District-level study on child marriage in India

Publication Subtitle

What do we know about the prevalence, trends and patterns?

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Padmavathi Srinivasan, Nizamuddin Khan, Ravi Verma, Dora Giusti, Joachim Theis, Supriti Chakraborty

In India, child marriage persists across the country. Although there has been a significant decline in child marriage for females throughout the country, especially for girls below the age of 15 years, child marriage continues to affect almost a third of all girls in India. In fact, a significant percentage of Indian women continue to marry between the ages of 15 and 17 years-old.

Data from the District Level Household Survey (DLHS) from 2007-2008 and the 2011 Census show that many indicators of social and economic development, including female status and levels of empowerment at the district level, are significantly associated with child marriage prevalence in districts. This indicates a strong need for improving the social and economic conditions in the immediate environment to bring about social change and put a stop to customs and practices that are detrimental to the health and wellbeing of women and children and harmful to society.

This study, undertaken with support from UNICEF, was designed to assess child marriage rates at the district level throughout India and to determine if there are patterns that can provide further insights into scaling up successful prevention efforts.