Ghana has a population of about 24 million people. It is home to more than 100 different ethnic groups. Fortunately, Ghana has not seen the kind of ethnic conflict that has created civil wars in many other African countries. The official language is English; however, most Ghanaians also speak at least one local language.
The five largest cities in Ghana are:
- Accra 3,096,784
- Kumasi 2,604,909
- Tamale 390,730
- Takoradi 260,651
- Tema 229,106
As of 2009, life expectancy at birth is about 59 years for males and 60 years for females with infant mortality at 51 per 1000 live births . The birth rate is also about 4 children born per woman. There are about 15 physicians and 93 nurses per 100,000 persons. 4.5% of the country's GDP was spent on health in 2003.
On average it takes about 20 years for a child to complete their education in Ghana. Children from wealthy families usually benefit from attending private schools while children who are from poor families attend public schools. Most children in Ghana begin their education at the age of three or four.
They first enter nursery school then followed two years in kindergarten. After kindergarten, the child then continues to primary school, junior high school, senior high school and then finally university. Before there were more boys enrolled in schools than girls but with the implementation of equal rights for men and women there are about the same number of boys and girls enrolled in schools in Ghana now.
The Republic of Ghana has 12,630 primary schools, 5,450 junior secondary schools, 503 senior secondary schools, 21 training colleges, 18 technical institutions, two diploma-awarding institutions and five universities serving a population of 18 million; this means that most Ghanaians have relatively easy access to good education. In contrast, at the time of independence in 1957, Ghana had only one university and a handful of secondary schools.
In addition, research in the Ga District has found that approximately 15% of the children in Ga attended private schools unrecognised by the government. In the past decade, Ghana's spending on education has been between 28 percent and 40 percent of its annual budget. However, according to Odeneho Ababio, President of the National House of Chiefs, many children only have access to basic education because of the private schools in their communities.
The religious composition of Ghana in the first postindependence population census of 1960 was 41 percent Christian, 38 percent traditionalist, 12 percent Muslim, and the rest (about 9 percent) no religious affiliation.
Religious tolerance in Ghana is very high. The major Christian celebrations of Christmas and Easter are recognized as national holidays. In the past, vacation periods have been planned around these occasions, thus permitting both Christians and others living away from home to visit friends and family in the rural areas
Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, is observed by Muslims across the country. Important traditional occasions are celebrated by the respective ethnic groups. These festivals include the Adae, which occur fortnightly, and the annual Odwira festivals of the Akan. On these sacred occasions, the Akan ancestors are venerated.
There are also the annual Homowo activities of the Ga-Adangbe, during which people return to their home towns to gather together, to greet new members of the family, and to remember the dead. The religious rituals associated with these festivities are strictly observed by the traditional elders of the respective ethic groups.