Ghana is a country of about 27 million people, comprising dozens of native ethnic groups, such as:
- the Akans in the centre and South of the country;
- the Ga and Adangbe in, around and East of Accra;
- the Guang peoples in the rain forest;
- the Dagombas, Mamprusi and related peoples in the North;
- the Gurunsi languages speaking peoples in the far North;
- the Gonjas in Northern Region.
English, is the official language, but the indigenous Twi of the Ashantis, the Fante language, Frafra, Ga, Dagbani, Mampruli, Gonja and Ewe also have official status and are taught in school as indigenous (local) language in the respective areas where they predominate.
In 1957, Ghana became the first country in colonial sub-Saharan Africa to win independence. The nationalist pride fomented by this, along with a rich cultural heritage, has helped unify Ghana’s diverse groups of people. Although many facets of Ghanaian culture vary between ethnic groups, the overall unification of the culture is perhaps one of the reasons why Ghana has enjoyed a stable and peaceful political climate in the post-colonial era.
Life in Ghana is peaceful. The people are caring, loving and above all hospitable.
- The 20 million or so Ghanaians are ethnically diverse, with three major ethnic groups and numerous minority groups. The largest ethnic group in Ghana is the Akan, which makes up 45.3 percent of the population. The second largest are the Mole-Dagbon, with 15.2 percent, followed by the Ewe people with 11.7 percent of the population. There are also minority populations of Gonja, Dagomba and Mamprussi tribes, mainly in the north.
- Ghana has 16 nature protection areas covering approximately 5% of the country. The forest zone is of particular interest for the diversity of wildlife, though only around a tenth of Ghana’s virgin tropical forest remains intact because of logging and clearance for farmland.
- According to the World Factbook, Ghana’s population is 68.8 percent Christian and 15.9 percent Muslim, with 8.5 percent practicing traditional religions. Traditional beliefs vary from group to group. Akan religion emphasizes the ancestors, along with a number of gods, goddesses and other spirits. Christianization has influenced some Ghanaian traditions, including the abandonment of polygamy in favor of monogamy among the Christian population.
- Ghana has a 50 percent urban population, and half of the workforce is employed in the agricultural sector. The unemployment rate is around 11 percent. Life expectancy is 60.5, which is higher than 36 other sub-Saharan African countries. The GDP per capita in 2009 was $1,500, making Ghana the 199th (out of 227) richest country in the world, according to the World Factbook. In 2007, 28.5 percent of the population lived below the poverty line. In rural areas in the south, houses generally consist of connected one-story rooms around a central courtyard. In the south, rural settlements consist of dispersed farmsteads. In urban areas, modified European-style buildings prevail, but only the richest Ghanaians live in western-style houses. Most live in urbanized versions of traditional villages.