ICRW Releases Report on Child Marriage in USA
Prevalence and Consequences Detailed.
Visit the website: https://www.icrw.org/issues/child-marriage/
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Girls in the U.S. who marry before age 19 are 50 percent more likely than unmarried girls to drop out of high school and four times less likely to complete college (Dahl, 2010).
This educational disruption cannot be solely attributed to the impacts of teen pregnancy. Rather, teen mothers who marry before giving birth are less likely to ever return to school than teen mothers who do not marry, particularly if they then cohabit with their husband instead of continuing to live with family (McLaughlin, Grady, Billy, Landale, & Winges, 1986).
- Teenage mothers who marry either before or within two years of the birth of their first child are significantly more likely to have a second birth within that two- year interval (Kalmuss & Namerow, 1994). Closely spaced births are associated with negative health outcomes for both the mother and child (Conde-Agudelo, Rosas-Bermúdez, & Kafury-Goeta, 2007; Molitoris, Barclay, & Kolk, 2019).
- Early marriage also has long-term effects on women’s physical health. Women (but not men) who marry before age 19 are at 23 percent greater risk of developing diabetes or cancer or having a heart attack or stroke (Dupre & Meadows, 2007).
- Women who married before age 18 had a 43 percent increased risk of developing major depressive disorder, the most prevalent disorder, and were almost three times as likely to develop antisocial personality disorder in their lifetime (Le Strat et al., 2011).
APPROXIMATELY 4 OUT OF 5 marriages involving girls below the age of 15 end in death, divorce, or separation
- Research dating back decades in the U.S. conclusively shows that marrying early is one of the strongest predictors of marital disruption (Becker, Landes, & Michael, 1977; Heaton, 1991; Moore & Waite, 1981; Morgan & Rindfuss, 1985; Thornton & Rodgers, 1987). The probability of marital disruption is highest for the youngest married; controlling for marriage duration, approximately four out of five marriages involving girls below the age of 15 end in death, divorce, or separation (Heaton, 2002)
- Furthermore, most participants experienced reproductive coercion by their spouses; fewer than half reported that they could have used birth control if they had wanted to (Wahi et al., 2019).
- Teenage mothers who marry either before or within two years of the birth of their first child are significantly more likely to have a SECOND BIRTH WITHIN THAT TWO-YEAR INTERVAL.
- Early marriage also magnifies the negative effect of completing less formal education on women’s future earnings and likelihood of living in poverty. Whereas women in the U.S. who complete fewer than 12 years of schooling are 11 percent more likely to live at or below the poverty line as adults, those who marry before age 16 are 31 percent more likely to live in poverty (Dahl, 2010).
Abuse + Violence:
There is strong qualitative evidence showing
that physical, sexual, emotional and financial abuse and reproductive coercion is common within child marriages.
- Eighteen out of 20 women participating in a 2019 study of child marriage in the U.S. reported experiences of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse by their husbands during their marriage.
- Eleven out of 20 reported financial abuse
by their spouse, including being forced to surrender their earnings or having restricted access to the financial resources of their household (Wahi et al., 2019).
Source: ICRW: Child Marriage in the United States
Download the full report