Many countries allow child marriage

Source: Pew Research Center

BY AND

Almost all of the world’s nations have laws specifying at what age a couple can marry, and in most of these countries, those under the age of 18 are allowed to wed. Indeed, at least 116 nations (including the United States) allow children to marry, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of data on 198 countries and territories from the U.S. State Department and United Nations.

While in many countries the age of 18 legally marks the end of childhood, marriageable age does not always correspond – legally or otherwise – with the age of majority. Ostensibly, most countries (153 of 198) require that people who want to marry be adults (18 years or older). But many of these same nations have some kind of exemption to this requirement. For instance, in Australia, if a person is at least 18, their spouse can (with judicial approval) be as young as 16. And in many other countries, such as Iraq, Jamaica and Uruguay, children can marry with parental permission. 

In about one-in-five countries (38), there are different age minimums for men and women. For example, in Bangladesh, women must be 18 and men must be 21 to marry. In 37 of these 38 countries, the minimum for girls is the lower of the two. (The exception is Lesotho, where women need parental permission to marry until they are 21.)

Sudan has the largest gender gap: Girls can marry at 10 and boys can marry at 15 or puberty without parental or judicial permission.

Several countries also have different age requirements depending on religious affiliation. For example, in the Philippines, couples must be 21 to marry without permission, unless they are Muslim; Muslim boys can marry at 15 and Muslim girls can marry at puberty. And in Tanzania, Muslim and Hindu girls can marry at 12 as long as the marriage is not consummated until the girl reaches the age of 15.

Read more

1 reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.