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Patterns of population change in Ghana (1984-2000): urbanization and frontier development

Lasse Moller-Jensen and Michael H. Knudsen
GeoJournal
Vol. 73, No. 4 (2008), pp. 307-320
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41148304
Page Count: 14
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Patterns of population change in Ghana (1984-2000): urbanization and frontier development
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Abstract

The study addresses population dynamics in Ghana on the urban and regional levels between 1984 and 2000. At the urban level, the development trends are analyzed for urban localities (population above 5,000) on the basis of geo-coded census data. Potential driving forces for rapid population growth related to size, location, accessibility and facility counts are examined using bivariate and multivariate analysis. An index of weighted accessibility relative to other urban localities provides significant explanation at the national level, as does initial locality size. At the regional level, population development is analyzed to provide insight into the rural-urban relations. The level of urbanization is steadily increasing but varies considerably between regions. Areas of high population growth are found in some rural areas that have a remote location relative to the large urban centers. This seems to indicate the existence of ' frontier' regions, i. e. areas that experience a high degree of in-migration by people aiming to undertake specific farming activities. A high proportion of the population growth in these areas appears to take place in relatively small towns. The paper concludes with a more in-depth discussion of the development characteristics of Ghana's Western Region. This region has experienced one of the highest regional population growth rates, mainly due to its status as a ' frontier' for cocoa production.

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