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Child marriage around the world

Child marriage around the world

Child marriage is a truly global problem that cuts across countries, cultures, religions and ethnicities. Child brides can be found in every region in the world, from the Middle East to Latin America, South Asia to Europe.


Top 20 Most Affected

Child marriage: 20 highest-prevalence countries in the world (%)*

  1. 01 Niger 75%
  2. 02 Central African Republic 68%
  3. 03 Chad 68%
  4. 04 Bangladesh 65%
  5. 05 Guinea 63%
  6. 06 Mali 55%
  7. 07 Burkina Faso 52%
  8. 08 South Sudan 52%
  9. 09 Malawi 50%
  10. 10 Mozambique 48%
  11. 11 Madagascar 48%
  12. 12 India 47%
  13. 13 Eritrea 47%
  14. 14 Somalia 45%
  15. 15 Sierra Leone 44%
  16. 16 Zambia 42%
  17. 17 Dominican Republic 41%
  18. 18 Ethiopia 41%
  19. 19 Nicaragua 41%
  20. 20 Nepal 41%

* Child marriage prevalence is the percentage of women 20-24 years old who were married or in union before they were 18 years old (UNICEF State of the World’s Children, 2014). It is based on Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS), Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) and other national surveys, and refers to the most recent year available during the period 2002-2011.


Top 10 Countries with Child Brides (in thousands)**

  1. 01 India 10,063
  2. 02 Bangladesh 2,359
  3. 03 Nigeria 1,193
  4. 04 Brazil 877
  5. 05 Ethiopia 673
  6. 06 Pakistan 600
  7. 07 Indonesia 458
  8. 08 Democratic Republic of the Congo 291
  9. 09 Mexico 260
  10. 10 Niger 244

** Women age 20-24 years old who were married before they were 15, in thousands.

Source: Vogelstein, R, Ending Child Marriage, How elevating the status of girls advances US foreign policy objectives, Council on Foreign Relations, 2013

142 MILLION

If we do nothing, by the end of the decade an estimated 142 million girls will be married as children.

1 in 3 Girls

In the developing world are said to be married before 18.

700 Million

Over 700 million alive today were married as children.

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