Amidst reports of increasing poverty worldwide, fewer Ghanaians are poor than they were about eight years ago.
Whereas in 2006, 7 million Ghanaians were recorded as poor and 3.6 million extremely poor this year 6.4 million are poor and 2.2 million extremely poor.
The good news is from the latest Ghana Living Standard Survey released in Accra, the Ghanaian capital. The 6.4 million Ghanaians represent 24.2 percent of the national population.
Conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), the survey indicated that Ghana has been experiencing poverty reduction since 1991.
However, while all regions experienced a decrease in poverty, the Eastern Region recorded an increase of 17.8 per cent.
Ironically, the Eastern Region was the second richest region in the last survey in 2006.
The survey also had key findings in health, education, and employment.
- Currently, there are 6.6 million households in the country out of which 3656.5 are urban and 294.5 rural.
- 20 per cent of the population who were 15 years and above, had never attended school. The number, which was higher for girls and women, represented 24.3 per cent of the population.
- The Brong Ahafo Region had the highest number of National Health Insurance coverage with 82.2 per cent, while the Greater Accra Region had the least with 58.3 per cent.
- The health sector made strides in child health as the findings indicated that 98 per cent of children under five years of age received vaccination, while 99 per cent were breastfed.
- 5 per cent of pregnancies did not result in live births in the last 12 months preceding the survey.
- Only 3.5 per cent of the population visited the hospitals for random check-ups while 87.7 per cent had to see a doctor because they were sick.
- Brong Ahafo and the Upper West regions recorded the highest proportion with 33.5 per cent as against the Greater Accra Region with 5.2 per cent.
According to GSS the survey took one year, from October 2012 to September 2013,during which 18,000 households in 1,200 enumeration areas were covered.
This is Ghana’s sixth survey, with the first in 1987. The second, third, fourth, and fifth rounds were conducted in 1988, 1991 to 1992, 1998 to 1999, and 2005 to 2006, respectively.
Living standards surveys are important as they provide the government and other development partners with the information to take critical decisions affecting the development of the people and growth of the economy.
Such surveys also provide evidence for what actions needed to be taken to improve the lot of the people, particularly the marginalised.
Prior to the dissemination of the findings, a workshop was organised for journalists in the Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, and Eastern regions to help them understand and appreciate the information and report more accurately on the findings.