Child marriage in America

3,499 children were married in New Jersey between 1995 and 2012. Most were age 16 or 17 and married with parental consent, but 178 were between ages 10 and 15, meaning a judge approved their marriages.

Shockingly, 91 percent of the children were married to adults, often at ages or with age differences that could have triggered statutory-rape charges, not a marriage license. A judge in 2006 approved the marriage of a 10-year-old boy to an 18-year-old woman. A judge in 1996 allowed a 12-year-old girl to marry a 25-year-old man.

Data after 2010 excludes New York City, where statistics are kept separately. Still, the state data show that in 2011 alone, a 14-year-old married a 26-year-old, a 15-year-old was wed to a 28-year-old, another 15-year-old was wed to a 25-year-old and a 15-year-old married someone age “35 to 39.” All of those marriages were approved by New York judges. [link]

[In Virginia],  records showed brides as young as 12 and grooms as young as 13. In 2013, there were 199 brides and 28 grooms age 17 and under. More specifically, nine brides (and no grooms) were under 15; 58 brides and 8 grooms were age 16; and 132 brides and 20 grooms were 17.

One of the striking aspects of Tahirih’s research is that there is no single profile of the girls and women in these marriages. They came from families of Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist and other faiths, from immigrant families from many countries and from non-immigrant communities, too. [link]

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