Volume 39 - Article 44 | Pages 1181–1226  

Contemporary female migration in Ghana: Analyses of the 2000 and 2010 Censuses

By Samantha R. Lattof, Philomena Nyarko, Ernestina Coast, Tiziana Leone


Background: Knowledge of female migration patterns is scant despite increased recognition and reporting of the feminization of migration. Recent data on female internal migration in Ghana challenges historical assumptions that underestimated female migration.

Objective: This study presents the first detailed comparative analyses of female migration using microdata from Ghana’s censuses (2000 and 2010) and exploits this national data to understand the gendered dimensions of migration.

Methods: Secondary analyses use direct and indirect methods to describe the scale, type, and demographic structure of contemporary female migration; assess the distribution of female migrants across age and geography; and estimate net internal female migration.

Results: Excluding international migrants, census microdata identified 31.1% of females as internal migrants in 2000 and 37.4% of females as internal migrants in 2010. Working-age migration was particularly pronounced in 2010, reinforcing economic opportunity as a likely driver of migration for both sexes. Female migrants were significantly more likely than female nonmigrants to reside in urban areas and work for pay, profit, or family gain. By 2010, married women were less likely to migrate than peers who had never married. Net out-migration exceeded net in-migration in eight of Ghana’s ten regions.

Contribution: Our analyses expand the evidence base on contemporary female migration and refute the outdated stereotype that girls and women do not participate in migration. The prominence of the Greater Accra and Ashanti Regions as destinations for female migrants suggests that interventions are needed in Ghana’s more rural regions to reduce poverty and develop greater economic opportunities for girls and women.

Author's Affiliation

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

Collecting data from migrants in Ghana: Lessons learned using respondent-driven sampling
Volume 38 - Article 36

The quality of demographic data on older Africans
Volume 34 - Article 5

The power of the interviewer: A qualitative perspective on African survey data collection
Volume 28 - Article 27

Is fertility stalling in Jordan?
Volume 26 - Article 13

Fertility and union dissolution in Brazil: an example of multi-process modelling using the Demographic and Health Survey calendar data
Volume 17 - Article 7

Disciplining anthropological demography
Volume 16 - Article 16

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

Fertility decline, changes in age structure, and the potential for demographic dividends: A global analysis
Volume 50 - Article 9    | Keywords: age structure, demographic dividend, demographic transition, fertility, migration, population momentum, working-age population

War and mobility: Using Yandex web searches to characterize intentions to leave Russia after its invasion of Ukraine
Volume 50 - Article 8    | Keywords: Brain drain, migration, Russia, search trends, Ukraine, Yandex

How do environmental stressors influence migration? A meta-regression analysis of environmental migration literature
Volume 50 - Article 2    | Keywords: environmental, instrumental variables, meta analysis, migration, partial correlation coefficient, weighted regression

The dynamic role of household structure on under-5 mortality in southern and eastern sub-Saharan Africa
Volume 49 - Article 11    | Keywords: child mortality, Health and Demographic Surveillance System, household structure, sub-Saharan Africa

Geographic proximity to siblings in older adulthood
Volume 49 - Article 7    | Keywords: geographical proximity, older adults, population, register data, Sweden