Case study

People count in Ghana

UK aid supports Ghana's 2010 population and housing census which will provide vital information on the population

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In Ghana, DFID’s support to the 2010 population and housing census will help ensure the government’s services and UK aid reach those who need it most.

The census will count Ghana’s estimated 24 million citizens and provide vital information on the population’s social, demographic, economic and housing characteristics. The results will give the government a better idea of where services are most needed, such as how many teachers are required and in what areas, where water supplies should be planned, and where roads and hospitals may have to be built as Ghana’s population expands. Better information on the population of Ghana will also help ensure projects supported by UK aid are targeted at the poorest people.

The UK aid backed Livelihoods Empowerment Against Poverty Programme (LEAP), for example, is already providing grants to 35,000 of the most vulnerable households in Shama District, Western Region. The UK is supporting the Government of Ghana’s aim to reach a further 164,000 of the poorest households by 2012/13, and information from the census will help to ensure LEAP payments can be directed to the people who need them most.

Census night, data collection

Data has been collected during the 3 to 4 weeks since Ghana’s census night, which was on 26 September 2010. 43,000 people, many of them teachers, are involved in counting and supervising this enormous task.

In Twifo Heman, Lower Denkyira, Benjamin Oscar Acquaye, a primary school teacher, questions the head of an 8 member household. The head is proud of her house with 2 rooms and electricity, and reports that no-one has disabilities, and there have been no deaths in the household in the last year.

In Bantoma, Elmina, on the Cape Coast, Kate Odinga Eyison interviews a mother of 5 in front of the compound where she lives. The children run inside the blue shuttered compound to hide, as Kate asks their mother about the toilet facilities, which are shared between four households within the compound.

Preliminary data on Ghana’s population should be available by early 2011. A post-enumeration survey, funded by UK aid, will place a further check on the accuracy and coverage of the census data. This survey will replicate the census questions in a number of small sample areas, following international best practise in census undertaking.

The UK’s next census is coming in March 2011 - so be ready to be counted too!

Key facts

UK aid is supporting Ghana’s Statistical Development Plan, which includes the 2010 population and housing census.

These funds are channelled into a World Bank trust fund, designed to accept funds from a variety of development partners.

UK aid is helping to strengthen the structures and systems in Ghana’s Ministry of Employment & Social Welfare. More efficient systems will facilitate the implementation of the LEAP programme.

UN population prospects, 2010 revision 

Published 19 October 2010