Child brides, UNICEF: 640 million cases worldwide

At least 640 million girls and women worldwide are married as children, or 12 million girls a year according to Unicef.

The percentage of young girls married as children has decreased from 21% to 19% since the last estimates published five years ago.

However, despite this progress, the global reduction will need to be 20 times faster to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of ending child marriage by 2030.

Sub-Saharan Africa, which currently has the world’s second highest rate of child brides (20%), is over 200 years away from ending the practice at the current rate.

Rapid population growth, coupled with ongoing crises, looks set to increase the number of young girls married as children, in contrast to expected declines in the rest of the world.

Latin America and the Caribbean also lag behind and have the second highest regional rate of early marriage by 2030.

After periods of steady progress, also in the Middle East and North Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the decline has stopped.

South Asia, on the other hand, continues to lead global case reductions and is on track to eliminate the practice of child brides in about 55 years. However, the region continues to be home to nearly half (45%) of the world’s women who were married during childhood.

Although India has made considerable progress in recent decades, it still accounts for one-third of the global total.

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