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The Eastern Region, with an area of 19,323 square kilometres, occupying 8.1 per cent of the total land area of Ghana, is the sixth largest region of the country. A total of 2,106,696 population for the region, representing 11.1 per cent of Ghana’s population. It is the third most populous region, after the Ashanti and Greater Accra. The population is made up of 49.2 per cent males and 50.8 per cent females, giving a sex ratio of 96.8 males to 100 females.
The region has 17 administrative districts with Koforidua as the regional capital. There are 26 parliamentary constituencies in the region. The Electoral Commission has decided to create two additional constituencies namely Ofoase/Ayirebi in the Birim North and Abuakwa East in East Akim.
The District Assembly is to “exercise power and administrative authority in the District, provide guidance, give direction to and supervise all other administrative authorities in the district”. The District Chief Executive (DCE) is responsible for the day to day executive and administrative functions of the assembly and is the chief representative of the Central Government. He is appointed by the President with the prior approval of not less than two-thirds majority of the members of the Assembly present and voting at the meeting. The DCE is assisted by the District Co-ordinating Director (DCD) who heads the district bureaucracy and is Secretary to the Assembly. The Assembly itself has Urban, Zonal and Town/Area Councils which are supported by Unit Committees. The Unit committees are consultative bodies at the grassroots and are in close contact with, and organize, the people for communal labour, revenue mobilization and maintenance of environmental sanitation and other activities.
The Eastern Region occupies a land area of 19,323 kilometres and constitutes 8.1 per cent of the total land area of Ghana. It is the sixth largest region in terms of land area. It lies between latitudes 6o and 7o North and between longitudes 1o30’ West and 0o30’ East. The region shares common boundaries with the Greater Accra, Central, Ashanti, Brong Ahafo and Volta Regions.
The region has four main geographical features, namely:
(i) The Kwahu scarp with an elevation of 2,586 feet above sea level.
(ii) The Atiwa-Atwaredu Ranges near Kibi, reaching an elevation of 2,400 feet.
(iii) The Akuapem highland attaining an elevation of 1,530 feet which is the southern extension of the Togo-Atakora mountain ranges and
(iv) The isolated hills/mountains dotting the relatively low-lying plains to the south, notably the Krobo and the Yogaga mountains.
The Kwahu Scarp and the Atiwa-Atwaredu form the major watershed of the region. It is from these that the major rivers such as the Pra, Birim and the Densu take their sources. The Volta lake also covers part of the region. The Kwahu scarp also has the highest inhabited place in Ghana, at Abetifi, though this is not the highest mountain pick in the country. The Akosombo and Kpong dams are located in the region. These rivers and the Volta lake are water bodies with high potentials for irrigation, farming, inland fishing, water transport as well as sources for drinking water for both urban and rural settlements. The region is also characterized by long range forest highlands such as the Akim, Kwahu, Akwamu, Krobo and Shai Hills.
The region is rich in minerals such as gold, diamond, bauxite-tantalite, limestone, kaolin and clay. Gold and diamond are however the only minerals that are mined commercially. For over 70 years, the diamond mines at Akwatia and Takrowase in the Birim River Valley was producing high quality industrial diamonds, but this has declined considerably over the last two decades. Plans to mine the major bauxite deposits at Kibi on the Atiwa Range are yet to materialize due to financial constraints and ecological and environmental concerns. The Range is the habitat of many rare and exotic flora and fauna, and is the source of rivers that are crucial for the survival of other parts of the country, such as the Densu river which is the source of water for the Weija dam at Accra. Ecological and environmental factors are therefore of prime importance in determining the commercial exploitation of the bauxite and other minerals.
The forest and savannah type of soils are suitable for the cultivation of a variety of crops including cocoa, cola-nuts, citrus, oil palm and staple food crops such as cassava, yam, cocoyam, maize, rice and vegetables. The region contributes significantly to the production of industrial crops such as cocoa, pineapple, pawpaw, cola nut and oil palm and also has a substantial share in the national production of maize, cassava, and citrus. Available also in the region are exotic crops such as black and sweet pepper, ginger, cashew nuts, Irish potatoes, rubber and mangoes, which are all gaining importance as export commodities.
The region has a beautiful natural setting which makes it an impressive tourist area. It is characterized by a chain of highlands, woody valleys and waterfalls, including the Boti Falls at Huhunya in the Krobo Hills. For perfect calm and serenity, the most appropriate months are June and August.
Located in the region are the botanical gardens at Aburi, the remains of the 17th Century slave market at Abonse, Tetteh Quarshie’s first cocoa farm, and residence at Akwapim Mampong and the Akonedi shrine, at Larteh. These and the available cruises over the Volta lake are some of the many attractions that the region offers. The palm tree, which legend claims was climbed by the famous Okomfo Anokye, wearing only a pair of sandals, is located in Awukugua in the Akwapim Hills.
The region lies within the wet semi-equatorial zone which is characterized by double maxima rainfall in June and October. The first rainy season is from May to June, with the heaviest rainfall occurring in June while the second season is from September to October, with little variations between the districts. Temperatures in the region are high and range between 26oC in August and 30oC in March. The relative humidity which is high throughout the year varies between 70 per cent -80 per cent.
This chapter provides information on the age and sex of household members, the population size of the districts, the sex and dependency ratios as well as the migratory pattern within the region. Population distribution by rural-urban residence is also discussed in addition to fertility and child survival.
