Unchained at Last publishes updated data on Child Marriage in the USA

Unchained At Last: New Study Findings 2021

“The United States has a child marriage problem – but a simple solution is available.

Nearly 300,000 minors, under age 18, were legally married in the U.S. between 2000 and 2018, this study found. A few were as young as 10, though nearly all were age 16 or 17. Most were girls wed to adult men an average of four years older.

Child marriage – or marriage before age 18 – is dangerous. Even at age 16 or 17, regardless of spousal age difference, child marriage:

  1. Can easily be forced marriage, since minors have limited legal rights with which to escape an unwanted marriage (typically they are not even allowed to file for divorce);
  2.  Is a human rights abuse that produces devastating, lifelong repercussions for American girls, destroying their health, education, economic opportunities and quality of life; and
  3. Undermines statutory rape laws, often covering up what would otherwise be considered a sex crime. Some 60,000 marriages since 2000 occurred at an age or spousal age difference that should have been considered a sex crime.

Unlike in countries where child marriage is illegal but persists anyway, the problem in the U.S. is the laws themselves. Most U.S. states still allow marriage before 18, and the four states that banned it did so only in the last three years….”

Findings on Child Marriage in the USA – ages and states (Partial – see full report linked below)

An estimated 297,033 children were married in the U.S. between 2000 and 2018.
That number includes 232,474 based on actual data plus 64,559 based on estimates.

Child marriage occurred most frequently among 16- and 17-year olds.
Some 96% of the children wed were age 16 or 17, though a few were as young as 10 [5].

10-Year-Olds: 5 (0%)
11-Year-Olds: 1 (0%)
12-Year-Olds: 14 (0%)
13-Year-Olds: 78 (0%)
14-Year-Olds: 1,223 (<1%)
15-Year-Olds: 8,199 (4%)
16-Year-Olds: 63,956 (29%)
17-Year-Olds: 148,944 (67%)

The 10 states with the highest per-capita rates of child marriage [9] are:

1. Nevada (0.671%)
2. Idaho (0.338%)
3. Arkansas (0.295%)
4. Kentucky (0.262%)
5. Oklahoma (0.229%)
6. Wyoming (0.227%)
7. Utah (0.208%)
8. Alabama (0.195%)
9. West Virginia (0.193%)
10. Mississippi (0.182%)

Read the full study at: https://www.unchainedatlast.org/united-states-child-marriage-problem-study-findings-april-2021/

Then take action and contact your state representatives at www.stopchildmarriages.org   A joint project between UNICEF USA and Zonta USA

Visit our Resource Library to find more topics and information