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A principal component analysis of the determinants of spatial disparity between rural and urban localities of Ghana

Ivy Drafor (Economics Department, Methodist University College Ghana, Accra, Ghana)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Article publication date: 12 June 2017




The purpose of this paper is to analyse the spatial disparity between rural and urban areas in Ghana using the Ghana Living Standards Survey’s (GLSS) rounds 5 and 6 data to advance the assertion that an endowed rural sector is necessary to promote agricultural development in Ghana. This analysis helps us to know the factors that contribute to the depravity of the rural sectors to inform policy towards development targeting.


A multivariate principal component analysis (PCA) and hierarchical cluster analysis were applied to data from the GLSS-5 and GLSS-6 to determine the characteristics of the rural-urban divide in Ghana.


The findings reveal that the rural poor also spend 60.3 per cent of their income on food, while the urban dwellers spend 49 per cent, which is an indication of food production capacity. They have low access to information technology facilities, have larger household sizes and lower levels of education. Rural areas depend a lot on firewood for cooking and use solar/dry cell energies and kerosene for lighting which have implications for conserving the environment.

Practical implications

Developing the rural areas to strengthen agricultural growth and productivity is a necessary condition for eliminating spatial disparities and promoting overall economic development in Ghana. Addressing rural deprivation is important for conserving the environment due to its increased use of fuelwood for cooking. Absence of alternatives to the use of fuelwood weakens the efforts to reduce deforestation.


The application of PCA to show the factors that contribute to spatial inequality in Ghana using the GLSS-5 and GLSS-6 data is unique. The study provides insights into redefining the framework for national poverty reduction efforts.



The author wishes to express sincere appreciation to Eric Doe for his support in the data management process.


Drafor, I. (2017), "A principal component analysis of the determinants of spatial disparity between rural and urban localities of Ghana", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 44 No. 6, pp. 715-731.



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