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Over half a million Ghanaians are divorced, 400k separated – 2021 PHC


An analysis of data derived from Ghana’s 2021 Population and Housing Census (PHC) indicates that a significant 553,065 individuals have undergone divorce, while another 405,090 have gone through separation. These statistics were gathered during interviews conducted throughout the duration of the 2021 PHC, which commenced on June 27 and concluded on August 15 of the same year.

According to the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), among the 553,065 individuals who went through divorce, 362,233 were female, accounting for 65.5%, while the remaining 190,832 were male, representing 34.5%. The disparity in gender distribution is suggested to potentially stem from factors such as remarriage, death of a partner, or reluctance to identify oneself as divorced or separated.

Regarding separation, of the 400,000-plus individuals, a majority of 252,079 were females, with the remaining 153,011 being males. The 2021 Population and Housing Census statistics put the total number of persons married in Ghana at 8,366,466 out of which 6,748,622 of them have not registered their marriages, with only 1,617,844 registered.

This data reflects the complexities within marital statuses in Ghana, highlighting the prevalence of divorce and separation while shedding light on the significant number of unregistered marriages within the population.

Marital Status

According to the report, marital status refers to the civil status of a person aged 12 years or older as of the Census Night on Sunday, June 27, 2021. It may be one of the following cases: Informal/consensual union/living together: A person living together in a marital union but without civil or traditional recognition. Married under civil/ordinance, customary/traditional and Islamic rites, whether registered or not.

Separated vs Divorced

According to the Service;

Separated: A person who no longer has common living arrangements with the spouse but whose marriage has not been declared customarily or legally dissolved.

Divorced: A person whose marriage has been annulled or dissolved either in a court of law or by custom and has not remarried.

By: Isaac Kofi Agyei

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