Ghanaian Americans

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Ghanaian Americans
Total population
Ghanaian Americans
119,789 (2013 American Community Survey)
136,967 (Ghanaian-born, 2014)
Regions with significant populations
New York City, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, Providence, Newark, Worcester, Hartford, Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, Chicago, Columbus, New Jersey, Denver, California
English, French, Akan, Kwa, Twi, Ga, Ewe, other languages of Ghana
Predominantly Christian, Islam, other minorities.
Related ethnic groups

Ghanaian Americans are an ethnic group of Americans of full or partial Ghanaian ancestry or Ghanaian immigrants who became naturalized citizen of the United States.


Early history

The first people to arrive from the region then known as the Gold Coast were brought as slaves via the Atlantic slave trade. Several ethnic groups such as the Akan, the Ganga or the Ga people were imported as well to the modern United States and the third of these groups appear to have an influence on the language of the Gullah people. Because Ghanaian ports were major routes for European slave traders. Captives from ethnic groups and tribes from all over West Africa were brought there to be held and sent to the New World. Most them were imported to South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia, although other places in the United States, such as Spanish Florida and French Louisiana also had many slaves of this origin.

Recent immigration

Ghanaians began arriving in the United States en masse after the 1960s and in the 1970s amidst the civil rights movement and the decolonization of Africa. In 1957, Ghana became the first African country to gain independence from colonial rule. Ghana's first president, Kwame Nkrumah, studied at American universities and worked with black American leaders for the rights of Black people around the world. Notable African-American intellectuals and activists such as W. E. B. Du Bois and Malcolm X used Ghana as a symbol of black achievement. Most of the early immigrants from Ghana to the United States were students who came to get a better education and planned on using the education acquired in the United States to better Ghana. However, many Ghanaians that migrated in the 1980s and 1990s, came to get business opportunities. In difficult economic times, the number of Ghanaians who emigrated to the United States was small. However, when these economic problems were paralyzed, they built resources for their emigration to the United States.


This strip mall on Cleveland Avenue in Columbus has a Ghanaian insurance agency, hair salon, grocery store, cafe and clothing stores.

According to the 2010 Census there are 91,322 Ghanaian Americans living in the United States. Locations with large populations include (in order of size): Atlanta; Chicago; Detroit; Washington, D.C.;New York City; Philadelphia; Boston; Newark; Providence; Hartford; Worcester; Denver; Columbus; Florida and Maryland.

Education and languages

African immigrants to the U.S. are among the most educated groups in the United States. Some 48.9 percent of all African immigrants hold a college diploma. This is more than double the rate of native-born white Americans and nearly four times the rate of native-born African Americans.

Ghanaian immigrants arrive with high educational statistics and this is attributable to Ghana's English-speaking school system. Ghanaians are well represented in top universities across the United States and schools such as Cornell, Tufts, Yale, the University of Pennsylvania and Stanford University have groups specifically devoted to Ghanaian students, in addition to general African student associations.


Ghanaian Americans speak English, and often also speak Akan, Ga, Ewe and Twi. Ghanaians have an easier time adapting to life in the United States than other immigrants because their homeland of Ghana has the English language as the official language and it is spoken by the majority of Ghana's population.

Notable people


Music, arts and entertainment


See also

Further reading

  • Attah-Poku, Agyemang. The SocioCultural Adjustment Question: The Role of Ghanaian Immigrant Ethnic Associations in America (Brookfield, VT: Avebury, 1996).
  • Walker, Drew. "Ghanaian Americans." Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America, edited by Thomas Riggs, (3rd ed., vol. 2, Gale, 2014), pp. 225–236. Online

External links