Society

Age of Consent Around the World

The age of consent differs from country to country.

The legal age at which one is deemed capable of agreeing to sexual activities ranges from 11 to 21 years in different countries around the world. Some nations, however, do not have a specified age of consent as they forbid sexual relations outside of marriage. Nigeria, an African nation, has the lowest age of consent in the world while Bahrain, a country in Asia, has the highest legal age of consent.

Overview of the Age of Consent in Various Countries Around the World

Age of Consent: 11 to 12 years

The legal age at which a person can agree to a sexual relationship in Nigeria is 11 years. This consensual age is the lowest across the globe. The Philippines and Angola follow closely with the age of consent in both countries being 12 years.

Age of Consent: 13 to 14 years

According to the Japanese Penal Code, the legal age of consent in Japan is 13 years and any sexual activity with a person aged below 13 years is illegal. However, going by other local laws in the nation, the de facto age of consent is 16 years. Burkina Faso, Comoros Islands, Niger, and Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic also have their age of consent as 13 years. In 32 other countries including Albania, Austria, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Eritrea, Italy, Germany, Hungary, Myanmar, Columbia, and Portugal the age consent is 14 years.

Age of Consent: 15 to 16 years

There are about 26 countries where the age of consent is 15 years including Greenland, Iceland, Aruba, Croatia, North Korea, and Poland. In 76 other nations across the world the age of consent is 16 years. Some of these countries include the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Russia, Taiwan, South Africa, Nepal, Mongolia, and Lesotho.

Age of Consent: 17 to 18 years

In Cyprus, Ireland, Mexico, and Nauru, one cannot legally agree to a sexual relationship before they attain 17 years. 40 other countries, among them Kenya, Iraq, Nicaragua, Vatican City, Vietnam, Argentina, Rwanda, India, and Guatemala, outlaw sexual activities with partners who are below 18 years.

Age of Consent: Above 19 years

Only three countries fall within this bracket. The first is Niue, an Oceanian country, where sexual activities can only be legal if the partners are 19 years or older. The second one is South Korea where the age of consent is 20 years, and lastly, there is Bahrain where sexual relations are forbidden for persons aged less than 21 years. Bahrain’s legal age of consent is the highest in the world.

Countries Where Sexual Relations Are Illegal Between Unmarried People

There are 13 nations which do not have a legal age of consent and people in these countries can only engage in sexual activities if they are married. These countries have a predominant Islam population. They include Sudan and Libya in Africa, Iran, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Maldives, Pakistan, Oman, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

Average Global Age of Consent

The legal age of consent in most of the countries is 16 years or above, as individuals of this age are considered to be mature and capable of making informed decisions. Some of the countries where the age of consent is below 16 years have other local laws to protect children aged less than 16 years from sexual exploitation.

