25,905,000 (2013); 53 per cent of people live in urban areas and 17 per cent in urban agglomerations of more than one million people; growth 2.5 per cent p.a. 1990–2013; birth rate 31 per 1,000 people (47 in 1970); life expectancy 61 years (49 in 1970).
The population is predominantly of African groups: Akan (45 per cent in 2000 census), Mole-Dagbani (15 per cent), Ewe (12 per cent), Ga-Adangbe (seven per cent), Guan (four per cent), Gurma (four per cent) and Grusi (three per cent). There are very small minorities of other races.
The official language is English. The principal indigenous language group is Akan, of which Twi and Fanti are the most commonly used forms. Ga is spoken in the Accra region, Ewe in Volta, and the Mole–Dagbani language group in northern Ghana.
Christians 71 per cent in 2010 census and Muslims 18 per cent; traditional animist religions are often practised alongside both of these religions.
Public spending on health was three per cent of GDP in 2012. Public hospital and other medical care is provided at nominal rates. As well as public hospitals and clinics, some are private and some operated by religious missions. Some 87 per cent of the population uses an improved drinking water source and 14 per cent have access to adequate sanitation facilities (2012). Infant mortality was 52 per 1,000 live births in 2013 (126 in 1960). AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis pose serious problems, and there have been cases of yellow fever, bilharzia and intestinal worms in rural areas. In 2013, 1.3 per cent of people aged 15–49 were HIV positive.
Public spending on education was eight per cent of GDP in 2011. There are 11 years of compulsory education starting at the age of four. Primary school comprises six years and secondary seven, with cycles of three and four years. Some 72 per cent of pupils complete primary school (2008). The school year starts in September.
The longest established public universities are the University of Ghana (Legon, Accra, established 1948); Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Kumasi, 1952); University of Cape Coast (1962); University for Development Studies (main campus at Tamale, 1992); University of Education (Winneba, 1992); and University of Mines and Technology (Tarkwa, 2004). Other major tertiary institutions include the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (Achimota, Accra, 1961). There are also many teacher-training colleges, polytechnics and specialised tertiary institutions; and many private universities. The female–male ratio for gross enrolment in tertiary education is 0.60:1 (2012). Literacy among people aged 15–24 is 81 per cent (2010).
In 1977 Ghana hosted the Seventh Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers in Accra. Commonwealth Education Ministers meet every three years to discuss issues of mutual concern and interest.
Daily Graphic and Ghanaian Times (both state-owned), The Ghanaian Chronicle and Daily Guide are daily newspapers. The Herald publishes three times a week and The Mirror weekly.
Ghana Broadcasting Corporation is the public TV and radio provider, broadcasting in Ghanaian languages and English; many private radio stations and TV channels are also available, particularly in the urban areas.
Some 51 per cent of households have TV sets (2010). There are 11 personal computers per 1,000 people (2008).
Country code 233; internet domain ‘.gh’. Mobile phone coverage is good around main towns but patchy elsewhere. Internet connections exist in most towns and speeds are increasing.
For every 1,000 people there are ten landlines, 1,082 mobile phone subscriptions and 123 internet users (2013).
New Year’s Day, Independence Day (6 March), Workers’ Day (1 May), Africa Day (25 May), Republic Day (1 July), Farmers’ Day (first Friday in December), Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Religious and other festivals whose dates vary from year to year include Good Friday, Easter Monday, Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan) and Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice).