Population ageing and survival challenges in rural Ghana

  • Chuks J Mba Regional Institute for Population Studies, University of Ghana, P.O. Box 96, Legon, Ghana
Keywords: ageing, elderly, Ghana, population, rural

Abstract

The significant achievements of global declines in infant and maternal mortality, reductions in fertility, decreases in infectious and parasitic diseases and improvements in nutrition and education have resulted in the numerical growth of elderly populations around the world. The demographic profile of Ghana reveals that currently persons aged 60 years and over constitute about 7 per cent of the total population. Most of these elderly persons reside in rural areas. The principal data for this study emanate from the 1960, 1970, 1984 and 2000 census results of Ghana and the 1988, 1993 and 1998 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey data. Population projections by the component method were carried out using the SPECTRUM software, while the medium variant projections were used because of their direct relevance to policy formulation and decision-making. The census results showed that the proportion of the aged population in each age group (60–64, 65–69, 70–74, 75–79, 80+) has risen over the years. Both the number and proportion of the elderly to the total population have consistently increased and the proportion of rural elderly persons rose markedly from 4.1 per cent of the total population in 1960 to 7.9 per cent in 2000. Because of modernization and urbanization, the traditional solidarity network, particularly the extended family system, is disintegrating, leaving the elderly with little or no means of support and care. As a result, Ghana\'s rapidly increasing older population is in a precarious situation that is likely to perpetuate poverty.
Key words: ageing, elderly, Ghana, population, rural
Journal of Social Development in Africa Vol.19(2) 2004: 90-112
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