Age of Consent Around the World

RankCountryRegionAge of Consent
1AfghanistanAsiaMust be married
2AlbaniaEurope14
3AlgeriaAfrica16
4AndorraEurope16
5AngolaAfrica12
6Antigua and BarbudaNorth America16
7ArgentinaSouth America18
8ArmeniaEurope16
9AustraliaOceania16
10AustriaEurope14
11AzerbaijanEurope16
12BahamasNorth America16
13BahrainAsia21
14BangladeshAsia14
15BarbadosNorth America16
16BelarusEurope16
17BelgiumEurope16
18BelizeNorth America16
19BeninAfrica18
20BhutanAsia18
21BoliviaSouth America14
22Bosnia and HeregovinaEurope14
23BotswanaAfrica16
24BrazilSouth America14
25BruneiAsia16
26BulgariaEurope14
27BurkinaAfrica13
28Burma (Myanmar)Asia14
29BurundiAfrica18
30CambodiaAsia15
31CameroonAfrica16
32CanadaNorth America16
33Cape VerdeAfrica14
34Central African RepublicAfrica18
35ChadAfrica14
36ChileSouth America18
37ChinaAsia14
38ColombiaSouth America14
39ComorosAfrica13
40Costa RicaNorth America15
41CroatiaEurope15
42CubaNorth America16
43CyprusEurope17
44Czech RepublicEurope15
45Democratic Republic of the CongoAfrica14
46DenmarkEurope15
47DjiboutiAfrica18
48DominicaNorth America16
49Dominican RepublicNorth America18
50East TimorAsia14
51EcuadorSouth America14
52EgyptAfrica18
53El SalvadorNorth America18
54Equatorial GuineaAfrica18
55EritreaAfrica18
56EstoniaEurope14
57EthiopiaAfrica18
58FijiOceania16
59FinlandEurope16
60FranceEurope15
61GabonAfrica18
62GambiaAfrica18
63GeorgiaEurope16
64GermanyEurope14
65GhanaAfrica16
66GreeceEurope15
67GrenadaNorth America16
68GuatemalaNorth America18
69GuineaAfrica15
70Guinea-BissauAfrica16
71GuyanaSouth America16
72HaitiNorth America18
73HondurasNorth America15
74HungaryEurope14
75IcelandEurope15
76IndiaAsia18
77IndonesiaAsia16
78IranAsiaMust be married
79IraqAsia18
80IrelandEurope17
81IsraelAsia16
82ItalyEurope14
83Ivory CoastAfrica18
84JamaicaNorth America16
85JapanAsia13
86JordanAsia16
87KazakhstanAsia16
88KenyaAfrica18
89KiribatiOceania15
90KuwaitAsiaMust be married
91KyrgyzstanAsia16
92LaosAsia15
93LatviaEurope16
94LebanonAsia18
95LesothoAfrica16
96LiberiaAfrica18
97LibyaAfricaMust be married
98LiechtensteinEurope14
99LithuaniaEurope16
100LuxembourgEurope16
101MacedoniaEurope14
102MadagascarAfrica14
103MalawiAfrica14
104MalaysiaAsia16
105MaldivesAsiaMust be married
106MaliAfrica18
107MaltaEurope18
108Marshall IslandsOceania16
109MauritaniaAfrica16
110MauritiusAfrica14
111MexicoNorth America17
112MicronesiaOceania14
113MoldovaEurope16
114MonacoEurope15
115MongoliaAsia16
116MontenegroEurope14
117MoroccoAfrica15
118MozambiqueAfrica16
119NamibiaAfrica16
120NauruOceania17
121NepalAsia16
122NetherlandsEurope16
123New ZealandOceania16
124NicaraguaNorth America18
125NigerAfrica13
126NigeriaAfrica11
127North KoreaAsia15
128NorwayEurope16
129OmanAsiaMust be married
130PakistanAsiaMust be married
131PalauOceania16
132PanamaNorth America18
133Papua New GuineaOceania16
134ParaguaySouth America14
135PeruSouth America14
136PhilippinesAsia12
137PolandEurope15
138PortugalEurope14
139QatarAsiaMust be married
140Republic of the CongoAfrica18
141RomaniaEurope15
142Russian FederationAsia16
143RwandaAfrica18
144Saint Kitts and NevisNorth America16
145Saint LuciaNorth America16
146Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesNorth America15
147SamoaOceania16
148San MarinoEurope14
149Sao Tome and PrincipeAfrica14
150Saudi ArabiaAsiaMust be married
151SenegalAfrica16
152SerbiaEurope14
153SeychellesAfrica18
154Sierra LeoneAfrica18
155SingaporeAsia16
156SlovakiaEurope15
157SloveniaEurope15
158Solomon IslandsOceania15
159SomaliaAfrica18
160South AfricaAfrica16
161South KoreaAsia20
162South SudanAfrica18
163SpainEurope16
164Sri LankaAsia16
165SudanAfricaMust be married
166SurinameSouth America16
167SwazilandAfrica16
168SwedenEurope15
169SwitzerlandEurope16
170SyriaAsia15
171TajikistanAsia16
172TanzaniaAfrica18
173ThailandAsia15
174TogoAfrica16
175TongaOceania16
176Trinidad and TobagoNorth America16
177TunisiaAfrica18
178TurkeyAsia18
179TurkmenistanAsia16
180TuvaluOceania15
181UgandaAfrica18
182UkraineEurope16
183United Arab EmiratesAsiaMust be married
184United KingdomEurope16
185United StatesNorth America16
186UruguaySouth America15
187UzbekistanAsia16
188VanuatuOceania16
189Vatican CityEurope18
190VenezuelaSouth America16
191VietnamAsia18
192YemenAsiaMust be married
193ZambiaAfrica16
194ZimbabweAfrica16

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