It was estimated in 1992 that 31 percent of the population of Ghana was below the poverty line of US$1 a day. People below this line do not have enough income to meet the barest minimums of food, clothing, and shelter. Almost all those in poverty were located in the rural areas, and rely on agricultural production from small family farms or herding family-based livestock for their
|GDP per Capita (US$)|
|SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.|
|Distribution of Income or Consumption by Percentage Share: Ghana|
|Survey year: 1997|
|Note: This information refers to expenditure shares by percentiles of the population and is ranked by per capita expenditure.|
|SOURCE: 2000 World Development Indicators [CD-ROM].|
livelihood. Income in 1992 was very unevenly distributed, with the poorest 10 percent of the population receiving only 3.4 percent of total household income while the richest 10 percent received 27.3 percent.
While Ghana is considered to be among the least developed countries in the world, it is rated as one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. It is a low-income economy; using the purchasing power parity conversion (which allows for the low price of many basic commodities in Ghana) GDP per head was US$1,900 in 1999. The rate of per capita income growth during the years between 1985 and 1995 averaged 1.4 percent per year, rising to 1.7 percent per year between 1996 and 1997, and this performance has brought about a significant increase in living standards. The growth in GDP per head experienced by Ghana is vitally important in reducing poverty, with every 1 percent of GDP per head growth reducing those in poverty by 2 percent. Thus the 1.7 percent per year rate of GDP per head growth shifts over 200,000 people out of poverty each year.
The UN Human Development Index, which combines indicators for income, health, and education, placed Ghana at 129 out of 174 countries in 1998, making Ghana one of the few African countries to achieve a medium level of human development. This means that Ghana is placed among those countries with levels of income, health provision, and educational facilities that are midway between the high human development countries of Europe, North America, and Australasia, and the very poorest and most deprived countries, mostly in Africa, where many people do not have enough food to meet minimum nutritional levels, and have no access to health or educational services.