Problem of Child Marriage in India

What is child marriage?

Child marriage involves a girl or boy becoming married before reaching 18. It encompasses both legally recognized marriages and illicit partnerships in which children cohabitate with one spouse as if they were already married. 

Statistics in India

In India, where at least 1.5 million girls under the age of 18 are thought to get married annually and who together make up a third of all child brides worldwide, this statistic puts the country in first place among all countries in terms of the number of child brides. Married teenage girls aged 15 to 19 presently make up around 16% of the population.

By the age of 20, 43% of women aged 20 to 24, and by the age of 21, 61% of women experience child marriage. This statistic comes from the NFHS-5. Child marriage rates are greater for girls who have not completed elementary school or have studied below that level. This data is about 4% of females with higher education before the age of 18, compared to 48% of girls with no formal education.

The variances in child marriage according to the household wealth index are another notable finding. 40% of the females from the lowest quintile who were married before becoming 18 years old is astounding. However, just 8% married females were from the top quintile before the age of 18. The most current NCRB figures show a 50% increase in child marriage in 2020 compared to before

Child Marriage : A Social Evil

A girl married young is more likely to drop out of school, be unemployed, and not give back to her community. She has a higher chance of contracting HIV/AIDS and experiencing domestic abuse. She is more likely to become pregnant when still a young child. Her odds of dying from problems during pregnancy and labor are higher. 

It has an adverse effect on children’s rights to protection, education, and health. These problems not only have an immediate effect on the girl but also on her family and community.