Child marriage traps girls and their families in a cycle of poverty. Girls who marry young do not receive the educational and economic opportunities that help lift them and their families out of poverty and their children are more likely to undergo the same fate.
But this cycle of poverty does not have to be inevitable. If a girl does not marry early and stays in school, she is likely to be healthier and wealthier – and to reinvest her income into her family. For every year a girl stays in secondary school, her eventual wages will be boosted by 15 to 25 percent. When she earns an income, she reinvests on average 90 percent of it into her family, compared to only 30 to 40 percent among men.
More than half of the girls in Bangladesh, Mali, Mozambique and Niger are married before 18. In these countries, more than 75% of people live on less than $2 a day. (Population Reference Bureau, 2005)
Girls from poor families are nearly twice as likely to marry before 18 as girls from wealthier families.