Basic population statistics
According to 1984 population census, the population of Assin Municipal was 78,432. The 2000 Population and Housing Census gives the population of Assin North as 116,349 with an annual growth rate of about 2.9 per cent which is above the national growth rate of 2.1 per cent per annum. The high population growth rate can be attributed to the high in-migration as a result of the relatively fertile farming lands, which supports the cultivation of diverse food and cash crops.In addition, the vibrant economic activities at Assin Foso serve as an attraction contributing to the high in-migration.
This consequently has implications for the provision of social and economic infrastructure as well as the utilization of available resources.Due to the high in-migration rate, capital may not be retained in the district for development but rather would flow outside to the detriment. The socio-economic survey conducted revealed that as much as 49.1 per cent of the populations are migrants as against 51.9 per cent being natives. The district can therefore be described as a heterogeneous one.
Population by Settlement
The Assembly contains about 500 settlements (population and housing census 2000). Most of the major settlements are located along the main Cape Coast - Kumasi Highway. The capital, Assin Foso was the only urban settlement in 1960 and 1970 with population of 5284 and 7239 respectively. By 1984, Assin Foso was the only community that had population over 5,000. As at 2000 two settlements could be described as urban. These are Assin Foso (22,837) and Assin Bereku (5,985).
The rest of the settlements may be described as rural with only nine (9) of them having population between 3,762 and 1809. The rest have populations below 1000. The populations of some selected communities.
Table 1.1: Population figures for some selected settlements
Human Settlement Patterns - Distribution of Services by Settlements
An examination of the settlement system and spatial linkages between the settlements was carried out to find the nature and distribution of economic and social facilities . The distribution of services was analyzed by employing the scalogram technique. A scalogram is a matrix presentation of the functional structure of settlements. The distribution of the services is presented in Table 1.2
In all sixteen (16) settlements with population above 1000 in 2000 were examined. The total number of services considered was 8. Assin Foso was found to be the only level one settlement, having seven (7) out of eight (8) services under consideration. Akropong came out as level two settlements with six (6) out of eight (8) services. Seven (7) settlements passed as level three (3) having five (5) out of eight (8) services. They are Bereku, Akonfudi, Assin Nyankumasi, Praso, and Kushea. Three (3) other settlements came out as level four with remaining settlements being level five (5). The information is presented pictorially in figure.
Population Size and Growth Rate
The 2000 Population and Housing Census put the population of Assin North Municipal Assembly at 116,349. This figure showed an increase of 37.1 percent over the 1984 population of 1,564 and gave an inter-censual growth rate of 2.9 percent. The rate is one of the lowest in the Central Region. It is however higher than the national average of 2.7 percent. The Assembly has 7.3 percent share in the total regional population of 1,593,823.
The population of Assin North Municipal has been projected for the next ten (10) years. The growth rate is measured by assuming an exponential rate of change given by Pt + I = Pt eri. This implies that the growth rate of 2.9 will be constant throughout the plan period. Where: Pt = Previous population Pt + I = Current population r = Rate of growth i = Time in years e = Exponent.The population projection indicates that the population of Assin North Municipal will increase from the current figure of 138119 to 142124, 146247, 150487, and 154852 in the years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010, respectively.
The population increment over the years requires equally matching social and economic facilities and services, which must be equitably distributed. Against this background, efforts should be directed towards the provision of facilities such as schools, health,housing and employment opportunities.The population density of 83 persons per square kilometre in 2006 will increase to 93, 104 and 111 persons per square kilometre in 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively. It is important to regulate land uses to sustain ecological balance as the population density increases over the years.
Conditions of the Natural Environment
In the municipality, the commonest farming practice is the slash and burn method of clearing the land. This practice not only leaves the farmland bare and exposed to erosion but also rapidly destroys the natural vegetation and alters the ecology . There is high incidence of bush fires in the district, especially during the dry season where farmers start clearing new farmlands. According to the Department of Fire Service in Assin Foso, the main cause of bush fires are group hunting, indiscriminate burning of farmlands without creating fire belts by farmers’ failure to seek fire volunteers’ assistance during burning and careless handling of maggots by palm wine tappers.
The Assin North Municipal happened to be a thick forest area but the vegetation has been altered to that of a secondary forest and patches of grassland and shrubs mainly due to the adverse effects of bush fires. To some extent, this has rendered a greater proportion of the land infertile and also caused some of the rivers that drain to dry. This, if not checked, will continue to cause series of threats/imbalance to the ecosystem. About 49.5 per cent of the households use fuel wood and charcoal as their main sources of energy for cooking, which are exploited from the forest.
