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.