Chuks J. Mba


In this study, the living arrangements of persons aged 60 years and older in Ghana are examined. The data for the study emanate from the household roster component of the most recent nationally representative sample survey, the 2003 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey. The focus is on socio-economic and demographic characteristics, as well as co-residential patterns, of the elderly persons. Additionally, use is made of the 1960-2000 census results of Ghana in order to through light on the emerging phenomenon of population ageing in the country. The results show that the proportion of persons aged 60 years or older in Ghana has consistently risen from 5.2 percent in 1960 to 7.2 percent in 2000, representing 38 percent increase, while the number rose from 457,067 in 1960 to 1,367,343 in 2000, representing about 200 percent increase over the period. Differences by sex are marginal. Also, older adults in Ghana live in a variety of household arrangements. The elderly men are more likely to be living in nuclear households, while older women are more likely to be living in extended family households. Logistic regression analyses indicate that determinants of living with adult children and grandchildren differ by sex. A combination of fertility decline, migration, and urbanization puts the older women in a disadvantaged position since there are fewer adult children available to provide support and care, and there is no universal non-familial social security system. It can be argued that knowledge about the types of households in which older women live is a first step to understanding their needs in a part of the world with limited resources such as Ghana.

Note on the Author

Chuks J. Mba, Ph.D., United Nations Regional Institute for Population Studies, University of Ghana