Of the 17 districts, in the region, Kwahu South is the most populous, with a population of 217,485 which constitutes 10.3 per cent of the regional population. The least populated district is Asuogyaman, with a population of 75,920 or 3.6 per cent of the region’s population.
Age-sex structure, sex ratios and population pyramid
The age structure and the sex composition of the population of the region follow the national pattern. The age structure is broad at the base and reduces gradually in the subsequent age groups until the population becomes relatively small at the top. This type of population structure is typical of developing countries where high fertility is accompanied by a high, though declining mortality. The age structure for the sexes also follows the national pattern where males predominate in the early few years but are overtaken by the female population in later years.
The age structure for the region shows a relatively large proportion of children (41.7%) and a small proportion of older people 65 years and older (5.8%). The fact that a greater proportion of the people in the region are surviving to old age implies that there is an increase in the life expectancy for the region as a whole. This may be a reflection of improvement in the health status of the people in the region. The age structure for the districts follows the regional pattern with a broad base tapering gradually at older ages and this may be due to mortality and migration.
The age structure of the sexes for the 17 districts follows the same patterns as the national and regional with some differences. For example, the proportion of the male population under 15 years is highest in the Birim North district (47.3%) while that for females (under 15 years) is highest in the Afram Plains (46.5%). In all districts, except Kwaebibirem and Afram Plains, there is a greater proportion of surviving females (65 years and older) than males. The highest is in Akwapim North, with 6.3 per cent males compared with 9.8 per cent females. In the Afram Plains, the corresponding figures are 3.1 per cent males compared with 2.6 per cent females.
The sex ratio is the ratio of males per 100 females. The sex ratio at birth in most countries is about 105 or 106 males per 100 females. After birth, sex ratios vary because of different patterns of mortality and migration for males and females within the population. Sex ratios that are higher than 100 indicate that there are more males than females but sex ratios under 100 indicate the reverse, i.e., more females than males. In most countries of the world, sex ratios at older ages are below 100.
A lower sex ratio of 96.8 for the region compared with the national average of 97.9, which means that there are more females than males in the region. This general pattern is not reflected at all ages and in all districts in the region as a whole. The imbalance in the sex ratio may be due to a higher male mortality and large numbers of young men seeking employment in other regions or outside the country.
Only two districts Kwaebibirem (104.4) and Afram Plains (114.9) record higher sex ratios: which indicates that there are more males than females in both districts. The reason for the high sex ratios in both districts may be mainly agricultural. The two districts are major agricultural areas which attract many people into the farming and fishing industries.
As discussed, the age-sex structure of the population of the region has a broad base, graphically represented by a pyramid (Figure 2.1). Figure 2.1 shows that a large new cohort is born every year as displayed at the bottom of the pyramid (ages 0-4 years). As cohorts age, they inevitably lose members either through death or migration or both. This is shown by the narrowing of the population pyramid as it peaks. The peaking of the population accelerates after age 45 years.
Another feature of the regional population pyramid is that females in the oldest age groups form the substantial majority. The pyramid also shows that the population aged 5-9 years is slightly more than that of the 0-4 year age group. The reason is not clear but may be due to either age shifting or indications of a decline in fertility resulting in fewer births.
Household composition and structure
There are 456,663 households and 283,461 houses in the region, with an average household size of 4.6. Within the household structure, 21.7 per cent of the household members are heads, 36.9 per cent children, 9.6 per cent grandchildren, with other relatives making up 18.4 per cent. Thus, 74.0 per cent of the household members are related to the head or to the temporary head of the household, while 4.3 per cent are non-relatives or have affinal relations. This is an indication that the traditional structure of the primary family with an extended family is still prevalent in the region.
The region has four major ethnic groupings, namely Akan (52.1%), the Ga-Dangme (18.9%), the Ewes (15.9%) and the Guans (7.2%). Of these, the Ewes are the only non-indigenous ethnic group. The Akan predominate in 11 of the 17 districts, with variation from 68 to 80 per cent of the population. The Yilo Krobo and Manya Krobo Districts have the largest concentration of the Ga-Dangmes ,who constitute 70.0 per cent of the inhabitants of these two districts. The Ewe are found mainly in the Asuogyaman (39.1%) and the Afram Plains (50.8%) Districts, while the Guan inhabit the Akwapim North (34.5%), the Suhum-Kraboa- Coaltar (17.0%) and Asuogyaman, (14.1%) Districts.
The three major religious groups are Christianity, Islam and Traditional religion. Christians constitute 82.8 per cent of the population, followed by Moslems(6.1%) and adherents of Traditional religion (2.4%). The Christian religion is further broken down into Catholic (9.6%), Protestant (26.7%), Pentecostal/Charismatic (33.4%) and other Christian religions (13.1%).
Marital status of the population
Of the 1,227,612 people, 15 years and older, 56.3 per cent are married, including 7.1 per cent in consensual unions. The never- married constitute 29.8 per cent and the 13.9 per cent who have ever married, but are no more in a marital union, are made up of 2.1 per cent separated, 6.2 per cent divorced and 5.6 per cent widowed.
