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

11% of girls in Somoa are married before their 18th birthday and 1% are married before the age of 15.

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

Child marriage is driven by gender inequality and the belief that women and girls are somehow inferior to men and boys.

There is limited information on child marriage in Samoa.

What has this country committed to?

Samoa has committed to eliminate child, early and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Samoa co-sponsored the 2014 UN General Assembly resolution on child, early and forced marriage.

Samoa ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1994, which sets a minimum age of marriage of 18, and acceded to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1992, which obligates states to ensure free and full consent to marriage.

During its 2016 review, the UN Child Rights Committee raised concerns that the Marriage Ordinance Act 1961 sets the minimum age of marriage for girls at 16, and that exceptions are allowed for them to marry even younger at times.

What is the minimum legal framework around marriage?

Under the Consolidated Acts of Samoa 2008 and Marriage Ordinance 1961 the minimum legal age of marriage is 19 for girls and 21 for boys. However girls can marry at 16 and boys at 18 years with parental consent.


Government of Samoa, Samoa Demographic and Health Survey 2014, 2015, (accessed June 2018)

UN Child Rights Committee, Concluding observations on the combined second to fourth periodic reports of Samoa, 2016, p.5, (accessed May 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)