Countries With the Highest Prevalence Of Child Marriages In The World

Child marriages continue to occur in many parts of the world.

Child marriage is a formal union or marriage entered by an individual before attaining the age of 18 years. In most cases of child marriage, one of the partners is a child and the other is a grown up. The girl child is the usually the most common victim of child marriages. The cause of child marriages has been attributed to issues such as culture and traditions, poverty, the enticement of bride price, dowry, social pressure, and illiteracy.

Top Countries For Child Marriage

1. Niger – 77%

It is in Africa where we experience the highest rates of child marriage worldwide and the list is topped by Niger. According to UNICEF, 3 out of 4 girls marry before their 18th birthday. The leading cause of child marriage in Niger is poverty. Young girls are married with the hope of gaining economic prosperity through bride price. There are also other religious and social traditions such as the fear of out of marriage pregnancy and the civil unrest of the country that are among the drivers of child marriage.

2. Bangladesh – 74%

The rates of child marriages in Bangladesh are among the highest worldwide. According to the statistics by the State of the World’s children of 2005, 2 out of every 3 marriages in Bangladesh involved child marriage. In Bangladesh, the main reason for early marriage is poverty as parents look for economic security. The Marriage Act of 2017 in Bangladesh indicates that the court can in some cases permit child marriages. That is a loophole to the fight against child marriage in the country.

3. Chad – 69%

According to UNICEF, Chad has the world’s 3rd highest rate of child marriage as 69% of girls are married as children. The difference in the child marriage in Chad and that of other countries is that the practice is experienced in both the wealthy and poor households. Culture and traditions are the leading cause of early marriage in Chad. Also, the vice is attributed to the unstable social-economic circumstances such as droughts and malnutrition. The country has, however, put efforts in prohibiting child by putting a limit of 18 years and punishing individuals involved in child marriage by a jail term of 5-10 years,

4.Mali – 64%

It is no surprise that Mali is among the countries with high rates of child marriage as it is among the poorest countries in the world. Most of its population consists of people under the age of 18 years. According to statistics, 1 out of 2 girls is married before their 18th birthday. Illiteracy is among the major drivers of child marriage in Mali. Polygamy has also contributed much to child marriages in Mali. This high child marriage has caused more neonatal deaths in the country.

Protection Of Child Rights

Several international organizations have come up to partner with governments in setting laws that help prevent the practice of child marriage. Such organization includes CARE, which works with impoverished women, Breakthrough International advocates against violence and discrimination against women. The laws set by governments include setting the minimum age that a one can be married to 18 years and putting in place intense punishment for individuals involved in child marriage. In some countries, one is jailed for up to 10 years for committing the offence.

Countries With The Highest Prevalence Of Child Marriages In The World


% of women aged 20 to 49 years who were

married or in union before the age of 18 years

4Mali 61
5Central African Republic60
8Ethiopia 58
9Burkina Faso52

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