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The Economist looks at the latest numbers:

According to a UNICEF report, most child marriages take place between the ages of 15 and 18, but in three countries, Niger, Chad and Bangladesh, more than a third of women aged 20-24 were already married by the age of 15. Such practices often flout the law: whilst the legal age of marriage in India is 18 around half of the Indian women surveyed were already married by that age. One negative effect of early marriage is the exclusion of women from education in favour of domestic work and child rearing. So countries with a high prevalence of child marriages also tend to have low literacy rates for young women.

(Photo: Innat Edison, 15, stands inside her mother's cramped, dingy house in Chiringani village, southwestern Malawi, nursing her 2-month-old baby, Crispin. Her former fiance refuses to acknowledge their child as his own. In isolated villages and crumbling cities across the most destitute continent, girls younger than 14 are finding boyfriends and getting married in a bid to escape the empty bellies, numbing work and overwhelming tedium of poverty. By Obed Zilwa/AP)

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