Child Marriages in India

Vintage Postcard ~ Child Bride & Groom

I just came across a media article stating that 46% of the Indian women (between the ages of 18 and 29) are married before the age of majority. WOW, a whopping 46%.

In the 2011 SRS Census Survey of India, the details of marriage, average age and child marriages is captured. As per the statement 12 of the 2011 SRS Census Survey only 3.7% of married women, married before the age of 18. Further, the average marriage age for these women in child marriages was 16.5 years. Majority of the Indian women have married above the age of 21.

The mean marriage age for women has increased over the decades from 19.3 years in 1990 to 21.2 years in 2011 as per the Census. Therefore the data point stated in the article that 46% women in India marry below the age of 18 seems incorrect.

The article further states that the child brides in India are projected to increase to 140 million by 2020 from the current projection of 23 million, with atleast 18.5 million brides under the age of 15. I am unable to fathom the numbers due to the following points –

  1. Average age of marriage of women in India is increasing and has increased from 19.3 years in 1990 to 21.2 years in 2011.
  2. The average age of child brides in India is 16.5 years, then how will 18.5 million child brides be under the age of 15 as projected in the news report?
  3. The news report cites a reference to the National Family Health Survey-3. This survey was conducted in the year 2005-06. Why is it being cited after a period of 7 years when better and reliable SRS census data for 2011 is available?

Is the quality of journalism in India deteriorating? You decide and Stand Up for a Cause


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