Poverty in Ghana is basically a rural phenomenon: Are we underestimating urban poverty?

George Owusu, University of Ghana
Paul Yankson

‘Poverty in Ghana is basically a rural phenomenon’. While this statement is widely quoted, little attention has been given to the methodology used in the measurement of poverty in Ghana as highlighted in the Ghana Living Standard Survey 4 (GLSS 4), which leads to this conclusion. This paper argues for a critical re-examination of this statement. The paper examines the poverty line setting methodology in Ghana and the biases against urban areas, and the implications of underestimating urban poverty. It concludes that the bias against urban areas may be a logical extension of the ‘anti-urban’ development perspective, which has its roots in the urban bias thesis. It stressed that poverty reduction programmes such as the Ghana’s poverty reduction strategy papers (GPRSI&II) should place equal emphasis on both rural poverty and urban poverty.

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Presented in Session 45: Methodological issues in measuring poverty and human welfare