Data and Statistics

Ending Child Marriage: Progress and Prospects

Publication Year:
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

This publication goes into detail on child marriage, women's rights, child's education, etc.

The Current Situation

Worldwide, more than 700 million women alive today were married before their 18th birthday. More than one in three (about 250 million) entered into union before age 15.

Boys are also married as children, but girls are disproportionately affected. In Niger, for instance, 77 per cent of women aged 20 to 49 were married before age 18 in contrast to 5 per cent of men in the same age group. Even in countries where child marriage is less common, the same gender differences are found. In the Republic of Moldova, for example, 15 per cent of women aged 20 to 49 were married before age 18 compared to 2 per cent of men. Furthermore, girls are often married to considerably older men. In Mauritania and Nigeria, more than half of adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 who are currently married have husbands who are 10 or more years older than they are. Child marriage is a manifestation of gender inequality, reflecting social norms that perpetuate discrimination against girls.

Child marriage among girls is most common in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, and the 10 countries with the highest rates are found in these two regions. Niger has the highest overall prevalence of child marriage in the world. However, Bangladesh has the highest rate of marriage involving girls under age 15. South Asia is home to almost half (42 per cent) of all child brides worldwide; India alone accounts for one third of the global total.


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