One-quarter of the elderly in Ghana are multidimensionally poor

Ghana Statistical Service shares census statistics on the elderly as the world celebrates International Day of Older Persons

The Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) reveals that the elderly population (60 years and older) has increased almost 10 times in the past six decades from a little over 200,000 (213,477) in 1960 to almost 2 million (1,991,736) in 2021. The elderly population comprises 861,830 (43.3%) males and 1,129,906 (56.7%) females.

The report further indicates that 341,960 elderly persons are living alone with 62,480 out of that number being 80 years and older. The findings also indicate that one out of every four (25.7%) elderly persons is multidimensionally poor, slightly lower than prevails in the total population (29.9%). The incidence of multidimensional poverty among the elderly ranges from 8.8% in the Greater Accra Region to 53.0% in the Savannah Region.

A little over a third (37.5%) of the elderly population is employed – five in every 10 (50.0%) for the age group 60 to 69 years, about three in every 10 (28.6%) for the age group 70 to 79 years, and one in every 10 (10.7%) for the age group 80 years and older. Nine out of every 10 (90.1%) employed elderly persons is working in the private informal sector with eight out of every ten (80.0%) being self-employed without employees. Nationally, 395,693 older persons representing over half (53.2%) of the employed elderly population are in vulnerable employment.

The increasing aging population calls for an assessment of Ghana’s preparedness to safeguard the well-being of the growing numbers of older persons in the country. These findings emanate from an upcoming 2021 Population and Housing Census (PHC) thematic brief which examines their profile with key indicators of their wellbeing. The analysis further identifies vulnerable sub-groups within the elderly population.

An earlier report, the 2021 PHC General Report Volume 3B: Age and Sex Profile which presents statistics on the elderly by age and sex, disaggregated by region and type of locality, is available to download from census2021.statsghana.gov.gh