Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2016 % Married by 15
UNICEF 2016 % 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.
* According to UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children 2016.
1 in 5 girls in Mexico marry before their 18th birthday.
Child marriage in Mexico is largely driven by poverty and tradition. It is most common in rural areas, particularly among indigenous groups in the Yucatan peninsula and south-eastern states where social practices and customary laws prevail over state legislation.
Among the indigenous municipalities of Oaxaca, there have been numerous reports of girls as young as 12 from poor families, being married to richer men in exchange for payment.
In the state of Chiapas, cases have emerged of girls being sold into marriage, and even being fined or imprisoned for attempting to avoid or escape such marriages.
In December 2014, the Ley General de los Derechos de Niñas, Niños y Adolescentes came into force. Article 45 states that federal laws and entities should set the minimum age of marriage at 18.
On 30 April 2015, the Chamber of Deputies approved a reform of Article 148 of the Federal Civil Code that established 18 years as the requirement for entering into marriage. However, this reform has not officially entered into force.
Since 2015, a growing number of states have revised their legislation to increase the legal age of marriage. States that have made marriage below 18 illegal include: Baja California Sur, Coahuila, Jalisco, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosí, Veracruz, Yucatán, Mexico city, Zacatecas and Hidalgo. However, some states, like Mexico City, retain exceptions.
- UN Women, Reforming the legislation on the age of marriage: successful experiences and lessons learned from Latin America and the Caribbean, 2016.
- UNICEF, State of the World’s Children, 2016
- Sin Embargo Rosagel, The Sale and Arranged Marriages of Young Girls are Common in Chiapas, 2014
- Tahirih Justice Centre Forced Marriage Initiative, Mexico (Accessed at: http://preventforcedmarriage.org/forced-marriage-overseas-mexico/)
- UNFPA, Marrying Too Young, 2012