This situation contributes to the depletion of the tree species, and thus calls for re-aforestation projects to be taken up seriously in the various communities as a whole.The Municipality has about 169.04 km2 of forest reserves with trees such as teak, odum, mahogany and wawa. Various timber firms and illegal chainsaw operators in and outside the Assembly have been exploiting the timber. The exploitation of the timber has had adverse effects on the environment.
Rapid depletion of the economic trees, since no significant aforestation is being carried out by the timber firms and individuals. This has also contributed to the changing of the primary forest vegetation to secondary vegetation.Destruction of crops through indiscriminate felling and transportation of extracted timber from the bush. The extent of the degradation of the natural environment and its consequences on the natural resources such as land, water bodies and man cannot be over emphasized. The activities of people and firms should therefore be monitored and controlled to prevent them from getting out of hand in the near future.
Conditions of the Built Environment
In the Assin North Municipal, about 80 per cent of the houses are compound houses and are mostly built with mud, sandcrete and landcrete materials which contribute about 35, 27 and 20 per cent respectively of building materials used. The most commonly used roofing materials in the district are iron sheets, which form about 58 per cent, aluminium about 15 per cent and asbestos about 12 per cent. Thatch roofing, is however very common in most of the rural settlements such as Yameyedur and Kumananta. The housing environment in the district, especially Assin Foso township is characterized by poor drains, heaps of surface refuse dumps, unkempt surroundings, exposed foundations due to pronounced erosion and cracked walls (especially in the village).
Only about 8.2 per cent of the houses in the district have internal toilet facilities such as K.V.I.P and Pit Latrines, which are well maintained and managed by the communities.The only method of refuse disposal is the surface dumping. Under this system, no specific site has been allotted to any particular refuse labourer to manage. This is done periodically by the communities. As a result, most refuse disposal points especially in Assin Foso Township and particularly the new market/lorry park area leaves much to be desired. Proper refuse collection points have been created in the Foso market and strategic locations in the town coupled with litterbins interspersed along the major streets in Foso. This has resulted in the reduction of indiscriminate disposal of refuse by the market users, and the town folks.
The Assin North Municipal Assembly in its quest to ensure environmental sanity in the district is bedevilled with the problem of land acquisition for final disposal sites and this has created a lot of health hazards like cholera and other sanitary related diseases . This however, has negative effects on the health of the people and needs urgent attention. The problem of erosion is very pronounced in Assin Foso Township and other communities in the district. This has caused the foundation of most of the houses in these areas to be exposed and thus becoming a threat to human life.Potable water supply in the district is inadequate and therefore some rural communities use streams and rivers as their main sources of water for drinking and domestic purposes.
Most of the people who depend on the streams as their source of drinking water are seriously affected by water related diseases such as onchocerciasis, which is adversely affecting their normal economic and social activities. There is the need to address this problem almost immediately by providing good drinking water. In terms of electricity, only about 20 per cent of the communities in the district have access to electricity.The remaining are either to be connected through the SHEP where they are to provide their own poles or waiting for the Assembly to support them.
One unfortunate situation that hinders the smooth movement of vehicles and people in the Municipality is the problem of inadequate internal road network, particularly in Assin Foso Township. During the rainy season most of the feeder roads become unmotorable thereby resulting in inadequate transportation services for the haulage of food items and other goods to and from the major markets. This has increased the incidence of post harvest losses with its attended high cost of foodstuff in the district. For now, the housing problem in the municipal is more of qualitative rather than quantitative. This is depicted by a household size of six persons, which is higher than the national average of 4.5 persons and room occupancy of 1.0, which is far below the national average of 2.5 persons.
There is therefore the need for housing quality improvement. Another important facility, which has not been provided during the physical development of the towns, especially in Assin Foso, is water hydrants for fire prevention in the built environment. The major reason is the non¬existence of pipe-borne water or mechanized water system. Fire Service officials depend solely on streams and rivers for water to undertake their fire control activities, which very often is ineffective and inefficient.There is an urgent need for water hydrants at vantage points especially in and around the Assin Foso market area.
Private housing developers should be educated to provide some of this preventive equipment in their houses. Again, Assin North Assembly needs to incorporate the provision of water hydrants into its water supply project especially in the areas earmarked for the EU Small Towns Water Supply Systems Project. This is necessary because the Assin North Municipal is rapidly becoming urbanized. Most settlements, which were considered rural during the 1984 population census, have now assumed urban status with their population above 5,000 people, for example, Assin Bereku and Akonfudi. The unfortunate situation is that these towns lack social and technical amenities to make them function as urban centres.
Date Created : 11/14/2017 7:46:00 AM