Understanding Child Marriage: Insights from Comparative Research

December 13, 2018
Authors: Frances Winter
Organization: Young Lives and Child Frontiers

The Young Marriage and Parenthood Study (YMAPS) is a new program of comparative research examining young marriage and parenthood. The study is a  collaboration between Young Lives, a longitudinal study of childhood poverty following the lives of 12,000 children in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam over 15 years, and Child Frontiers, a consulting company that works in partnership to promote the care, well-being and protection of children.

This policy brief highlights findings from longitudinal surveys and qualitative research on child marriage from the Young Lives study.  The study finds that although minimum age of marriage laws have become more widespread, there has been no change in practice within these countries.  Findings from five different contexts highlight the diversity and changing face of child and early marriage and cohabitation practices, together with the common themes of poverty, lack of services and opportunities, and unequal gender norms that sustain high rates of child marriage.