District level analysis shows that the incidence of both divorce and widowhood is substantially higher among females than males in each district in the region. By contrast, the proportion of the never married males, which varies from 32.0 per cent to 49.1 per cent, is higher in every district, than that of females, which varies from 19.8 per cent to 34.0 per cent. It is also worth noting that the lowest percentage of the never- married males (29.8% in Kwaebibirem) is 17.1 percentage points lower than the highest percentage of never- married females (49.1% in New Juaben) compared with 14.1 percentage points differential between the highest percentage of the never- married males and females.
Thus, while the proportion of females separated, divorced, widowed or in consensual unions is substantially higher than those of males, the proportion of males who never married is equally substantially higher than that of females. Analysis of the marital status of the 12-14 years group population indicates that 2.9 per cent have ever married
Population distribution by age and sex
The dependency ratio for the region is 90.7 which is slightly higher than the national average of 87.1. This regional average implies that there are about 91 persons in the dependent ages for every 100 persons in the working ages.
At the district level, Birim North (104.3%), Fanteakwa (104.8%) and Kwahu South (100.1%) are the districts with higher dependency ratios. These dependency ratios are higher than the regional average, which suggests the presence of a large proportion of children and the aged in these districts. On the other hand, New Juaben municipality has a dependency ratio of 64.7 which is far below the regional average and the lowest among the districts. The low dependency ratio for New Juaben is consistent with its age structure with the smallest proportion of the population under 15 years in the region.
Population density, urbanization and urban-rural composition
The Eastern Region is the fourth densely populated region in the country coming after Greater Accra, Central and Ashanti Regions. The density of the Region increased from 54 persons per square kilometre in 1960 through 87 persons in 1984 to 109 in 2000.
The densities at the district level vary from a high of 684 in New Juaben, through 323 in Akwapim South, 99 in Birim North to a very low of 26 in the Afram Plains.
The region accounts for about a tenth (11.0%) of the country’s population and has about twothirds (65.4%) of its population living in the rural areas. An aspect of urban localities in the region is that they are rather medium to small size urban areas of which over half (57.1%) are under 10,000 inhabitants. An additional 30.4 per cent are between 10,000 and 19,900 people.
Only 6 urban areas (10.7%) have between 20,000 and 49,000 inhabitants. Koforidua, the regional capital (87,315 inhabitants), is the only urban area in the region with population higher than 50,000.
A feature of the urbanization in the region is that almost half (48.2%) of the 56 urban localities in 2000 are either “stagnating” or “diminishing” towns. Two of the factors that would explain the growth or stagnation of urban areas in the region are - the relative proximity to Accra, within commuting distance, and the historical links to the development of cocoa farming in the past, particularly during the colonial; for example for the old towns (Akuse, Nsawam, Asamankese, Aburi, Somanya, Kibi, Suhum, etc.).
Others, such as Aburi have important landmarks which made them important but which have not been able to retain those attractions of the past. Aburi remains an important tourist centre, but not as much for permanent residence as for excursions. Akuse was an important river port as well as an important commercial centre, where companies such as the UAC, G. B. Olivant, CFAO, John Holt, etc., established their district headquarters.
Another characteristic of urbanization in the region is the imbalance between the sexes, with females almost always out-numbering males. Of the 56 urban areas documented in the 2000 census, males outnumbered females in only five, with sex ratio higher than 100.0 (Kibi 100.6; Donkorkrom 101.6; Takorawase 103.1; Bondua 106.5 and Akwatia 108.6). On the other hand, the sex ratio is as low as 78.4 in Adukrom, 74.3 in Manya Kpongunor, 73.7 in Larteh and 71.4 in Obo. This implies a deficit of males with respect to females, in 51 of the 56 urban areas in the region.
The phenomenon of “stagnating” urban areas in the region is reflected at the regional level, with almost no increase in the proportion of the regional urban population between 1970 (28.7%) and 1984 (27.7%), although in 2000, the proportion of the regional urban population, registered a modest increase from 27.7 per cent in 1984 to 34.6 per cent in 2000.
The proportion of the population urban in the districts varies from 5.1 per cent in the Afram Plains district to 83.4 per cent in the New Juaben municipality. The level of urbanization in New Juaben is due to the fact that the municipality is a regional capital and therefore benefits tremendously from many development projects. Some of these projects have been completed while others are ongoing under a modernization programme for the capital.
Birthplace and migratory pattern
. Among the districts, their place of birth is highest for East Akim (74.3%) and lowest for the Afram Plains district (48.7%). This is indicative of the high migrant population of Afram Plains.
Migratory movement is lower for seven of the 17 districts, which have lower than 30.0 per cent of the residents migrating to other regions and much higher (more than 30.0%) for the rest (8) of the districts.
The experience of the Afram Plains can be explained by migration for mainly economic reasons. The district is known for its arable land and the Volta Lake, both of which attract many people, notably from Kwahu South and from the Volta, Ashanti and the Northern Regions, who move to the district for employment mainly in the agricultural sector and in the fishing industry.
Fertility and child survival
Total Fertility Rate (TFR) for women aged 15-49 years. The TFR is the average number of children that would be born to a woman by the time she completes childbearing if she were to experience the prevailing age-specific fertility rate. There are other fertility measures such as Crude Birth Rate (CBR), General Fertility Rate (GFR) among others. The crude birth rate (CBR) is the simplest and most frequently used measure of fertility.
It is easy to calculate because it requires only the total number of births and the total population. It is crude and always expressed per 1000 population. It is crude because it includes all ages and both sexes in the denominator. There is no attempt to relate the births to the women at risk of having those births. Because of this it is not a measure of fertility at all.
