Child marriage around the world

Child marriage around the world


According to a UNFPA report, by 2000-2011, about one-third (about 34%) of 20-24-year-old women in developing countries were married before their 18th birthday. Its estimated number in 2010 is about 67 million. About 12% of women are married before the age of 15. Child marriage tends to differ from place to place. Globally, rural women are almost double as likely to have child marriages as compared to urban women.


According to UNICEF, the under-18 child marriage rate is over 70% in three African countries. Of these, Niger has the highest child marriage rate. 76% of Nigerian women aged 20-24 are married before 18 and 28% of women are married before 15 years. This UNICEF report is based on samples collected from 1995-2004. At present, the rate is unknown due to infrastructural vulnerability and territorial violence.

The minimum age of marriage in African countries has been set at 16-18 years. In Ethiopia, Chad, and Niger the legal age of marriage is 15 years, but local customs and religious courts have the power to marry below 12 years. Child marriage is prevalent in West Africa and northeast Africa. Moreover, in some areas of Africa due to poverty, religion, customs, and conflict, child marriage is high.

According to a 2006 estimate, 15-20% of children leave school due to child marriage in Nigeria.

During a banquet on the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in 2016, Gambia President Yahya Jammeh declared forbidden marriage and forced marriage.


In 2015, Malawi passed a law banning child marriages where the minimum age of marriage was 18 years. The next year’s most important achievement came in the efforts of the Girls Empowerment Network, which forced indigenous and traditional leaders to ban child marriage.

Child marriage is a common phenomenon in Morocco. 41,000 marriages are married each year. Prior to 2003, child marriage did not require any legal permission. However, in 2003, Morocco passed a family law that promoted the marriage of girls from 14 to 18. You will need court and guardian permission to get married at an early age. The reasons for some child marriages are the criminal law set forth in Article 475 of the Moroccan Constitution, which states that rapists may marry unmarried adult rapists to avoid their punishment. The amendments were made in 2014 after many campaigns so that rapists could not avoid punishment through marriage and in any way.

According to a Human Rights Watch report in 2015, one-third of women aged 20-49 in Zimbabwe get married before they turn 18. In January 2016, two women who were victims of child marriage applied for a change in the age of the marriage. As a result, the court declared marriage age to be 18 for both boys and girls, which was previously 16 years for girls and 18 years for boys.

Asia and Oceania

More than half of child marriages are organized in South Asian countries: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal. Child marriage rates in South Asia were low in 1991-2007. According to some thinkers, the reason for this decline is the rise in the rate of education.

Middle East

According to the 2013 report, 53% of women in Afghanistan are married before 18 years and 21% of women are married before 15 years. The legal age of marriage in Afghanistan is 15 years (subject to the father’s permission). One of the leading causes of child marriage in 34 of Afghanistan’s provinces is their traditional Ba’ad tradition. In this practice, the village elders called jirga forcibly marry a 5-12-year-old daughter of a family of two to settle a dispute or pay a debt or punish crime. Often he was forced into early marriage as a punishment for the crime of the daughter’s uncle or a close relative’s relations.

Middle East

More than half of Yemeni women get married before the age of 18, some even before 8 years. In an attempt to make the marriage age of 15 or 18, the Shariah Law Division of the Yemeni government declared it anti-Islam. Yemeni Muslim activists say girls get married at the age of 9.

In April 2008, a 10-year-old girl named Nuzood Ali divorced her husband after being raped. Following the incident, the marriage was announced at the age of 18. In September 2013, an 8-year-old girl died of excessive bleeding on the night of her marriage after marrying a 40-year-old man.

According to a study by the United Nations Population Fund – in Turkey, marriage rates for women under 18 are 28.2%, 1 in every 3 marriages.

Southeast Asia and Oceania

Among the hill tribes, girls are more prone to marry at an early age. The Burmese Karen tribes settle their marriage before the baby is born.

In Indonesia, Muslim scholars marry many minor girls, many of them less than 12 years old. An Indonesian court has imposed a penal code to stop this practice. But the local court did not take effective action against it.

According to the Marriage Act of 1974, women must be at least 16 years of age and men must be at least 19 years of age. Marriage rates have increased at an early age in some regions with the rise of popularity on various social media platforms such as Facebook.



