Data and Statistics

Child Marriage - Latest Trends and Future Prospects

Publication Year:
  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

As the designated custodian agency for monitoring progress towards reaching this target, UNICEF is responsible for generating periodic global estimates of child marriage. These estimates are produced primarily from nationally representative household surveys, and for a minority of countries, from census data. The estimates in this document supersede those in previous publications, as they rely on new data for a number of countries. These include India and Ethiopia, which have recently seen a decline in the prevalence of child marriage, and China, for which data were previously not available in UNICEF’s global databases. These updates have enabled a refinement of the estimation of the magnitude of the practice worldwide, at a slightly lower level than estimated in previous years.

The practice of child marriage has continued to decline around the world. Based on the latest data available from each country, 21 per cent of young women (aged 20 to 24) were married as children. This represents a decrease from 25 per cent 10 years ago, driven predominantly by progress in India.

This reduction also marks an acceleration of trends. An estimated 25 million child marriages have been prevented due to progress during the past decade. Of these, 7 million were expected based on the prior trends and 18 million were due to an acceleration of progress.

Still, approximately 650 million girls and women alive today were married before their 18th birthday.


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