America: where hundreds of thousand of underage girls are married off by their parents

Originally published at:


That gave me the collywobbles.


Child marriage is correlated with a host of bad outcomes: girls who marry when they’re not yet 19 are 50% as likely to complete highschool and 25% as likely to graduate from college; are 31% more likely to die in poverty; face a 23% higher risk of heart attack/diabetes/cancer/stroke; experience higher-than-average mental health problems; and women who marry before the age of 18 are three times as likely to experience domestic violence.

As you say, its correlated. All those things are caused by poverty. Being a child bride is yet another symptom of poverty.

While we are talking about 3rd-world behaviors within the US, I want to mention that in georgia (at least) “honor killing” is a legal defense to the charge of murder. We just call it a crime of passion.


Cold robbies, here.


The summary was enough for me.


Screaming heebie-jeebies, myself


When I first saw this story, I went poking around in the Census and CDC marriage data. The Census data limps 15-24 year-olds into a single group, so it’s hard to know from that how many are underage. There was a first marriage survey done by the CDC, in which they note that 4 percent of women and 1 percent of men reported getting married before the age of 18. Given that there would be millions of first marriages over a 10-year period, the numbers presented by Unchained would seem to be consistent with that.


I would love to see data on how many of those girls were sold married to men who already had one or more wives.


Any religion that supports this kind of thing is flawed. And as a way to deal with teen pregnancy? Seriously? What about teen contraception?

There are other reasons, too, The older men being unable or unwilling to deal with women in their same age group. And women are guilty of the same crap; their style is different, obviously. That pisses me off, too.

Age and gender hypocrisies appear to have a lot to do with it, as well. “Don’t do as I do - do as I say you should do.” How old is that chestnut?


I think that the whole problem is we call them “3rd world behaviors.”

We are not, have never been, and will never be exceptional. No matter how many transistors we can fit on a chip or how effective our antibiotics get, or how much money we have in our wallets and how much leisure time we obtain.

We’re still running ape software on ape squishware.


Why is that a problem? It certainly appears to be an accurate phrase in this instance.

Unchained at Last estimates the “true total” of child-marriage over a ten year period (2000-2010) as 248,000. Assuming that these figures are accurate (UaL admits to extrapolating from the actual data), that represents 24,800/year in the United States, a country of 320MM people. This is a statistical blip – essentially, almost 0% [edit: 1.18%] of US girls are married before their 18th birthday.

On the other hand, according to, India has the highest number of child brides in the world. It is estimated that 47% of girls in India are married before their 18th birthday.

I think it is great that Ms. Reiss of UaL is shining some light on this issue in the US. But she is being somewhat disingenuous in her WaPo editorial when she laments that the focus of US funding and attention is placed on child marriage in third world countries as opposed to that occurring in the US.

The reason is obvious – money and attention are directed to where the problem is the most severe, and where they will thus have the greatest impact.

So can we stop with the moral relativism bullshit?


I’m sorry. What fucking year is it?!?


But you can’t drink the wine at the wedding until you’re 21. Land of the free, don’t you know?


Most people who get married don’t do so every year.

There are approximately 2.1 million marriages each year in the United States. If 24,800 of those involve underage girls that easily makes up more than 1% of the total.


Au contraire

Thinking you’re exceptional when you’re not is actually rather exceptional, wouldn’t you say? Therefore, there’s no way you can’t be exceptional.

You’re welcome.


Good point - I now concede that 0% is now 1.18%
My point still stands.


God gave us free will enough to go ‘this shit needs to stop’ and gave us minds capable of figuring out how to make unwanted pregnancy less of an issue. Abstinence is naturally the best option, but to not even consider anything else out there as being even a little effective is doing everyone a grave disservice.

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Looks like another glorious win for states’ rights.


Serious question: why is abstinence “naturally the best solution?”


That’s the problem: When it happens under your own nose, in your own country to your own neighbor and you find it easier to ignore. In fact, you’re rather quick to minimize it, considering you have a great deal more power to do something about it. But hey, 3rd world problem, right? You have further license to do nothing, despite greater agency to affect change.

Funnily enough, I never said anything about moral relativism. Not even a little bit. Interesting that.