As of midyear 2019, Ghana had a population of 30.3 million and an annual population growth rate of 2.2%. Overall, 38% of Ghana’s population was under age 15. With strong performance in health and education, Ghana is making progress towards a demographic dividend. The Total Fertility Rate (TFR), or the average number of children per woman over the course of her lifetime, remains high but lower than the regional average. The TFR has declined from 5.6 children in1990 to 4.3 in 2015 and 3.9 children per woman in 2019. Only little progress in contraceptive use and fertility rates was made in the last two decades. In 1998, the contraceptive prevalence rate among married women in Ghana was 22%and has increased to 33% in 2017 according to PMA2020 data. Modern contraceptives use is 27.4% among married women and 21.3% among all women.

Population pyramids can be used to show change in population age structure over time. Here we can see that Ghana’s age structure is beginning to shift to older ages.

Ghana Development Data

Snapshot of the enabling environment for a demographic dividend
Economic Indicators

Percent of Population living on less than $1.9 per day: 13.3%
Annual GDP Growth rate: 6.3%
GINI Index: 43.5

Demographic Indicators

Total Fertility Rate: 3.9 children per woman
Percent of Population Under 15: 38%
Dependancy Ratio: 89.9 dependents per 100 working-age adults

Health Indicators

Life Expectancy: 63.8 years (Males: 62.7 ; Females: 64.8)
Infant Mortality: 37 deaths per 1,000 live births
Contraceptive Prevalence Rate Among All Women (all methods): 25.7%
Modern Contraceptive Prevalence Rate Among All Women: 21.3%

Education Indicators

World bank Education Indicators (2018)

Pre-primary net enrollment: 73%
Primary education net enrollment: 86%
Proportion completing primary: 94%
Net enrollment in secondary education: 57%
Gross enrollment in tertiary education: 16%
Adult literacy rate (+15 years): 79% 
Other Indicators: no recent DHS

Governance Indicators

Political Stability: -0.08
Government Effectiveness: -0.01
Global Competitiveness Index: 4.27

The broad bases in “Ghana 1970” and “Ghana 1990” represents a large number of children in relation to the working age population. “Ghana 2010” shows a base that is beginning to narrow at the youngest ages, representing a fertility decline. “Ghana 2030” is the United Nations projection of Ghana’s population age structure if fertility declines further. This pyramid assumes that by 2030, fertility will decline to an average of 3.4 children per woman over the course of her lifetime. “Ghana 2030” shows a larger working age population than currently exists compared to the number of dependent children and elders, and by 2050; “Ghana 2050” shows us that this change will be even more substantial.

38% of Ghana’s population is under age 15

Working Towards a Demographic Dividend in Ghana

One of Ghana’s greatest achievements has been its accomplishments in primary education levels for boys and girls. If Ghana is able to continue to make progress in children’s access to education, particularly at the secondary school level, then this will help to create a well-educated workforce ready to contribute to Ghana’s development. Substantial investments in reproductive health and family planning are needed for fertility levels to continue to decline. With additional investments in family planning, health, and education, as well as economic initiatives to facilitate job creation, Ghana may be able to experience the rapid economic growth known as a demographic dividend. Work on the demographic dividend in Ghana has included:

  • A media training on the demographic dividend was conducted in 2013.
  • Research has been completed on the potential for a demographic dividend in Ghana including a paper presented at the Union of African Population Scientists (UAPS) meeting in 2015 and research study based on the national transfer accounts approach.
  • The National Population Council of Ghana has completed a policy brief on the demographic dividend and organized a national workshop on the topic.

Population Reference Bureau, 2019 World Population Data Sheet, (Washington, DC: Population Reference Bureau, 2019).

United Nations Population Division, World Population Prospects: The 201Revision(New York: United Nations, 2019)

World Bank Group. (2019) World DataBank. Retrieved from

World Bank Group. (2014) Worldwide Governance Indicators. Retrieved from

World Economic Forum, Global Competitiveness Report 2014-2015, (Geneva: Switzerland, 2014).


Gini index measures the extent to which the distribution of income or consumption expenditure among individuals or households within an economy deviates from a perfectly equal distribution. Thus a Gini index of 0 represents perfect equality, while an index of 100 implies perfect inequality.

Dependency ratio is the ratio of dependents–people younger than 15 or older than 64–to the working-age population–those ages 15 to 64. Although each country’s experience is different, countries that have realized a demographic dividend typically have a dependency ratio of less than 50 dependents for every 100 working-age adults.

Worldwide Governance Indicators are measured on a scale from -2.5 to +2.5. The closer to 2.5 the rating is, the stronger the governance. Government Effectiveness is a composite governance indicator with data from multiple sources. Political stability and Absence of Violence/Terrorism is a composite governance indicator with data from multiple sources More information on methodology available at:

Global Competitiveness Index defines competitiveness as the set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country. The level of productivity, in turn, sets the level of prosperity that can be earned by an economy. The different aspects of competitiveness are captured in 12 pillars, ranging from institutional strength to market size.