Religion of respondents
Ghana’s 1992 Republican constitution guarantees freedom of religion and worship. This study asked the heads of the households to indicate their religious affiliations. The religious affiliation was categorised into Christian, Muslim and other religions. Out of the 100 respondents, 99 responded to the question of their religious affiliation. The field data revealed that Christians constituted 94% of the respondents, Muslims constituted 3%, with nobody as a traditional believer, and 2% as members of other religions, usually Eastern religions such as Buddhism, hinduism, Shintoism and Eckankar (a modern religion), which are currently gaining grounds in the country.
From the field data, a vast majority of the respondents are Christians which confirms the report of the GSS (2013, p. 63) which revealed that 71.2% of the respondents were Christians followed by Muslims constituting 17.6%, and 5.2% who were traditional African believers.
Level of education of heads of households
Level of education refers to the highest level of formal school attended by a person or which a person is currently attending. Education is an essential tool that provides people with the requisite knowledge skills for better employment opportunities and quality of life. Education is closely associated with human development of a people (UNDP, 2011) and as a result, one of the aims of this study. Respondents were asked to indicate their level of education. There were six categories under the level of education namely no formal education, primary education, junior high school/ junior secondary school/middle school, senior secondary school, tertiary education and other levels. Respondents who answered to this question were 92 out of the 100. Those with no formal education constituted 5%, while 1% had primary education. Junior high/junior secondary/middle school respondents constituted 37%, with senior secondary leavers at 12%. Respondents with tertiary education constituted 36% and 1% have other forms of education. The illiteracy rate is low since 5% have no formal education, signifying that majority of the respondents are literate.
The higher the educational level of a person, the more the person is likely to get access to other development opportunities that the mining sector may bring, such as education and other social opportunities. In terms of job opportunities, education can lead to a person being employed directly by a mining company or other indirect job opportunities in the mining chain. Education can also equip a person with the capacity to search for information and read what is going on, thereby helping one to be in a better position to insist on his/her rights. In the mining communities, rights such as livelihood rights, environmental sustainability, the need to demand accountability and transparency from their leaders as well as general provision of social services can be enhanced by high literacy rates.
Household size refers to the total number of people in a household regardless of age, sex or residential status (GSS, 2013, p. 70). Household size in this study is measured by the number of persons residing in a single house and sharing the same resources. These people may or may not be related by ties of consanguinity but normally live and eat together. The size of the household was categorised as follows: 1-3 members, 4 6 members, 7-9 members and 10-12 members. The field data presents that majority of the households, 58%, were in the category
4-6 persons. This was followed by 1-3 members recording 38%, and 4% for 7-9 persons with no household in the category of 10-12 persons.
According to the GSS (2013), the average (mean) size of a household in Ghana in the 2000 national census was 5.1 persons, which declined to 4.4 persons in the 2010 census. This therefore means that majority of the household size in this study (4-6 persons) is the same category as the national average in the 2010 national census. Large household sizes (seven persons and above) may be mainly due to the extended family of many African societies. However, factors such as education, urbanisation, family planning and high cost of living could also be contributing to small household sizes.
Composition of households
The composition of a household is crucial in analysing the socioeconomic well-being of household members in that it helps to determine the dependency ratio of these households. Respondents were asked to indicate the composition of their households in terms of male adults, female adults, male children and female children. The field data gives the distribution of their responses and indicates that 94 out of the 100 respondents responded to this question.
The study revealed that 43% constituted male adults in the households selected for the study while 28% constituted female adults in the households selected. The proportion of male children constitutes 10% with 13% representing female children. This means that out of the households selected for the study, 71% of the household members are adults with 23% being children in the households selected for the study.
Occupation of household heads
Broadly defining, occupation focuses on the various kinds of economic activities people engage in for their livelihood. Occupation of a person gives an idea of their social status and therefore their socioeconomic well-being. The heads of the households were to indicate their occupations. Out of the 100 respondents, 95 responded to this question. The study categorised the occupation of the respondents into: profes-sional/technical/managerial, sales/services, agriculture, manual work, people who are unemployed, pensioners and other occupations not captured in the categories mentioned. The field data presents that 44% of the respondents were in the professional/technical/managerial category, the sales/services sector constituted 24%, the agricultural sector constituted 2%, 17% were in manual work, 2% were unemployed, 4% were pensioners and 2% fell in other categories not captured in any of the above.
With 44% of the respondents in the professional/technical/man-agerial sector, it means that many of the household heads have some skills or professional training. Again, as in many mining towns, the sales (retail) and services sector employs quite a large number of people due to the boost in the sector resulting from the mining activities. Some unskilled opportunities are also created in the area as well. Generally, however, unemployment is rather on the low side with only 2% in the category. This trend could be that, perhaps due to the high cost of living, almost everyone tries to find some work to do so as to make a living. However, agriculture, which is the mainstay of the Ghanaian economy, only employs 2% of the respondents. The reason for this situation could be several; however, the most obvious one could be that many people are attracted to the mining sector and its related activities to the detriment of the agricultural sector. This situation is prevalent in mining communities, whereas agriculture continues to be the main occupation of people in non-mining communities.
Household sources of income and annual income
The respondents were asked to indicate their sources of income and their annual income estimates. In Ghana, just like many other countries, the main source of income for many people is often from their main occupation. The sources of income had the following categories: farming, pension, remittances, government, self-job and others. Out of the respondents, 99% responded to this question.
The field data indicates that respondents who get their sources of income from government constituted 43%, those from self-job (private jobs) constituted 42%, with 7% from pension sources, 1% from farming, 1% from remittances and 5% from other sources.
Furthermore, the respondents were made to state their annual range of income. The Ghanaian cedi was used to measure the income of the heads of households. The currency is, however, weak against the US dollar, with one US dollar equivalent to about 3.95 Ghanaian cedis. The field data shows the annual income of the interviewed respondents. The Ghanaian currency symbol (GHS) is used. Of the respondents, 30% earn less than GHS2,500, 28% earn GHS2,501-3,500, 5% earn GHS3,501-4,500, 3% earn GHS4,501-5,500 and 34% did not respond to the question.
The response indicates that majority of the respondents earns GHS3,5OO or less annually, which is equivalent to US$886.07.
Internationally, the World Bank considers a person living below US$1.9 per day (approximately US$693.5 per annum as poor, since they are living below the poverty line. Such poverty translates into high cost of living or unaffordability of certain basic needs such as food, transport, clothing, education and healthcare. With low unemployment levels, a poor standard of living could be explained by low-income earning from their various jobs.