Localities of 5,000 persons and above have been classified as
urban since 1960. On this basis, the 1960 urban population totalled
1,551,174 persons, or 23.1 percent of total population. By 1970,
the percentage of the country's population residing in urban
centers had increased to 28 percent. That percentage rose to 32 in
1984 and was estimated at 33 percent for 1992 (see
Like the population density figures, the rate of urbanization
varied from one administrative region to another. While the Greater
Accra Region showed an 83-percent urban residency, the Ashanti
Region matched the national average of 32 percent in 1984. The
Upper West Region of the country recorded only 10 percent of its
population in urban centers that year, which reflected internal
migration to the south and the pattern of development that favored
the south, with its minerals and forest resources, over the north.
Urban areas in Ghana have customarily been supplied with more
amenities than rural locations. Consequently, Kumasi, Accra, and
many towns within the southern economic belt attracted more people
than the savanna regions of the north; only Tamale in the north has
been an exception. The linkage of the national electricity grid to
the northern areas of the country in the late 1980s may help to
stabilize the north-to-south flow of internal migration.
The growth of urban population notwithstanding, Ghana continued
to be a nation of rural communities. The 1984 enumeration showed
that six of the country's ten regions had rural populations of 5
percent or more above the national average of 68 percent. Rural
residency was estimated to be 67 percent of the population in 1992.
These figures, though reflecting a trend toward urban residency,
were not very different from the 1970s when about 72 percent of the
nation's population lived in rural areas.
In an attempt to perpetuate this pattern of rural-urban
residency and thereby to lessen the consequent socioeconomic impact
on urban development, the "Rural Manifesto," which assessed the
causes of rural underdevelopment, was introduced in April 1984.
Development strategies were evaluated, and some were implemented to
make rural residency more attractive. As a result, the Bank of
Ghana established more than 120 rural banks to support rural
entrepreneurs, and the rural electrification program was
intensified in the late 1980s. The government, moreover, presented
its plans for district assemblies as a component of its strategy
for rural improvement through decentralized administration, a
program designed to allow local people to become more involved in
planning development programs to meet local needs
(see District Assembly Elections
, ch. 4).
Data as of November 1994