The general fertility rate (GFR) expresses births relative to the number of women in the reproductive age. More data are required to calculate the GFR than the CBR because one has to know the age and sex composition of the population. The GFR is affected by age structure since there may be substantial variations between populations within the reproductive age range. The TFR on the other hand, is a measure of fertility that is most widely used by demographers. It is calculated by adding up the age specific fertility rates (ASFR) and is always expressed as per one woman. It is a single figure measure that is independent of age structure.
The Total Fertility Rate in the region for women aged 15-49 years is 3.7 births per woman. This means that a woman in the region would have, on the average, 3.7 children in her lifetime. This however appears to be lower than the national average of 4.0 births per woman.
At the district level, the TFR is lowest in New Juaben (2.2) and highest in Birim North (5.0). Kwaebibirem (4.2%) and Afram Plains (4.7) are the only districts in the region with fertility rates higher than the national average of 4.0. On the other hand, seven districts have fertility lower than the regional average of (3.7) and three districts with a TFR of 3.9, which is just below the national TFR and slightly higher than the regional TFR. The TFR in one district, East Akim, is the same as the national TFR (4.0).
Differences in the fertility levels for the district may be explained largely by education. Various studies have shown that formal education is inversely related to fertility. Women with no formal education tend to have more children than women with some formal education. The same educational differences may be applicable to men.
More than four in five children (86.5%) survive in the region, compared with 81.9 per cent nationally. The data however show variations among the 17 districts with New Juaben showing the highest child survival (88.5%), followed by Akwapim North with 88.3 per cent. Apart from Kwaebibirem (83.9%) and Fanteakwa (84.9%) the other 13 districts in the region recorded a child survival rate of 85.0 per cent or higher.
The relatively high levels of child survivorship in all districts in the region may be the result of improvements in health facilities and health care deliveries such as the eradication of polio and other killer diseases among children in the region. There are a number of health education and promotion of nutritional supplement programmes for children and the need for a balanced diet in the region which may explain the high rate of children survival even for Afram Plains, which is a much less developed district.
Differences in child survivalship between New Juaben and Kwaebibirem reflect the amount of health facilities and health care deliveries in the two districts. New Juaben is a regional capital with a central government hospital and a well-equipped Catholic hospital and many other clinics. These certainly impact positively on the general health of the population in the municipality.
Cultural and social structure
The population of the Region3 2,106,696, represents 11.1 per cent of Ghana’s population of 18,912,079. It is the third most populous region after Ashanti and Greater Accra Regions. The intercensal growth rate was 2.0 per cent between 1960/1970, 1.8 per cent between 1970/1984 and 1.4 per cent between 1984/2000 implying a slowing down of the rate of growth of the population
The region’s population is very young, with 41.7 per cent aged less than 15 years and 5.8 per cent older than 64 years. Females constitute 50.8 and male 49.2 per cent of the total population, giving a sex ratio of 96.8 males to 100 females. On a broad sector basis, 58.4 per cent of the employed population work in agriculture including hunting, forestry and related work and fishing. 13.5 per cent in wholesale and retail trade and 9.1 per cent in manufacturing. The population distribution pattern shows that 34.6 per cent of the region’s population live in 56 urban settlements (towns with population above 5,000) while the greater percentage, 65.4 per cent, live in rural communities.
There are four major ethnic groups in the region namely, the Akan (52.1%), the Ga-Dangme (18.9%), the Ewe (15.9%) and the Guan (7.2%). The Akan are predominant in 11 of the 17 districts and constitute about 85.4 per cent of the population of Birim South, 75.0 per cent in Birim North and 67.9 per cent in East Akim . Yilo Krobo (79.7%) and Manya Krobo (71.4%) have the largest concentration of the Ga-Dangme while the Ewe population is largest in the Asuogyaman (39.1%) and in the Afram Plains (50.8%). Both these districts share a common border with the Volta Region which is the home of the Ewe. The Guan have a large concentration in the Akwapim North (34.5%) even though they are not the largest ethnic group in the district. They are also significant in the Suhum-Kraboa-Coaltar (17.4%) and Asuogyaman (14.1%) districts. 1 Ada Local Council, now Dangme East, was formerly part of the Eastern Region.
Religious affiliation in the region follows the national pattern of Christianity, Islam and Traditional religion. Those who profess the Christian religion constitute 82.8 per cent of the population, followed by Islam by (6.1%) and Traditional (2.4%). The Christian religion comprises the Catholic (9.6%), the Protestant (26.7%), the Pentecostal/Charismatic (33.4%) and other Christians (13.1%). The Catholic faith has the largest followers in the Afram Plains (22.1%) and Manya Krobo (15.3%) districts while the Protestants have a large concentration in the Akwapim North, (43.4%) East Akim (33.3%) and Asuogyaman (31.1%) districts . The Pentecostal/Charismatics who have a greater following in the region have the largest followers in the Yilo Krobo (44.8%), Manya Krobo (35,5%), Fanteakwa, (37.8%), Suhum- Kraboa-Coaltar (36.4%) and New Juaben (33.2%). The strength of the Protestant Churches in the region has its antecedents in the arrival of the Basel Missionaries in the Akwapim and Kwahu areas in the 18th and 19th centuries. The predominance of the Pentecostals and Charismatics is a recent phenomenon which has drawn their following from the mainstream Catholic and protestant Churches. Moslems are significant in New Juaben (9.4%) and West Akim (9.1%). Traditional religion is important in four districts: Afram Plains (9.4%), Asuogyaman (3.7%), Akwapim North (3.5%) and Akim West (3.4%).
