All major ethnic groups in Ghana: regions, population size, culture

All major ethnic groups in Ghana: regions, population size, culture

With a population of over 30 million people, Ghana is the second-most populous country in West Africa after Nigeria. It is a multiethnic, multilingual, and multireligious country. Discover everything there is to know about major ethnic groups in Ghana, including their regions, population size, and culture.

ethnic groups in Ghana
The Royal Court of the king of the Ashanti assembled in front of the Manhyia Palace gates in Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti Region in Ghana, West Africa. Photo: Education Images
Source: Getty Images

Ghana has a diverse cultural and linguistic population that strives for the same goals. There are over seventy ethnic tribes spread evenly across the country. Each tribe is frequently subdivided into subgroups. While some ethnic groups still exist and practice their cultures, others have disappeared due to urbanization and other factors.

All major ethnic groups in Ghana

How many ethnic groups are in Ghana? Currently, there are over 90 ethnic groups in the country.

What are the main ethnic groups in Ghana? There are six major ethnic groups in Ghana's population. They are the Akan, the Mole-Dagbon, the Ewe, the Ga-Dangme, the Gurma and the Guan. These ethnic groups are further subdivided into more than 60 smaller ones.

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1. Akan

  • Population: Approximately 24-25 million
  • Dialects: Agona, Ahafo, Akyem Bosome, Asen, Denkyira, Fante, Kwawu, Twi
  • Elements of culture: Art, kente cloth, adinkra symbols, names, calendar, chieftaincy and religion
  • Notable individuals: Kwame Nkrumah, Kofi Annan, Arthur Wharton

The Akan are one of the most populous ethnic groups in West Africa today. The Akan people dominated gold mining and the gold trade in the region, and they were one of West Africa's most powerful groups. To maintain autonomy, they fought numerous battles against European colonists and also have a good history as farmers and merchants.

2. Gurma

  • Population: Approximately 1.8 million
  • Dialects: Frafra
  • Elements of culture: Music and dance, cuisine, architecture, religion, festivals, clothing and art and craft
  • Notable individuals: Mahama Shaibu, Ibrahim Mahama, Alhassan Andani,

Gurma is an ethnic group primarily found in northeastern Ghana. They have kept local traditional beliefs alive, though some adhere to Islam. The Gurma live in a forested savanna that becomes drier and grassier to the north, with mostly flat land marked by inselberg hills. The primary occupation is farming, but cattle are also raised.

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3. Ewe

  • Population: Approximately 6 million
  • Dialects: Anlo, Avenor, Tafi, Logba, Gbi, Awlan, Kpándo, Vhlin, Kpelen, Fodome, Wancé, Wací, and Adángbe (Capo)
  • Elements of culture: Druming, music and dance
  • Notable individuals: Jerry John Rawlings, Emmanuel Kwasi Kotoka, Komla Agbeli Gbedemah

The Ewe people live in southeastern Ghana as well as the southern parts of neighbouring Togo and Benin. The Ewe are divided into three groups: Anglo (Anlo), Bey (Be), and Gen.

Despite the fact that the Ewe have been described as a single language group, there is significant dialectic variation. Some of these dialects can be understood by each other, but only with difficulty. The majority of Ewe were farmers with livestock, and there was some craft specialization.

4. Ga-Adangbe

  • Population: Approximately 600,000
  • Dialects: Ga and Dangme
  • Elements of culture: Homowo festival, Asafotu festival, drumming and dancing, rites of passage, funerals and "fantasy" coffins
  • Notable individuals: Ebenezer Ako-Adjei, Tetteh Quarshie, Nii Tackie Tawiah III, John William Hansen

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The Ga-Adangbe people are classified as part of the Ga-Dangme ethnolinguistic group. They are a single ethnic group in Ghana's Greater Accra region. Dangme occupations include fishing, trading, and farming, all of which follow the Huza system.

They are organized into clans based on patrilineal descent; the clans are further subdivided into localized patrilineages, which are the basic historical, political, and cultural tribal units of the Ga-Dangme.

5. Mole-Dagbon

tribes in ghana
Local chiefs wait for visiting Dutch Crown Prince Willem Alexander and Princess Maxima at Elmina Castle. Photo: Michel Porro
Source: Getty Images
  • Population: Approximately 5 million
  • Dialects: Gur Read more:
  • Elements of culture: Dance and music, festivals, weapons
  • Notable individuals: Alhaji Aliu Mahama, Alhaji Mumuni Bawumia

The Mole Dagbani migrated from the northeast corner of Lake Chad to the south of the Niger bend, Zamfara, in modern-day Nigeria. The tribe is thought to have originated in these areas around the 13th century. Its distinct traditional and cultural practices distinguish it from other tribes. They are very withdrawn because of their Islamic beliefs, and their culture is also highly dependent on oral tradition.

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6. Guan

  • Population: Approximately 1 million
  • Dialects: Anum, Boso, Larteh, Okere, Kyerepong, Krachi, Buem, Nkonya, Likpe, Santrokofi, Akpafu and more
  • Elements of culture: Food, festivals, religion
  • Notable individuals: Florence Obinim,

The Guan people are thought to have migrated from the Mossi region of modern Burkina around the year 1000. They speak Kwa languages from the Niger-Congo language family. They are mostly Muslims, accounting for approximately 58% of the population.

