By definition, marriage is a formal union between two people in a personal relationship. The age at which people first marry differs by country and depends on many factors like financial stability, academic pursuit, career, and family background. Out of all of the countries in the world, people in Chad tend to get married the youngest, with an average age of only 19.2 years.
Countries Where People Get Married the Youngest
Out of all of the countries in the world, Chad has the youngest average age of first marriage at 19.2 years. Two African countries, Niger and Mozambique, come in the second and the third positions with 19.4 and 19.6 years respectively. Bangladesh is in the fourth position with 19.9 years while Nepal closes the top five with a flat 20 years. At the bottom of the list is Myanmar with an average age of 22.3 years.
One of the reasons why Chad has the lowest marriage level in the world has to do with the low level of the legal age for marriages. Prior to 2015, the country’s legal age for marriage was only 15 years. In fact, in 2015, the rate of child marriages in Chad stood at a staggering 68%. Things such as malnutrition, drought, illiteracy, high costs of living, and other factors are all behind these high rates. In 2015, the legal age for marriage was changed to 18 years but the practice is still widely common. The practice is not only unique to the poor but also to the wealthy people in a society. The 2016 resolution by the Government of Chad was created to ensure the end of child marriages by 2018.
In the case of Mozambique, the situation is almost similar to that of Chad above. The United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) reported in 2016 that almost one in two women in Mozambique who are between 20 and 24 years old were married before they turned 18. In that year, the rate of child marriages for the nation was the tenth highest in the world even though the legal age for marriage is 18 years. However, should the parents approve, a girl can be married off at the age of 16. The extreme poverty situation in the country is also another driving factor for the young average age of marriage, which has also led to increased dropouts from school.
The situation in Myanmar is slightly different. While the usual problems of developing nations influence the rate of marriage, literacy levels play a crucial role. People tend to marry their academic peers. However, the low average age may also be because a relatively higher number of women, about 12%, stay unmarried even at the age of 50.
This list serves to emphasize the fact that young marriages are prevalent in developing countries. For this reason, organizations such as UNICEF are actively working towards helping those who are in desperate situations, creating awareness on the advantages of pursuing education and strengthening legal systems.