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Aspects of the population geography of the western area, Sierra Leone

Adeokun, Lawrence Adefemi (1970) Aspects of the population geography of the western area, Sierra Leone. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This thesis is largely based on data edited from original field sheets of the survey of sample households in the Western Area, It provides a description of the structure and distribution of selected population characteristics, an explanation of the patterns observed and an identification of population types and areas using principal components analysis. In a brief original historical analysis, the population living within what is now the Western Area prior to the establishment of the 1787 settlement, is estimated to be about 3,000 persons. According to the 1963 census, 195,023 persons lived-in the area. The review of population growth in the 19th and 20th centuries and the urbanization experienced emphasises the significant role played by immigration in population growth and in an understanding of compositional features. The relationship between migration and population characteristics is hypothesised and the discussion of the different characteristics indicates that: (1) Age and sex compositions are sensitive to migration but, sex ratio is shown to be a stronger indicator of migratory tendencies shown by various population groups than age structure (2) The marital status and the family and household compositions are characteristics based on cultural and traditional practices which only slowly respond to modernising influences. There is some limited evidence of a more traditional attitude to marriage and household composition in the rural communities than in the urban. (3) Industrial and occupational structures are largely an outcome of the acquired traits of the population and there is a clustering of persons with particular traits in areas where they can best exploit them. Consequently, urban areas attract the educated, the technically skilled and the professionals. In contrast, the predominance of agriculture in rural areas means that the rural population is largely without a formal education. The effect of the differences in the nature of economic activities and skills is reflected in differences in levels of income by industry, occupation, ethnic or tribal group and by residential area. Four clustering’s of different unit areas, demarcated for the the analysis of data, are identified by the use of principal components analysis. First, Freetown and its immediate environs clustered on the ‘urban’ component to which a high population density, a high proportion of the working population in the professions and nearness to the seat of government (Tower Hill), were strongly contributing parameters. Second, was a cluster identified as a second zone of urbanization and made up of areas adjacent to the urban cluster (Lumley, Mountain district, Wellington) and also containg large centres at a distance from Freetown (Hastings and Waterloo Villages), This second cluster retained some features of the urban component whilst having additional features that are more clearly defined in the third group. The Macdonald group of villages in Waterloo district and Koya district clustered on the "rural' component with high activity rate, high proportion of the sample married and a high dependency ratio contributing strongly. Finally, York and Mountain district together form the fourth cluster In which the high sex ratio and a high proportion of one-person households are the main contributing parameters.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1970
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Sep 2013 15:33

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