Child marriage around the world:

Child marriage around the world:


Malawi has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world, with 1 in 2 girls married by the age of 18.

A key challenge to eradicating child marriage in Malawi is entrenched attitudes that accept the practice. Child marriage is also closely linked to poverty, as often in rural areas girls will be married off very young in order to improve a family’s financial status. In the northern part of Malawi, kupimbira, or giving a young daughter in marriage as repayment for a debt, is practiced.

Conflicting legislation makes the minimum age of marriage ambiguous in Malawi. Early in 2015, the parliament adopted the Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Bill, which raised the minimum age of marriage from 16 to 18. However, Section 22 of the Constitution stipulates that young people between the ages of 15 and 18 may marry upon parental consent.

UNICEF 2015 % Married by 15
UNICEF 2015 % Married by 18

*Child marriage prevalence is the percentage of women 20-24 years old who were married or in union before they were 18 years old

International Ranking 2012*


*According to stats from UNICEF state of the children

More from Malawi

  • Dispatches: preventing child marriage in Malawi (Human Rights Watch)
  • Malawi bans child marriage but the work is just beginning (Akimbo)

Reports relevant to Malawi