Child marriage is defined differently in each country, and occurs in disproportionately high numbers in developing countries, particularly in Africa and the South Asia region.

But just because a child is under the age of 18, he or she should not be forced into marriage for any reason. Even if the marriage is recognized under the law, or is an informal union, it still violates the right to education, health and security.

Even when there are laws making marriage before the age of 18 illegal, as in the United States, child marriage still happens. In New Jersey, 3,481 children were married between 1995 and 2012, mostly with parental consent between the ages of 16 and 17; however, 163 marriages were approved by judges for children between ages 13 and 15. 91 percent of these marriages were between a child and an adult.

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