Bangladesh is one of the countries with the highest rates of child marriage worldwide. 2 out of every 3 marriages are child marriage. According to 2005 statistics, 49% of women between the ages of 25-29 are married at the age of 15. According to the “Children’s Status Worldwide-2009” report, 63% of women aged 20-24 are married before the age of 18. According to a 2008 study, an unmarried girl in rural areas gets an additional 0.22 years to get an education because of her unmarried year. The sooner the girls get married, the more they have access to preventive health care. Young married girls are usually lacking in family planning. Among them, maternal mortality rates are high and their status in the family of the husband is also low. In Bangladesh, the minimum age of marriage for girls is 18 years and boys 21 years, but recently in 2017, the passing of the Prevention of Child Marriage Bill was allowed in special cases under the permission of the court.


According to the UNICEF report, “Status of Children around the World-2009” says 47% of women aged 20-24 are married at 18, compared to 56% in rural areas before 18 years. According to the 2011 census, the average age of girls getting married in India is 21 years. According to a 2009 survey, child marriage rates dropped to 7%. That’s down from 3.7% in the 2011 census.

The “National Plan for Children Implementation Project-2005” aims to completely eliminate child marriages in 2010.


According to the UNICEF report, up to 2011, 28.8% of marriages are child marriages. According to a UNICEF discussion paper, 79.6% of Muslim women in Nepal, 69.7 women (irrespective of religion) and 55.7% of women living in rural areas are married before the age of 15. Those born into a somewhat wealthy family get married for 2 years.


According to 2 2013 reports, more than 50% of marriages are under the age of 18 for girls. According to another UNICEF report, 70% of women were married 16 years ago.

The exact number of child marriages under 13 in Pakistan is unknown, but according to the United Nations, it is up.

In Pakistan, there is a tradition called Swara or Bhani where the villagers marry their daughters to settle family conflicts or to pay off their debts. The average age of marriage for girls in the vowel system is 5 to 9 years. Similarly, Vatta Satta is one of the causes of ritual and child marriage.

According to census data, 35% of women give birth before the age of 18, 67% of women give birth, 69% of women give birth before 19 years. Only 4% of women below the age of 19 provide an opinion in the polls. Up to 80% of women are married to a close or distant relative.




Reuters reported on April 2016 that, despite the ban, girls who were victims of child marriage often had to endure persecution at the shelter.


The Washington Post reported on April 2016, 17 minor brides arrived in Belgium in 2015 and 7 more in 2016. The same report also said that between 2010-2013, the police recorded at least 56 forced marriage complaints.


According to Russian family law, the average age of marriage is 18 years. Marriages are allowed between the ages of 16-18, with the demonstration of a suitable cause and subject to the permission of the local municipality.

United Kingdom

In Scotland, the minimum age of marriage is 16 years and no parental permission is required. According to a 2005 search, 4.1% of women aged 15-19 in the UK were unmarried, with 8.9% admitting that they were abusive before 18.

Latin America

Caleb marriages are very common in Latin America and the Caribbean Islands. About 29% of women are married before the age of 18. Guatemala has a high rate of child marriages in the local Mayan community. Brazil is fourth in the world in terms of child marriages 15 years ago. Child marriage rates are rising due to poverty and relaxation in law enforcement.

North America


The minimum age of marriage in Canada since 2015 is 16 years. According to Article 293.2 of the Crimes Act, if at least one of the bride or groom’s age is below 16 years of age, celebrating, assisting or participating in that marriage may result in a maximum sentence of 5 years.

United States

According to data from the US government’s National Health Statistics Center in 2010, 2.1% of women aged 15-17 are victims of child marriage. 7.6% of women aged 15-19 are married or non-married. Subject to parental permission of 16 or over and above 18, to be married without parental permission.

Prevalence data chart

Country Women married before 18 year [ ICRW-UNICEF ]   Women married before 1    year [UN data] (Year of                            data)
Nigeria 76 62 2012
Central African Republic 68 (2010) 42 (1995)  
Chad 68 49 2010
Bangladesh 66 48 2011
Mali 55 50 2010
Burkina Faso 52 (2010) 35 (1999)  
South Sudan 52 (2010)    
Guinea 52 46 2012
Mozambique 48 47 2011
India 47 30 1999-2005
Somalia 45 38 1998-2006
Nigeria 44 (2016-2017) 28 (1999)  
Sierra Leone 44 47 2010
Zambia 42 24 2002-2007
Malawi 42 (2015) 37 (2000)  
Madagascar 41 34 2012
Ethiopia 41 30 2011
Nepal 41 40 2011
Nicaragua 41 32 2000-2006
Afghanistan 40 29 2012
Uganda 40 32 2011
Dominican Republic 36 (2014) 29 (1996)  
Nicaragua 35 (2011-2012) 32 (1998)  
India 25 (2015-2016) 30 (1999)  

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