UNICEF’s Child Protection Specialist in India Dora Giusti said, “In the southern part of India we have a relatively better gender balance which explains lower rates of child marriage. Nevertheless, recent studies have shown a rising rate in Kerala”.
“Child marriage is more common among certain groups and among disadvantaged communities. In Kerala it was not the case even a few years back, but of late there has been a rise in it due to migration from the northern part of India,” Giusti explained.
“The District Level Household and Facility Survey’s latest survey (2007-08) study shows that child marriage is widespread but more prevalent in rural areas (48 per cent vs 29 per cent). Further, child marriage tends to be more commonly practiced in low caste and scheduled tribes,” she said.
52.5 per cent of currently married women in age group 20-24 years in rural areas and 28.2 per cent in urban areas got married before they were 18 years, the report detailed.
Bihar has the highest rate of child marriage in India with 68 percent while Himachal Pradesh has the lowest at around 9 pecent.