Married Too Soon
What does it mean ?
Child marriage (also known as early marriage) is defined as a formal marriage or informal union before age 18. It is measured as the percentage of women who are in a marriage / union before the age of 18 years. It is often presented specifically for women currently aged 20-24 years only in order to give an indication of recent prevalence.
Why does it matter ?
As well as being a violation of a girl or young woman's human rights, early or child marriage is associated with curtailment of education, psychosocial disadvantage, poor reproductive health, increased risk of intimate partner violence and poor child health outcomes for the subsequent generation. The elimination of early and child marriage is a target for Sustainable Development Goal 5: toachieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Target 5.3: "by 2030 to eliminate all harmful practices, such as early, forced and child marriage, and female genital mutilation."
How is it collected ?
In high and some middle income countries estimates are based on vital registration data. However, most estimates are based on self-reported, retrospective data from large scale, nationally representative surveys such as Demographic and Health (DHS) or Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS). It must be noted that these surveys adopt a broad definition of marriage / union which includes legal and "traditional" marriages, as well as consensual unions with cohabitation.
UNICEF datasets most recent available data http://data.unicef.org/child-protection/child-marriage.html
Accessed 15th August 2016