Other tribes in Ghana include:

  • Dagaaba
  • Krobo
  • Hausa
  • Nzema
  • Zarma
  • Mossi‎
  • Abidji
  • Tallensi
  • Guang
  • Abron
  • Mamprusi
  • Abutia
  • Tabom
  • Ahafo
  • Gurunsi
  • Ashanta
  • Wala
  • Akyem
  • Kusasi
  • Anlo Ewe
  • Kyode
  • Anyi
  • Konkomba
  • Assin
  • Nanumba
  • Avatime
  • Bimoba
  • Frafra
  • Bissa
  • Soninke
  • Chumburu
  • Chumburung
  • Dagomba
  • Tshi
  • Dyula
  • Evalue
  • Gonja
  • Fante
  • Jakhanke
  • Ewe
  • Karamogo
  • Agave
  • Kassena
  • Logba
  • Nafana
  • Yoruba
  • Nuna
  • Peki (Krepi)
  • Tem
  • Efutu
  • Yeji

What are the ethnic groups in each region in Ghana?

how many ethnic groups are in Ghana
Locals dance during a performance at the Kopeyia drumming village in Ghana. Photo: Jacob Silberberg
Source: Getty Images

Linguists classify Ghanaian tribes as belonging to one of two major ethnic groups in Ghana: the Kwa and Gur groups, which are members of the Niger-Congo linguistic family. You can find these cultural institutions on the Volta River's southern and northern banks.

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The Kwa linguistic group

The Kwa linguistic group, which includes the Akan, Ewe, and Ga-Adangbe, is located in south Volta. This group accounts for 75% of Ghana's population.

The Akan tribe consists of Fante, Asante, Akyem, Ahanta, Akwamu, Bono, Safwi, Akwapim, and Kwahu subgroups. The Ga-Adangbe tribe comprises several local language groups, including Ga, Ada, Adangbe, Kloli, and Krobo.

Even though Ewe is a single linguistic group, it is divided into Tafi, Nkonya, Lolobi, Likpe, and Sontrokofi.

The Gur linguistic group

The Niger-Congo languages include the Gur languages, also known as Central Gur or Mabia. This group includes approximately 70 languages spoken in various parts of West Africa.

In Ghana, the Gur group is subdivided into three major ethnic groups. They are the Grusi, Gurma, and the Mole-Dangbane. Just like the Kwa, the Gur also has further subdivisions.

Popular dance groups in Ghana

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Ghana ethnic groups have a variety of dances performed by different tribes. Below is a list of some of the main dances from different Ghana tribes.

1. Adowa dance (Akans)

The Akans perform the Adowa dance, which gets its name from the movements of the antelope (Adowa).

The dance's tone changes depending on the situation and is used to communicate emotions and feelings between both sexes. It is frequently seen at festivals, funerals, and weddings.

2. Agbadza (Ewe tribe)

This traditional dance is performed by the Ewe tribe of the Volta Region. The Agbadza derives from an ancient conflict known as the Atrikpui and is usually performed during the Hogbestsotso festival.

The Agbadza dance consists of five motions: the Banyinyi, Vutsotsor, Adzo, and Hatsatsa.

3. The Bamaya (Dagomba people)

The Dagomba people commemorate the end of a drought with the Bamaya dance. It was first performed in the early nineteenth century in Dagbon states in the Northern Region.

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The Bamaya is a "rain dance" originally only performed by women. Nowadays, however, it is performed by men dressed as women.

4. ​​The KPLE (Ga-Dangme)

The KPLE dance is performed to communicate with the gods and bring good fortune to the people. During the Homowo celebration in late August and early September, priestesses perform this ritual dance in shrines throughout Greater Accra.

5. Apatampa dance (Fanti people)

The Fanti people of Ghana perform Apatampa, a Ghanaian dance. The name of the dance is thought to be derived from a long-ago incident in which a giant attacked and killed the Fante men in the middle of the night.

While the giant was fighting the last man one night, a woman entered and danced deftly to divert everyone's attention away from the fight. People praised her for ending the fight, Apatampa in Fante.

6. Borborbor dance (Ewe people)

The Borborbor dance is typically performed by tribes from Ghana's Volta Region's central and northern regions. It is performed at the festival of chiefs and communities.

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What is an ethnic group?

What are the main ethnic groups in Ghana?
Group of Ashanti funeral drummers. Photo: Anthony Pappone
Source: Getty Images

It is a community or population made up of people who share a common cultural background or descent.

Is Ghana a diverse country?

Yes. The country has a population of 33 million as of 2023, which features various tribes and peoples from various backgrounds and cultures. Although Ghana is a multiethnic country, more than 98 per cent of Ghanaians are black Africans.

Ethnic groups in Ghana make up the majority of the country's inhabitants. These groups are numerous and have unique cultures and traditions. Furthermore, their coexistence has resulted in the development of new cultures and traditions. recently published a list of 60+ Aztec names for boys and girls, along with their meanings. The Aztecs were a post-classic culture in central Mexico. They were made up of various ethnic groups but were dominated by Mexicans.

The Aztec naming system was highly valued, and they ensured that the names given were meaningful. Many children were given warrior Aztec names because bravery was highly valued.

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