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35   The prevalence of child marriage in the developing world is 35 per cent for women 20-24 years old, a decline from 48 per cent for women aged 45-49 years old.

World Fit for Children Goal: End harmful traditional or customary practices, such as early and forced marriage, which violate the rights of children and women

About a third of women 20–24 years old in the developing world were married as children. The prevalence of child marriage overall has decreased – while 48 per cent of women 45-49 years old were married before the age of 18, the proportion drops to 35 per cent for women 20–24 years old.


Notwithstanding this improvement, significant levels of child marriage persist. The practice is most common in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, but there are big differences in prevalence among countries of the same region.


Source: UNICEF global databases, 2010

Reference:, p. 46