Teen marriages: India

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Married teenaged girls

The Times of India, May 12 2015

Married teenaged girls, state-wise: 2011; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, May 12 2015

According to recently released census data, in 2011, over a crore teenaged girls (aged 15 to 19) were reported to be married at the time of census. This was 19.9% of the total population of this age group.In other words, one in every five girl in this age group was married. A state-wise comparison shows that Rajasthan, West Bengal, Bihar & Jharkhand has the highest proportion of married teenaged girls -more than 25% (including those who got separated or widowed)

Teenage brides, state-wise

Teenage brides, state-wise: total, highest and lowest; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India

The Times of India

May 03 2015

41% of all girls aged 19 in India have married: Census

Women are marrying later than in the past, but teenage brides are by no means as uncommon as we might think, with 41.3% of all girls aged 19 in India having married, according to just-released data from the 2011 census. Of over 10 million girls of this age at the time of the census, more than 4.1 million were married or already divorced, separated or widowed. In some states ­ Bihar, West Bengal, Rajasthan and Jharkhand ­ a majority of 19year-old girls had already been married. In some others like Tripura (49.6%) and Madhya Pradesh (46.6%) they were only just in a minority .

However, the data does confirm that the age of marriage is getting pushed back.During the 2001 census, about 25% of girls aged 15 to 19 were married. Ten years on, that proportion has shrunk to 20%. In the 20-24 age group, while 77% were married in 2001, it was down to 70% by 2011.

The data also shows a clear rural-urban divide. In rural India, 47.3% of 19-yearold girls had been married; in the urban areas the corresponding figure was 29.2%. In most states, a majority of girls seem to be married by the time they are 20 years old.

Which are the states with fewer married 19-year-old girls? The list includes some northeastern states ­ Nagaland being the best ­ and southern states like Kerala and Tamil Nadu as well as Goa, but it also includes states from the extreme north like J&K, Himachal, Punjab and Uttarakhand. Delhi, at 19.6%, is among the front runners, but as an almost entirely urban entity.

The lists of states with the highest proportion also has some surprises. UP (38%), Odisha (33.3) and Chhattisgarh (37.5%) do better than the national average. Gujarat (38.3%), Maharashtra (39.4%) and Karnataka (39.7%) are not far from the national average, showing that generic notions of backward and advanced states may not apply in this case.

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