Household composition and structure
Out of the 2,106,696 persons in the region, 20.1 per cent are heads, 36.9 per cent children of the household head, 9.6 per cent grandchildren and other relatives (18.4%). Spouses constitute 9.1 per cent of the households. Non-relatives and affinal relations, constitute 4.1 per cent, an indication that the traditional family structure of the primary family with extended family still prevails. There is a greater proportion of male heads (27.0%) than female heads (13.4%) of households while there is a significantly greater proportion of female (16.1%) than male (1.9%) spouses.
Out of a total population of 1.227.612 aged 15 years and older, 56.3 per cent are in marriage unions, both formal (49.2%) and informal (7.1%). The never married constitute 29.8 per cent while those who have ever been married but are currently separated, divorced or widowed, constitute 13.9 per cent of the population.
There is a higher percentage of females (8.0) than males (6.2) in informal unions and an equally higher percentage of divorced females (7.8%) than divorced males (4.4%). There is also a preponderance of widowed females (8.9%) compared to widowed males (2.1%). Polygamy also creates a situation where a man who divorces a spouse remains married while the spouse becomes divorced. Divorced males generally tend to remarry than divorced females.
The higher predominance of females in informal relationship may be due to both polygamy and a number of emerging social and economic factors influencing young males and females to enter permanent marriage unions. The higher proportion of widowed females may also be explained by the tendency of older males marrying much younger females and dying before them or the higher likelihood of widowed males remarrying, than widowed females.
In the region, 63.6 per cent of the population are literate compared with the national average of 57.9 per cent. The results also show that 46.4 per cent of the population in the region are literate in both English and a Ghanaian language in addition to 13.4 per cent in English only. This gives a total of 59.8 per cent, which is the effective literacy or the critical mass of the people who can more effectively access information on what goes on around them. There is also the indication that the level of literacy is higher for males (73.6%) than for females (54.4%). These are also higher than the national literacy level of both males (66.4%) and females (49.8%)
Household facilities and amenities
Almost a quarter (23.6%) of households in the region use the river, stream, pond or lake as their main source of drinking water. While 23.0 per cent use the well, 19.4 per cent rely on pipe-borne water located outside the premises and an additional 8.8 per cent use pipe borne water located within the house for their supply of drinking water. At the district level, Fanteakwa has the highest proportion (54.5%) of households that draw drinking water from the river, stream, pond and lake.
On the other hand, New Juaben has the highest percentage (39.0%) of households whose source of main drinking water is pipe-borne, located within the premises and 29.9 per cent with pipe-borne water located outside the premises. Notwithstanding the availability of the basic infrastructure for pipe-borne water in the New Juaben municipality and other urban centres, water is woefully inadequate for the use of households and is a source of constant concern for the District Assemblies.
The volume of treated water is inadequate and the distribution system is inefficient. Schemes on the drawing boards of the District Assemblies should have priority of implementation to ameliorate the situation.
The kerosene lamp is the main source of lighting in the region, used by 64.3 per cent of households. Apart from the kerosene lamp, electricity is the second major source of lighting in 34.3 per cent of households. For the districts, Afram Plains has the highest proportion (89.5%) of households using kerosene lamps as the main source of lighting compared with New Juaben which has the highest proportion (77.6%) of households using electricity for lighting.
Fuel and space for cooking
About 70.0 per cent (68.8%) of households use wood and 22.0 per cent use charcoal as the main fuel for cooking. The District Assemblies have, as a matter of serious concern to consider introducing L.P. Gas cylinders of different sizes to encourage the use of L.P. Gas as the main source of cooking fuel in the region. In the long run, charcoal is more expensive than L.P. Gas, but it can be bought in smaller quantities when needed.
Wood as cooking fuel is highest in the Fanteakwa District (89.5%); compared with the regional average of 68.8 per cent. The use of charcoal as a cooking fuel is highest in the New Juaben municipality (52.4%) compared with the regional average is 22.0 per cent. This can be explained by the fact that charcoal, processed from wood, is more affordable in the urban setting and that wood is more accessible in the rural areas, than in the urban. With such a high proportion of households (90.8%) using wood and charcoal as their main fuel for cooking, there is a serious threat to the environment, in particular its consequence on the depletion of forests.
Nearly two in five households (37.9%) have separate rooms exclusively set aside for cooking purposes. At the district levels, the Afram Plains District has the highest percentage (46.1) of households who have a separate room set aside exclusively for cooking.
About a third (31.7%) of households in the region use a shared bathroom; a quarter (24.1%) own a bathroom for their exclusive use; about a fifth (18.0%) share open cubicles, and slightly more than a tenth (11.8%) have open cubicles for private use in addition to 4.0 per cent using a bathing facility in another house.
Over a third (37.5%) of households in the region use the pit latrine in the house, while 29.8 per cent use public toilets of all kinds (pit, pan, KVIP and W.C), In the districts, the Fanteakwa District has the highest proportion (58.9%) of households that use a pit latrine. The New Juaben municipality has the highest use of the W.C. (17.7%) and of public toilets (39.5%). It is noteworthy that only 5.4 per cent of dwelling units in the region have no access to an accepted toilet facility, compared with the national average of 20.0 per cent. In the districts, households with no toilet facility range from 1.2 per cent in the New Juaben municipality to 28.6 per cent in the Afram Plains District.
