More Youth Moving To Europe, America - Census Figures Suggest

More Ghanaians, especially the youth, are leaving the country to seek greener pastures in Europe and America.

Statistics from the Ghana Statistical Service showed that a total of 293,416 persons were captured as Ghanaian emigrants in the 2021 Population and Housing Census compared to the 2010 data of 250,624.

The report was launched in Accra disclosed.

Figures contained in a thematic report on migration in Accra disclosed that these travelers were dominated by young adults with a median age of 35 years, while there were more emigrants with rural origin of 78.6 per cent among ages of 20-49 than those with urban origin.

The report indicated that 37.6 per cent of the Ghanaian emigrants were in Europe, and 23.6 per cent in Americas, which had remained virtually unchanged since 2010.

A third of the destinations of Ghanaian emigrants were in Africa, mainly in ECOWAS countries, the report added.

Cote d'Ivoire had most of Ghanaian emigrants in West Africa with 7.3 per cent followed by Nigeria with 6.0 per cent.

Non-Ghanaian population

The report, however, pointed out that there had been a decline in the non-Ghanaian population in the country between 2010 and 2021 from 398,585 to 294,341.

It said Nigerians were the majority of the non-Ghanaian population, forming 26.2 per cent of that population, while Togolese were 20.5 per cent, Nigeriens were 16.1 per cent, Burkinabes were 16.0 per cent, Ivorians were 4.3 per cent and Asians comprised 3.8 per cent.

Presenting the report, the lead writer of the report, Prof. John K. Anarfi, said the two main reasons people were leaving the country were to enable them seek employment and education or training, while others were marriage-related and family reunion.

The report said more than half of the emigrant population originated from Greater Accra and Ashanti regions only.

Prof. Anarfi said other studies on migration in the country showed that there had been a stepwise migration pattern whereby people left small settlements and moved on progressively to bigger towns until they ended up in the city.

“There is evidence that the country is no more able to create jobs for its young adults, and they are being forced to look elsewhere for livelihood opportunities,” he said.

The statistics, Prof. Anarfi noted, explained that the country had failed to take advantage of the demographic dividend that portrayed the country as one with youthful population for which reason some action and policy decisions must be taken to address the issue.

“Efforts must, therefore, be intensified, not only to ensure good health and better education for the youth, but also to create viable economic conditions for jobs to thrive in an atmosphere of good governance,” he appealed.

Tackle SDGs

The Chief Director of the Ministry of the Interior, Adelaide Anno-Kumi, said the data on migration would aid basic planning to be able to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The ministry, she said, would engage further with the Statistical Service on the production of analytical reports that would seek to answer policy-relevant research questions on migration.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Chief of Mission in Ghana, Fatou Ndiaye, said the IOM would continue to provide support for capacity of officials for the effective management of migration in Ghana as issues of improving statistics on migration had gained currency in recent times.