Visit our new interactive Atlas!

Brazil

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 15
11%
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 18
36%
International Ranking*

22

* References

* 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, 2017)

Photo credit: IPPF/WHR | Graeme Robertson

Child marriage rates
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 15
11%
UNICEF 2017 % Married by 18
36%
International Ranking*

22

* References

* 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, 2017)

What's the child marriage rate? How big of an issue is child marriage?

According to the most recent available data from 2006, 36% of Brazilian girls are married before their 18th birthday and 11% are married before the age of 15.

According to UNICEF, Brazil has the fourth highest number of child brides in the world – 3,034,000.

In Brazil, child marriages take the form of legal, formally registered civil or religious marriages, informal unions or cohabitation. Distinctions between the three are often blurred.

Are there country-specific drivers of child marriage in this country?

Child marriage is driven by gender inequality and the belief that girls are somehow inferior to boys. In Brazil, child marriage is also driven by:

What has this country committed to?

Brazil has committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals. The government did not provide an update on progress towards this target during its Voluntary National Review at the 2017 High Level Political Forum.

Brazil co-sponsored the 2013 Human Rights Council resolution on child, early and forced marriage and the 2017 resolution recognising the need to address child, early and forced marriage in humanitarian contexts.

Brazil ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990, which sets a minimum age of marriage of 18, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women in 1984, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.

During its 2017 Universal Periodic Review, Brazil agreed to consider taking all necessary measures to effectively eliminate child marriage.

At the 2014 Girl Summit, the government signed a charter committing to end child marriage by 2020.

What is the government doing to address this at the national level?

Despite the prevalence of child marriage in Brazil, the problem has been absent in national research and policymaking agendas. A lack of reporting of informal unions and cohabitation makes a systematic review and response to child marriage extremely challenging.

What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?

While 18 years is the minimum age of marriage, under the Civil Code 2002, both girls and boys who are 16 years old can marry with the consent from either parents or their legal representatives.
However, exemptions exist for minors under the age of 16 in the case of pregnancy or to avoid a criminal sentence for statutory rape.

On 5 June 2018 the House of Representatives (Câmara dos Deputados) approved a bill that prohibits any form of marriage of children under 16 years old. The bill still needs to pass through the Senate and be sanctioned by the President.

Source

Girl Summit 2014, The Girl Summit Charter on Ending FGM and Child, Early and Forced Marriage, [website], 2015, (accessed February 2018)

Instituto Promundo and Promundo-US, Exploring Child Marriage in Brazil, 2013, (accessed March 2018)

Ministry of Health, Brazil National Demographic and Health Survey of Children and Women 2006-2007, 2007, (accessed May 2018)

Promundo Global, “She goes with me in my boat”: Child and adolescent marriage in Brazil, 2015, (accessed March 2018)

UN General Assembly, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Brazil, 2017, p.22, (accessed March 2018)

United Nations, Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, [website], 2017, (accessed February 2018)

* 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, 2017)

Members In Brazil