Solid waste disposal
More than half (56.5%) of households in the region dispose of solid waste in public dumps, while a quarter (25.2%) dump their household waste anywhere. A tenth (10.1%) of households bury their solid waste in and around their compounds. The vast majority of households in the districts for example Birim South (72.5%), New Juaben (70.0%) and West Akim (66.3%) districts dispose of their solid waste in public dumps, Almost half (48.9%) of the households in the Afram Plains District and 40.6 per cent in the Fanteakwa District, dump solid waste elsewhere, a practice which can impact negatively on the environmental sanitation condition of residents.
Liquid waste disposal
Only 2.0 per cent of households dispose of their liquid waste through the sewerage system. The large proportion (48.2%) of households dispose of their liquid waste by throwing such waste onto the compound, while other households throw liquid waste onto the street, outside (31.6%) or into the gutter (17.8%).
Within the districts, households in the Afram Plains (78.0%), Fanteakwa (68.8%) and Manya Krobo (58.2%) districts have the greatest tendency to throw liquid waste onto the compounds compared with households in the New Juaben municipality (25.2%). The practice of households throwing liquid waste onto the street is least in the Birim South (41.8%), Birim North (39.3%) and Suhum-Kraboa-Coaltar (39.3%), districts
The region has a total of 927,699 persons (75.5%) who are economically active and 299,913 persons (24.5%) not economically active. For the economically active population, (87.0%) worked during the 7 days before the census, while 4.6 per cent had a job but did not work and 8.4 per cent were unemployed. There are no major differences between the males (87.8%) and females (86.2%) who worked during the period.
The percentages unemployed are (8.1%) for males and (8.7%) for females. The not economically active population is made up largely of students (35.6%) and homemakers (24.8%). The proportion of male students is larger than that of female students, while the proportion of female homemakers is higher than male homemakers. The proportion of the aged and the retired/pensioners is higher for females (19.3%) than for males (14.2%). This pattern of economic activity is the same for all the 17 districts with little variations from district to district. There is very little difference between the male physically challenged persons, (3.8%) and the females (3.7%).
The main occupations of the economically active population in the region are Agriculture and related work (54.8%), Sales (14.3%), Production, Transport and Equipment work (14.0%) and Professional and Technical work (6.9%) with Services accounting for 5.0 per cent. The four principal occupations for males are agriculture and related work (56.9%), Production, Transport and Equipment work (16.6%), Professional and Technical work (8.6%) and Sales work (6.5%). These occupations are similar for females, except in Sales work where females (21.8%) feature more significantly than males. The proportions for females are: Agriculture and related work, 52.7 per cent; Production, Transport and Equipment work, 11.5 per cent; Professional and Technical, and related work 5.2 per cent and Sales work, 21.8 per cent.
There are three main industrial activities in the region, namely Agriculture including Hunting, Forestry (54.9%), Wholesale and Retail trade (13.5%) and Manufacturing (9.1%). In Agriculture and related work, males constitute 57.4 per cent, compared with 52.6 per cent of females. However, females are predominant in Wholesale and Retail Trade (19.3%), compared with 7.4 per cent males. In the Manufacturing industry, female participation (9.5%) is higher than that of males (8.8%). Birim North District has the highest economically active population in Agriculture and related work for both males (77.6%) and females (73.9%) while in New Juaben, only 17.7 per cent of males and 14.3 per cent of females are in that industry.
In the Manufacturing sector, the highest percentage for males (15.4%) and for females (15.0%) is in New Juaben municipality, with the lowest for both males (3.2%) and female (4.4%) in the Afram Plains District. Similarly, in the Wholesale and Retail Trade, the highest proportion for males (17.4%) and for females (39.1%) is in New Juaben municipality, while the Afram Plains District has the lowest for both males (2.2%) and females (6.6%).
Employment status and sector
Nearly four-fifths (77.7%) of the economically active population in the region are selfemployed with no employees. The next largest category is employees (11.5%), while selfemployed with employees are 4.3 per cent of the economically active population. Those in the categories of unpaid family workers, apprentices and domestic employees make up the remaining 6.5 per cent. Females constitute the highest proportion of self-employed without employees, mainly in the private informal sector. The private informal sector employs 80.5 per cent of workers followed by the private formal with 12.3 per cent and the public sector 6.1 per cent.
The total stock of houses in the region is 283,461 with a total of 456,663 households. The number of households per house is 1.6, with an average household size of 4.6. There has been an increase of 51.4 per cent in the stock of houses over the 1984 census count. About three-fifths (58.2%) of household members own their dwelling units, 20.9 per cent rent the dwelling units, 20.2 per cent pay no rent and 0.7 per cent perch with others. In view of the housing situation in the region, future housing programmes should consider the needs for, and the affordability of, the types and categories of housing to be provided.
Types of dwelling
Compound, separate and semi-detached houses are the three common types of dwellings occupied by households in the districts. Of these, the commonest is the compound house, occupied by 43.1 per cent of households. The New Juaben municipality has the highest percentage of households (67.1%) living in compound houses.
