14 Million Ghanaians considered to be poor in a Survey

A recent study entitled ‘Multi-dimensional Poverty-Ghana’ by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) has found that 14 million of the country’s total population of 31 million are multi-dimensionally disadvantaged.
Multi-dimensional poverty was defined in the study to mean multiple simultaneous deprivations faced by a person at the same time.

Such deprivations, including lack or inadequate access to quality healthcare, accommodation, schooling, nutrition, sanitation, water and money, were mentioned.

Poverty has been measured in a more nuanced manner than monetary inequality by the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI).

The study found that disparity between rural and urban populations remained a problem, with the rate of multi-dimensional poverty in rural areas being more than double that of urban areas, based on the Ghana Living Standards Survey of 2016/2017 and the Ghana Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys of 2011 and 2018.

It claimed that sanitation remained a major problem in the country, followed by health insurance coverage, with the elderly being the most deprived of access to sanitation facilities.
The study claimed that the deprivation of sanitation was largely due to the prevalence of numerous households in shared toilet facilities.

Regarding health insurance, it claimed that while many Ghanaians had enrolled with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), due to a shortage of funds to upgrade their annual premiums, most of them were unable to use it.

The study encouraged policymakers to assign high priority to policies that, in regions with a high prevalence of multidimensional poverty, could reduce the phenomenon.

The MPI would be helpful in tracking individuals and households’ social progress towards achieving the country’s Sustainable Development Goals.


Ghana saw a substantial decrease in the prevalence of poverty from 52.6% in 1991 to 23.4% in 2017, while extreme poverty plummeted from 37.6% to 8.2% in the same period, making it the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) goal of halving extreme poverty well ahead of the global 2015 deadline in 2006.

However, the poverty reduction rate between 2013 and 2017 was marginal, with a growth of about 400,000 in the absolute number of poor people.

Ghana’s ‘Trends of Poverty and Deprivation’ study showed that 6.8 million people were trapped as disadvantaged on the basis of demographic forecasts for 2017 and could thus not afford to pay GH 4.82 a day in 2016/17.

It also suggested that 2.4 million persons were highly low to the point that they could not afford to spend GH 2.69 per day on food (GH 982.1) per year in 2016/17 by adding all their expenses together.

Poverty in Ghana remains primarily a rural phenomenon, with the seventh in 2017/2018 being the Ghana Living Standards Survey (GLSS 7) round found that 39.5% of rural dwellers were poor, compared with 7.8% in urban areas.

Evidence suggests that the decrease of family wages and the shortage of sufficient social protection nets worsen child poverty.

Child poverty

With barely 10 years to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in which Aim 1.2 requires all Member States, including Ghana, to reduce by at least half, by 2030, the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions by national definitions, the country’s poverty index remains very high.

The first national study showed that three out of four children are deprived in several respects of at least three or more fundamental human rights and needs or multiple aspects of well-being, a condition defined by the report as “multi-dimensionally poor.”

The number converts into 73.4% of all children in the country. It claimed that only 2.5% of children were not deprived of any of the eight dimensions of poverty used in the study, while only 8.3% were deprived of poverty in only one dimension.

At the national level, it was reported that 28.2% of all children were monetarily poor, a condition very prevalent in rural areas.

Source: graphic


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