For the purpose of this essay I will be evaluating how fertility rate, mortality rate and migration changes have contributed to the rapid growth of Ghana’s ageing population. In recent times, the surge in Ghana ageing population appears to pose more threats to the social, cultural lifestyles, status and respect as well as the health and wellbeing of older adults in the society. I will also critically appraise the implication of Ghana’s ageing population in relation to pension/economic deprivation/poverty/unemployment/gender. Ghana is a western African country located between eastern and western hemispheres and above the equator on the northern hemisphere.
As shown above in figure 1, Ghana’s population has been rapidly growing since the 1900s. It is projected that the population in Ghana will reach between 55 to 60 million by 2050. This is an increase of 2.2% per year on the population census. Although, Ghana’s population is considered to be young like many other developing countries, there is a recognition of a sharp rise in its ageing population as well. There are many factors that have contributed to Ghana population ageing. Some of the factors contributing to Ghana’s population ageing include; high fertility rate, a reduction in Ghana’s mortality rate and migration changes for employments in some parts of Ghana, resulting in better living conditions.
Nargung (2009), asserted that the average number of children given birth to by a woman over the course of her life can be defined as the total fertility rate of a population. Her children must live to reproduction age itself. According to The World Bank (2017a), Ghana’s fertility rate has been falling since the 1960’s. Ghana’s fertility was at 6.75 in the 1960’s and was its highest in the early 1970’s at 6.95 births per woman. Ghana’s fertility rate as highlighted by the world bank currently stands at 4.042 birth per woman. There is evidence to suggest that fertility rate has reduced across Ghana, more in some parts of the country than others (Blanc & Gray 2000). The result of the reduction in fertility rate in Ghana can be attributed to the many factors like, better understanding and adoption of family planning, an increase in female education, increased of use of contraception both by males and females as well as governmental initiatives. Less cultural or religious beliefs also have a contributing factor to the reduction in fertility rate.
Family planning has been a centre of focus for many years in Ghana. Availability and access to family planning procedures have also been on the increase and made easier for both females and males since the early 1990s, with an increased introduction of education provided by healthcare institutions like the registered community health nurses. Religious groups have also over the years made explicit determination to indorse natural family planning among its member of fellowship. Massive improvement in facilities or Infrastructures offering family planning, methods or types of contraception as well as members of public’s ability to ask question about family planning has improved leading to better understanding. (Hong, Fronczak, Chinbuah, & Miller, 2005).
There are more female in education than any time in Ghana’s history. More female over the years have continued to enrol into education, staying in education longer and pursuing further education longer than any other time. This has meant that less females are likely to become pregnant and more want to have children later in their lives. Lambert, Perrino and Barreras (2012), argue that the government of Ghana has over the years worked hard in reducing gender gaps in the education system. They argue that the government recognises the importance of female education and the fact that female education reduces fertility rates. The government of Ghana in addition, recognises that female education is one of the most effective ways of its development in and improving living standards, it has therefore over the years introduced acts (Ghana education Act 1961) to make education compulsory and free. Furthermore, the government’s creation of girls’ education unit (GEU) has helped pushed the awareness of female education in certain parts of the country. Together with family planning and female education, another factor that has helped to massively reduced fertility is the reduction in cultural and religious perceptions of women in Ghanaian societies. Furthermore, Lambert, Perrino and Barreras (2012), concluded in their assessment that females had had negative attitudes from Ghanaian societies towards them in terms of education pursuit especially in the rural northern part of the country. For many years, the Ghanaian societies have had the mindset that educating a male is more beneficial to the family rather than educating a female simply because a female would have to bear children, entering motherhood in spite of her education however, there has been a noticeable change in the attitudes towards women in the education system. Better sanitation for women in schools and gender friendly text books in schools have helped make it less difficult for women to participate in education however, they recognise that there are still work to be done.
Like any other developing country, Ghana uses mortality rate of different group of ages as an indicator for its health status. It uses the data to also identify the most vulnerable group as well as comparing its socio-economic development among other countries.