Mud/mud brick/earth and cement/concrete blocks are the two main construction materials used by households for walls in the districts. Of the two construction materials, mud or mud brick/earth accounts for 56.2 per cent of all types of materials used for wall construction. The use of this type of material features most prominently in wall construction in Afram Plains, accounting for 87.9 per cent of all types of wall materials.
About four in every five households (82.1%) in the districts live in dwelling units roofed with corrugated metal sheets. The use of this type of roofing material features most prominently in Suhum-Kraboa-Coaltar (95.4%), the highest in the region. A significant number (12.6%) of dwelling units have thatch/palm leaf roofs.
The floor of almost three quarters (73.8%) of dwelling units in the region is made of cement or concrete. It is the commonest type of floor material used in all districts, particularly in the New Juaben municipality (85.8%).
Rooms and sleeping rooms for households
A little over a third (36.1%) of households in the region have one room, with about half (48.6%) of households having a single sleeping room. Next to this are households with two sleeping rooms (23.8%). At the district level, about a half (48.0%) of households in the West Akim district have a single room while about three-fifths (59.2%) of households have a single sleeping room. The data reflect the inadequacy of rooms as well as sleeping rooms for the majority of households. It is a situation which is likely to create overcrowding.
In the region, there are 456,681 households of which 62.4 per cent are headed by males (61.2% heads, 1.2% temporary heads) and 37.6 per cent headed by females (31.4% heads, 6.2% temporary heads). In terms of household membership status however, 27.0 per cent of the males head households with 0.5 per cent temporary heads.
On the other hand, 13.4 per cent of the females are heads of households with 2.7 per cent temporary heads. The ratio of male heads to female heads is twice (2.0 times) for the region as a whole, with variations from 2.1 to 2.3 times in eight districts and 1.7 to 1.9 times in five districts. The ratio of male to female household headship is however relatively low in Akwapim North (1.5 times) and very high in Afram Plains (3.3 times) The higher percentage of female temporary household headship may be accounted for by a higher absence of male heads due to migration and other movements within and out of the region.
At the district level, male household headship is higher than that of females in all the districts. It is around the regional average (27.0%) in all districts except New Juaben (30.7%), Asuogyaman (29.4%) and Akwapim South (28.6). Female headship is also around the regional average for females (13.4%) except in New Juaben (16.8%), Akwapim North (16.6%) and Kwahu South (15.3%). While New Juaben records the highest household headship in the region for both males (30.7%) and females (16.8%), Afram Plains, on the other hand, has a relatively very low female household headship (7.5%), compared with the regional (13.4%), and the national (11.4%), averages.
Apart from household heads, children, of the head, especially male children, constitute the highest proportion of household members. In the Afram Plains, a little more than two out of every five children (41.9%) in the household are male. It is almost the same for West Akim (41.8%) and Asuogyaman (41.1%) districts. It is 40.8 per cent for Suhum-Kraboa-Coaltar and 40.1 per cent for Birim North. Other relatives form another high percentage within the household, accounting for 18-20 per cent of the total household membership. Males predominate in this category. In Kwaebibirem, for example, it is 24.4 per cent males compared to 22.5 per cent females. However, female “other relatives” predominate in West Akim (16.5%), Suhum-Kraboa-Coaltar (17%), Yilo Krobo (20.7%), Manya Krobo (22.3%) and Asuogyaman (15.6%) districts. The household composition in all the districts of the region indicates that the traditional family structure of the primary family with extended family relations is still prevalent
The 2000 Census classified “marital status” into married, living together, separated, divorced, widowed and never married. Only one answer was marked which referred to the individual’s marital status at Census Night. Persons who were 12 years or older were eligible to provide answers to this question. The definition of marriage includes persons in any of the following types of marriages: civil, traditional and common law/consensual.
The distribution of the population aged 15 years and older by marital status in the various districts of the region indicates that 56.3 per cent of the population 15 years and older (1,227,612,) are ‘married’, made up of married (49.2%) and consensual union (7.1%). There are also 29.8 per cent of never married persons and 13.9 per cent of those who have ever been in a marital union. This means that 70.2 per cent of the total population 15 years and older (1,227,612) are, or have ever been, in a marital union.
There are more females in consensual unions than males. Manya Krobo has the highest (19.3%) proportion of females in consensual marriage followed by Birim North (14.9%) and Yilo Krobo (13.5%) These levels are unusually high compared with Birim South (3.7%), and Kwahu South (3.9%) but the reasons are not immediately clear. A higher proportion of females than males are in consensual union in all the districts. The proportion is highest in Manya and Yilo Krobo where, incidentally, the margin between males (11.4% Yilo and 16.3 Manya) and females (13.5% Yilo and 19.3% Manya) is closest.
The percentage of married males is highest in Birim South (53.7%), Kwahu South (53.1%) and Kwaebibirem (52.9%). It is lowest in the two Krobo districts, Manya (38.1%) followed by Yilo (42.3%). The percentage of married females is highest in Afram Plains (61.2%) followed by Kwaebibirem (54.9%), Birim South (54.6%) and West Akim (53.4%). The lowest percentages of married females are in Manya Krobo (36.5%) and Yilo Krobo (41.4%).
While an almost equal proportion of males and females are married the incidence of widowhood is four times as high for the females compared with the males. This varies from 5.2 times in New Juaben, 4.9 times in Birim South, 4.6 times in Akwapim South, to the lowest in Kwaebibirem (3.1 times).
