Too Young For Marriage?

More than 100 million girls in the developing world will be married during the next 10 years. Although the definition of child marriage includes boys, most children married under the age of 18 years are girls.
While the practice has decreased globally over the last 30 years, it remains common in rural areas and among the poorest of the poor.In Southern Asia, 48%—nearly 10 million—of girls are married before the age of 18.
In Africa, 42% of girls were married before turning 18.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, 29% of girls are married by age 18.


Child Marriage Around the World
Percentage of girls marrying before the age of 18
1 Niger 76.6
2 Chad 71.5
3 Bangladesh 68.7
4 Mali 65.4
5 Guinea 64.5
6 Central African Republic 57.0
7 Nepal 56.1
8 Mozambique 55.9
9 Uganda 54.1
10 Burkina Faso 51.9
11 India 50.0
12 Ethiopia 49.1
13 Liberia 48.4
13 Yemen 48.4
15 Cameroon 47.2
16 Eritrea 47.0
17 Malawi 46.9
18 Nicaragua 43.3
18 Nigeria 43.3
20 Zambia 42.1

Source: ICRW 2007




The world's poorest countries have the highest rates of child marriage. Families often marry girls off to lessen their economic burden and provide a future for their daughters.

Though India raised the legal age for marriage for girls to 18 in 1978, the prevalence of child marriage remains high, a study by the Boston University School of Public Health has found. "I can say that the existing policy that makes marriage of girls under 18 years illegal is not working," said. Anita Raj, associate professor, social and behavioral sciences, who led the study.



Despite a government ban on child marriages, the practice is still very common in rural India.



Child marriages continue throughout India despite the Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1978 which outlaws the marriage of underaged children.

 

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