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A New Study on Child Marriage Is Changing the Conversation

Teen Vogue featured a new study by researchers at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health that found that approximately 78,400 U.S. children are or have been married. 
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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

In the United States, it’s still unclear exactly how many child marriages occur each year, precisely how young some children are when they’re wed, or whether they have a choice in their marriages. That’s a problem, as we now know early marriage can carry grave consequences. Recent studies have found that minors who marry are more likely to live in poverty, drop out of school, experience serious complications during pregnancy, develop psychiatric disorders, and become victims of domestic violence, the highest rates of which impact girls between the ages of 16 and 19.

A recently published study seeks to paint a more complete picture of child marriage in the U.S. by drawing from a different source, the American Community Survey (ACS), a Census Bureau program that releases information similar to the Census on an annual basis. It provided a sample of 616,107 teens between the ages of 15–17 in every state from 2010 to 2014, including responses from unmarried and married teens, capturing data on both licensed and unlicensed child marriages. This gave researchers access to consistent sets of data on child marriage that crossed every state and went beyond typical marriage license data. Among the study’s most clear-cut findings: Child marriage doesn't last.

Read more on Teen Vogue.