The Economic Impact of Child Marriage

The issue of Child Marriage has plagued rural and urban areas in India for a long time now. The 2011 census revealed that there were more than 15 million girls who had been married before the legal age of 18. Stereotypes and rampant gender bias makes the situation especially difficult for girls. Many continue to be unaware of the consequences of child marriage and lack of action from concerned authorities have led to a worsening of the situation.

CRY works to spread awareness regarding the far-reaching consequences of child marriage especially in rural areas. While many studies have been conducted to understand the effects of child marriage on mental and physical development, there isn’t enough data to understand the economic consequences of child marriage. However, in a joint collaboration, the World Bank and the International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW) have conducted a research on the economic impact of child marriage and this Global Synthesis Report throws light on the enormous economic impact of the issue.

It is hoped that the research motivates every country to develop comprehensive strategies to tackle the issue that destroys the life of so many under-age children. By demonstrating the negative impacts of this issue on the economy, it is hoped that authorities make a greater commitment towards the eradication of this social evil.

Below are a few of the findings of the study that clearly show the enormous economic impact of the issue.

  1. Impact on Fertility and Population Growth The study shows that child marriage increases total fertility for women by 17%. This could be especially harmful for developing countries that are struggling with rising population growth like India and China. By ending child marriage, the study shows that this could help control population explosion by reducing the national total fertility rate on average by 11%. Ending child marriage could therefore contribute in keeping India’s population growth in check and thereby contribute a lot towards economic stability and growth.
  1. Impact on Health, Nutrition and Education It is common knowledge that girls are forced to give up on education when they are married at a young age thus costing the country valuable labour resources. It also affects the earnings of the household and especially in a rural community where an additional source of income could be especially valuable, allowing a girl access to higher education can change the prospects of these households and change the economy for the better. The study also points out children born to underage mothers are more likely to suffer from malnutrition and stunted growth. The mortality rates for these children is also exceptionally high. The study shows that the combined welfare benefits that can be gained reduced population growth and reduced child mortality can be close to $700 billion in the year 2030.

The above two points alone illustrate the enormous economic benefits the country could stand to gain by implementing stringent Child Marriage laws. CRY aims to spread awareness regarding the consequences of child marriage to all districts and help underage girls live a life of fulfilment.

You can help support such NGOs in India working towards building a better society for children to grow up in. Raise your voice against child marriage and make a difference today.

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