Even being in the 21st century, you probably are not aware of the huge amount of child marriages around the world, so here you can see for yourself which the countries with the highest rates of child marriage in 2018 are.
Let’s start off with a child marriage definition. Well, it is obviously being married before adulthood, which is nowadays considered to be under 18 years of age. Today it is one of the huge problems and debated topics of society related to violation of human rights because child marriages are forced upon individuals for various reasons (such as economical, especially having in mind that it occurs in poor and developing countries). We cannot trace precisely when did child marriage start, though it has been part of some societies for centuries.
Why does child marriage happen nowadays? Some of the main reasons are poverty, lack of proper education (especially for women, which comes together with huge gender inequality as well), cultural tradition, etc., as was neatly described in Council for Foreign Relation’s child marriage article. Child marriage is also to be expected in countries that have the worst score on respecting human rights, so it is not surprising to see most of them in the top 10 Worst Human Rights Countries in 2018.
But not only child marriages occur in modern times, when talking about a violation of the rights of children, as you can see in 11 Countries with the Highest Rates of Child Abuse in the World or These 7 Child Sex Trafficking Statistics in the US Will Make Your Blood Boil.
Since child marriage is a huge issue, we didn’t have to go far looking for some quality data on this matter. As the most reliable source for our research on the countries with the highest rates of child marriage, we have used information provided by UNICEF. This data concerns child marriage statistics worldwide, showing the percentage of women between 20 and 24 years of age who were married before their 15th and 18th birthdays for each country. So, we have also ranked our list according to these criteria, giving the advantage to the figures for marriage before 18th year. But, before we proceed to our today’s list we had to mention that in some countries which had high rates of child marriage for years, that number dropped sharply in the last decade, as evidenced by child marriage statistics in India where the percentage of girls who get married before they turn 18 declined for 18%. Moreover, the biggest improvements are recorded precisely in South Asia during the same period, although one of the countries from that region ended up on our list after all. However, child marriage is an issue in developed countries as well, since child marriage is still permitted in America. Considering there isn’t a law that entirely forbids this practice, and children can marry with their parent’s consent and judge’s approval, between 2000 and 2015, around 207,000 minors in the U.S. were married.
Now, if you are ready to see some terrifying figures proceed to the list to see which the countries with the highest rates of child marriage in 2018 are:
Percentage of child marriage: 45 (before 18), 8 (before 15)
Civil War in Somalia during the 80s had raised child marriage rates in this country immensely, and it seems that the situation is not getting better, also having in mind the figure of 98% of genital mutilation being done to the Somali girls.