The pattern for the divorced is similar to that for the widowed, with higher proportions of female divorcees than male, in all the districts. For the region as a whole, there are 1.8 times as many female divorcees as males, with variations from 2.1 times in Birim South, New Juaben and Kwahu South, to 1.2 times in Afram Plains. The pattern for the separated is similar to that of the divorced and widowed.
Thus, the status of ever been, but no more, married, with all its consequences, are heaviest on females in the region. Apart from not benefiting from the mutual support and companionship that marriage offers, females who are no more in marital unions in the region are exposed to a variety of burdens for which there are at present no effective mitigating programme packages. Marriage itself presents challenges, but being no more in a marital union presents greater challenges, for females in the region.
The proportion never married is high for both males (37.1%) and females (23.0%) and in all districts, there is a higher proportion of never married males than females. The proportion of the never married males varies from New Juaben (49.1%), followed by Asuogyaman, Akwapim North and South (39.1% each) to the lowest in Kwaebibirem (32.0%). New Juaben equally recorded the highest percentage of never married females (34.0%) followed by Asuogyaman (26.1%), Akwapim South (25.2%) and the lowest in Birim North (18.7%).
The relatively higher proportion of never married males and, especially females, is a clear indicator of the increasing tendency of the youth to delay entering permanent marital unions. This has important implications for the already declining fertility in the region. It is to be noted, however, that in the context of the Eastern Region, being never married, does not necessarily imply not having a child. Given the current social, financial and housing conditions, the category “never married “is likely to increase for both sexes with accompanying important demographic and social consequences for the region.
Even though there is a legal minimum age prescribed for marriage, the 2000 Census data indicate that there are children; especially girls below age 15 years, who are in marital unions. Out of 158,395 children between ages 12-14 years, 1.5 per cent are married. Among the districts, Afram Plains has the highest proportion (2.7%) of married girls compared with 1.9 per cent for boys. In spite of the relatively low proportion of married children, attempts should be made to have children kept in school to prepare them for a fruitful life in adulthood, instead of their getting into, early marriages for which they are unprepared for.
Education and literacy
Nearly two-thirds (63.6%) of the population aged 15 years and older are literate, 46.4 per cent literate in both English and a Ghanaian language. The proportion of illiterate is 36.4 per cent of the regional population. The level of literacy is higher for males (73.5%) than for females (54.4%).
There is a considerable variation in the literacy levels among the districts. For example, in the Afram Plains District, which has the highest illiteracy level among the districts, almost two out of every three females (65.9%) are illiterates. The next highest illiteracy rate for females is in the Manya Krobo (55.5%), followed by the Yilo Krobo Districts (54.1). Inability to read and write is lower for males than for females in the districts. The Afram Plains District has the highest illiteracy rate (50.0%) for males, followed by males in the Fanteakwa District (33.7%). The least illiteracy level is in the New Juaben municipality where illiterates constitute 19.0 per cent of the adult population.
Of a population of 1,739,535, aged six years and older in the region, 30.6 per cent have never attended school. The proportion with Middle or JSS education is 30.1 per cent, while 25.5 per cent have primary education. Only 2.0 per cent have reached the tertiary level. The level of educational attainment for both males and females varies. Of the male population, six years and older, 24.0 per cent have never attended school, compared with 37.1 per cent for the females.
The level of educational attainment across the districts shows that slightly more than half of the population (51.9%) of Afram Plains, the highest in the region, have never attended school. The situation improves slightly in the Manya Krobo District (38.1%) and better still in the New Juaben municipality (16.0%). The New Juaben municipality has the highest percentage (35.8%) of those who attained Middle/JSS education while the Afram Plains has the least percentage (18.4%).
The Birim North has the highest percentage for primary school attainment, (28.9%) followed by the Suhum-Kraboa-Coaltar district (27.2%); the lowest in the Afram Plains (18.4%). Which also has the highest percentage (56.2%) of females who have never attended school, compared with 48.3 per cent males. The New Juaben municipality has the lowest percentage of males (10.8%) and females (20.8%) who have never school.
Current school attendance
Of the total enrolment 513,068 six years and older, in schools in the region, 62.4 per cent are at the primary level, 23.1 per cent at the Junior Secondary School and 6.9 per cent at the Senior Secondary School levels. It becomes immediately clear that there are serious distortions at the various levels. Should all the pupils at the primary schools qualify to enrol in the Junior Secondary Schools; the existing schools at the JSS level should run 3 shifts a day to accommodate them.
This attests not only to the stiff competition at the points of entry to the JSS, SSS levels as well as at the tertiary level but also accounts for the significant proportion of students who terminate their education at the primary and JSS levels.
The pattern of pupils/students, in the lower grades, competing for fewer places at the higher levels is reflected in all the districts. The differences are that there are better opportunities for those districts, which are better endowed with social amenities. For example, in the New Juaben municipality those in primary school, 51.1 per cent of the school population, have to compete for 25.1 per cent of places at the JSS level while the JSS students also have to complete for 11.4 per cent of places at the SSS level. This contrast with the situation in Afram Plains, where 66.5 per cent of primary school pupils have to compete for 15.0 per cent and 7.6 per cent of places at the JSS and SSS levels.
The Regional Minister
Eastern Regional Coordinating Council
P. O. Box 303, Koforidua
W / Africa
Tel: (+223 71) - 22365/22652
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