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Unreached People Group Communities

As a follow-up on the ethNYcity people profiles below, we have identified 69 unreached/least-reached people group communities in Metro New York. These communities are often “hidden” from Christian interaction and engagement. Please consider printing off the .pdf version and regularly praying for these communities in your home, small group, or church. 69 Most Significant Unreached People Group Communities in Metro New York. For more information on regularly praying for specific people group communities, visit globalgates.info/prayer.

The ethNYcity people profiles below (and on our app and widgets) feature the most significant ethnic groups in Metro New York. As a result, not all of these are unreached, but the ones that have a significant Christian presence can play a vital role in reaching out to unreached peoples in Metro New York.

People Profiles

Ghanaians in Metro New York

Place of Origin: Ghana (primarily Kumasi and Accra)
Location in Metro New York: Bronx (Morris Heights, Highbridge, Tracey Towers, Parkchester); Queens (Lefrak City); New Jersey (Newark); Brooklyn (Flatbush)
Population in Metro New York: 100,000 (Community Estimate); 32,935 (ACS 2010 Total Ancestry Reported); 39,007 (ACS 2010 Born in Ghana)
Population in New York City: 19,274 (ACS 2010 Total Ancestry Reported); 23,008 (ACS 2010 Born in Ghana)
Primary Religion: Christianity (evangelical)
Secondary Religion: Islam
Status of Christian Witness: Greater than or equal to 10% evangelical.
Primary Languages: Twi, Ewe, Ga, Hausa, English

Bio: As “the royal party” paraded into the rented gathering place in the Bronx, the boisterous chatter of pastors and leaders of Ghanaian churches from across the country died down. The occasion was an annual conference of Ghanaian churches in America, and due to the high percentage of Christian Ghanaians, such an event served as an important cultural marker for the people. Perhaps as much as any immigrant group in New York, the Ghanaians retain their traditional ways in America, and the arrival at the conference of the Asantefuohene (the chief of the Ashanti tribe in New York) certainly put these traditions on display. After the first members of the procession passed through, a man carrying an oversized, pink umbrella adorned with orange fringe signaled the arrival of the Asantefuohene, who wore a loose-fitting kente cloth robe draped over one shoulder with the other left bare. Unlike Ghana, where the chiefs and kings primarily come from traditional royal families, the chiefs in America are elected every few years, often not from royal lineage. Nevertheless, they are treated as royalty and certainly have responsibilities that mimic the roles of chiefs and kings in Ghana. The elected Asantefuohene, apart from their day jobs in New York, are expected to help preserve Ashanti language and culture among the second generation, as well as settle disputes between adults. Whether it be divorce or criminal cases, many Ashanti are encouraged to settle their disputes with the Asantefuohene instead of placing themselves at the mercy of the American judicial system. The Ashanti, who are part of the larger Akan ethnic grouping, are the largest Ghanaian ethnic group in Metro New York, and the Akan make up one-half of the close to 33 thousand Ghana-born in Metro New York (ACS 2010). However, Ghanaians are incredibly diverse, and there are up to one hundred Ghanaian ethnic groups represented in the city, with the Ga, Ewe, and Hausa being the next largest.

When Did They Come to New York? Declaring independence from Britain in 1957, Ghana subsequently went through several military governments and periodic economic hardships. As schooling was a focus of Ghana’s early development, many educated Ghanaian professionals and merchants immigrated to New York in the 1960s and ’70s. The Ghanaian population has increased exponentially since the 1980s up until the present time by taking advantage of reunification, diversity, and tourist visas.

Where Do They Live? The concentration of Ghanaian restaurants, businesses, and churches in the West Bronx provides evidence that Ghanaians have developed a small enclave in the Morris Heights and Highbridge neighborhoods. Ghanaians also have a sizeable population in large New York City housing complexes such as Tracey Towers and Parkchester, as well as in Newark, New Jersey.

What Do They Believe? An enthusiastic Ghanaian pastor claimed, “It is easy to start churches among Ghanaians. Almost everyone is already Christian. You just have a contact in a new place and you start a meeting.” There is no lack of Ghanaian churches in Metro New York, and denominations from Ghana are regularly starting branches in New York City. While charismatic and Pentecostal churches are the majority, the Seventh-day Adventists also have a large representation among the community. About sixteen percent of Ghanaians in Ghana are Muslim, but this number is somewhat lower in New York, as most emigration has occurred from the “Christian” south.

What Are Their Lives Like? From the illegal service worker to the former Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Annan, Ghanaians have found work in a variety of occupations. Most envision returning home to live in a house built with New York money. Ghanaians mainly organize and socialize along ethnic lines.

Significant Notes:

  • More Ghanaians live in Metro New York than any other metropolitan area in the United States. The only other metro area in the US with a comparable number of Ghanaians is around Washington, DC, which, according to the 2008 American Community Survey, has 19,199 people born in Ghana.
  • According to the CIA World Factbook, around 70% of Ghanaians in Ghana claim to be Christian. This number is most likely larger in Metro New York, as most emigration took place from highly Christianized south Ghana.

How To Pray: Although an overwhelming number of Ghanaians regularly attend church and claim to be Christian, there is little outreach done among other ethnic groups, such as the Muslim Hausa, and ethnocentricity is the source of much conflict. Pray for humility, unity, and a sense of mission.