Facts About Child Marriage In The US

Facts About Child Marriage In The US. Child marriage in the United States is a complex and controversial issue that continues to be a subject of debate and legislative action. Age limits around the world vary widely with some countries having no limits at all. We are focusing on the laws in the US here today. Here are the key facts about child marriage in the US, the parties and states that support it, those who defend it, and the lowest ages allowed:

Facts About Child Marriage in the US

  1. Definition: Child marriage refers to a legal or formal marriage where one or both of the parties are under the age of 18.
  2. Prevalence: Between 2000 and 2018, nearly 300,000 minors were legally married in the United States, according to a study by Unchained At Last, an advocacy organization working to end child marriage.
  3. Gender Disparity: The majority of child marriages involve minor girls marrying adult men. About 86% of the minors married in the U.S. were girls.
  4. Reasons for Child Marriage: Factors contributing to child marriage include cultural traditions, religious beliefs, socioeconomic conditions, and, in some cases, to legitimize pregnancy or avoid legal consequences related to statutory rape laws.
  5. Consequences: Child marriage can lead to various negative outcomes, including higher risks of domestic violence, lower educational attainment, poor mental and physical health, and increased likelihood of poverty.

States and Parties Supporting or Opposing Child Marriage

  1. Legislation: The legality of child marriage varies by state, with some states setting minimum ages and others allowing exceptions with parental or judicial consent.
  2. States with No Minimum Age: As of recent years, states like West Virginia and California have no minimum age for marriage if certain conditions are met, such as parental consent and judicial approval.
  3. States with Minimum Ages and Exceptions:
    • New Hampshire: Sets the minimum marriage age at 13 for girls and 14 for boys, with parental and judicial consent.
    • Massachusetts: Allows marriage from age 12 for girls and 14 for boys with judicial consent.
    • Other States: Many states allow marriage at ages 16 or 17 with parental consent, and some states also require judicial approval.
  4. States Raising the Minimum Age: Some states have recently raised the minimum age for marriage to 18 without exceptions, including:
    • Delaware: First state to completely ban child marriage without exceptions in 2018.
    • New Jersey: Passed similar legislation in 2018.
    • Pennsylvania: Banned child marriage in 2020.
    • Minnesota: Banned child marriage in 2020.

Support and Defense of Child Marriage

  1. Support:
    • Cultural and Religious Groups: Some cultural and religious groups support child marriage based on traditional or religious beliefs. They argue that marriage can protect young women and provide stability.
    • Parents: In some cases, parents support child marriages to avoid social stigma or legal consequences related to premarital sex or pregnancy.
  2. Defense:
    • Judicial Discretion: Proponents argue that judicial oversight ensures that child marriages are in the best interest of the minors involved, especially in exceptional circumstances.
    • Parental Rights: Some believe that parents should have the authority to decide the best course of action for their children, including consenting to their marriage.

Lowest Ages Allowed

  1. Varied Minimum Ages: The minimum legal age for marriage varies significantly by state. Some states allow minors as young as 12 or 13 to marry with judicial and parental consent.
  2. No Absolute Minimum: States without an absolute minimum age can theoretically allow children of any age to marry if certain conditions are met, though this is extremely rare.

Facts About Child Marriage In The US


Child marriage in the United States remains a contentious issue with significant legal and social implications. While some states and cultural or religious groups support the practice under certain conditions, there is a growing movement to raise the minimum marriage age to 18 without exceptions. This movement is driven by concerns over the negative consequences of child marriage and the desire to protect minors from potential exploitation and harm. Many believe the democrat party who supports perversions especially aimed and kids, is the biggest problem as they defend no limits at times. As legislation continues to evolve, it is crucial to balance cultural and parental rights with the need to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of young people.

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