.[64] Hiplife is the most popular Ghanaian music,[65] followed by the other genre of Ghanaian music, highlife.[66] Ghanaian dance is globally well known and performed worldwide.[64] The dances are varied and may involve complex and co-ordinated movement of the arms, torso, hips, feet and head, performed to different Ghanaian music forms for entertainment, celebrating at festivals, and other occasions. Some popular dances include Adowa and Azonto.[67] Other traditional dances from Ghana are Kpanlogo, Klama and Bamaya.[67] Sports in Ghana is dominated by association football represented by the Ghana Premier League and the Ghana national football team.[68]


Ghanaian girl in traditional Ghanaian kente clothing and national costume.

In Ghanaian society polygyny — marriages in which men are permitted to have more than one wife at the same time.[69] — has been traditionally practised, especially among well-to-do Ghanaian men.[69] Among matrilineal groups, such as the Akan, married women continued to reside at their maternal homes.[69] Meals prepared by the wife would be carried to the husband at his maternal house.[69] In polygynous situations, visitation schedules would be arranged.[69] The separate living patterns reinforced the idea that each spouse is subject to the authority of a different household head, and because spouses are always members of different lineages, each is ultimately subject to the authority of the senior men of his or her lineage.[69] The wife, as an outsider in the husband's family, would not inherit any of his property, other than that granted to her by her husband as gifts in token appreciation of years of devotion.[69] The children from this matrilineal marriage would be expected to inherit from their mother's family.[69] Today, the percentage of women in polygynous marriages in Ghana's rural areas (23.9%) is almost double that of women in Ghana's urban areas (12.4%).[70] The age group with the most women in polygynous marriages is 45–49, followed by the 15–19 age group and the 40–44 group.[70] Rates of polygynous marriages decrease as education level and wealth level increase.[70]

During 2008–12, the national literacy rate for women aged 15–24 was 83.2%, only slightly lower than that for males of the same age group (88.3%).[71] However, literacy rates fluctuate across Ghana country and socioeconomic statuses.[70][71] By regions of Ghana, literacy rates for females range from 44% to 81%.[70] Women living at the highest socioeconomic status exhibit the highest literacy rates at 85%, while only 31% of women living at the lowest socioeconomic status are literate.[70] Over the timespan of 2008–12, 4% more females were enrolled in preschool than males.[71] Net enrollment and attendance ratios for primary school were both about the same for males and females, net enrollment standing at about 84% and net attendance at about 73%.[71] Enrolment in secondary school for females was slightly lower than for males (44.4% vs. 48.1%), but female attendance was higher by about the same difference (39.7% vs. 43.6%).[71]

As of 2011, women made up 66.9% of economically active population in Ghana.[72] Within the informal sector, women usually work in personal services.[72] There are distinct differences in artisan apprenticeships offered to women and men, as well.[72] Men are offered a much wider range of apprenticeships such as carpenters, masons, blacksmiths, mechanics, painters, repairers of electrical and electronic appliances, upholsters, metal workers, car sprayers, etc.[72] In contrast, most female artisans are involved in either hairdressing or dressmaking.[72] Women generally experience a disparity in earnings, receiving a daily average of 6,280 cedis compared to 8,560 cedis received by men, according to the Ghana Living Standards Survey.[72] Women are flourishing in teaching professions.[69]

Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) Military Female Sergeant at a GAF military exercise, 2013 in Ghana.

Early 1990s' data showed that about 19 percent of the instructional staff at the nation's three universities in 1990 was female.[69] Of the teaching staff in specialized and diploma-granting institutions, 20 percent was female; elsewhere, corresponding figures were 21 percent at secondary-school level; 23 percent at middle-school level, and as high as 42 percent at primary-school level.[69] Women also dominated the secretarial and nursing professions in Ghana.[69] When women were employed in the same line of work as men, they were paid equal wages, and they were granted maternity leave with pay.[69] However, women in research professions report experiencing more difficulties than men in the same field, which can be linked to restricted professional networks for women because of lingering traditional familial roles.[73]

Feminist organizing has increased in Ghana as women seek to obtain a stronger role in the democratic government of Ghana.[74] In 2004, a coalition of women created the Women's Manifesto for Ghana, a document that demands economic and political equality as well as reproductive health care and other rights.[74] The NCWD's is fervent in its stance that the social and economic well-being of women, who compose slightly more than half of the nation's population, cannot be taken for granted.[69] The Council sponsored a number of studies on women's work, education, and training, and on family issues that are relevant in the design and execution of policies for the improvement of the condition of women.[69] Among these considerations the NCWD stressed family planning, child care, and female education as paramount.[69][75]

The government of Ghana in 2007 took legal proceedings to prosecute men who abuse their women.[76][77][78][79][80][81][82][83]

Republic of Ghana (1957–present)

Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Republic of Ghana: Nkrumah, Rawlings, Kufuor, Mills and Mahama.

In 1966, Nkrumah was deposed, after which Ghana entered a period of military rule. On 31 December 1981, the regime led by Flight lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings installed the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), of which he became Chairman. In 1992, In 1992, Rawlings retired from the military and set up the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and was subsequently elected for two terms as President.

In 2002, John Agyekum Kufuor succeeded Rawlings as Ghanaian head of state until the year 2008. Kufuor was replaced as Ghanaian head of state by John Atta Mills until 2012.[84] In 2013, John Dramani Mahama succeeded Mills as the Republic of Ghana Supreme Commander-in-Chief and President of Ghana.[84]

See also

References and notes

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  1. Ghana Kwa: Indigenous Ghanaians of Kwa-speaking ethnicity in Ghana 68.8% of Ghana's population ― Akan (Ashanti, Fanti), Ga-Adangbe, and Ewe; also Y-DNA haplogroups by populations of Sub-Saharan Africa.

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