Mapping OGOV Poets, Revised

In August 2008, we made an attempt to "map" OGOV's poets: to look at where our poets were born and where they are writing from today. You can read that post here. In the two years since, the number of poets we've published has almost double, from 36 to 69, so we thought it would be interesting to update our statistics and share them with you.

Here are the general results of a review of authors' country of origin and country of current habitation:

Authors by country of origin:

1. Ghana - 67%
2. United States - 13%
3. Canada - 7%
4. Zimbabwe - 6%
5. Nigeria - 3%
Other - 4%

Authors by country of current habitation:

1. Ghana - 54%
2. United States - 19%
3. Canada - 9%
T-4. England - 6%
T-4. Zimbabwe - 6%
6. Nigeria - 3%
Other - 4%

It seems from this that a 'brain drain' of poets from Ghana to other parts of the world is occurring, with a 13 percentage point drop in the share of poets living in Ghana (a 20% drop in real numbers). The biggest gainers of Ghanaian poets, not surprisingly, are England and the United States.

The bigger 'brain drain' of Ghanaian poets on OGOV, though, can be seen when you look at a national level:

Ghanaian poets by Region of birth:

1. Greater Accra Region - 31%
2. Ashanti Region - 19%
3. Central Region - 12%
4. Eastern Region - 6%
T-5. Northern Region - 4%
T-5. Volta Region - 4%
Other - 10%
Unknown - 12%

While Accra clearly plays a leading role in producing poets, the distribution of poets' homelands is fairly even - that is, until you take into consideration the poets' region of current habitation:

Ghanaian poets by Region of current habitation:

1. Greater Accra Region - 58%
2. Ashanti Region - 13%
3. England - 8%
T-4. Central Region - 6%
T-4. United States - 6%
6. Eastern Region - 2%
Other Foreign Countries - 6%

Only 23% of all Ghanaian poets featured on this site reside in a region of Ghana other than Greater Accra, and 23 out of 33 (70%) of the Ghanaian poets born outside of Greater Accra now living in the capital.

Few of the percentages listed above have changed dramatically since 2008. There has been a slight shift away from the "brain drain" - more Ghanaian poets staying in Ghana, and more non-Accra poets staying in their home regions - but the overall trends remain the same. With a sample size that's almost twice as large, however, these numbers can be seen as more reliable than the last batch.

It seems more clear than ever that a poetic brain drain towards Accra is occuring. Is this unavoidable? And even if we could avoid it, would we want to, or should it be viewed as a positive thing? How can we take advantage of having such a large percentage of Ghana's poets in one city?

The conversation is ongoing.

We'll be back to our normal schedule with a poem and profile next Saturday.
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