GenderStats 7: Underage Marriage – 3

30 December 2021 | Education, Gender

Ankur Bhardwaj

Ankur Bhardwaj

Editor, Centre for Economic Data and Analysis

ankur.bhardwaj@ashoka.edu.in

 

In our previous posts on underage marriages, we had looked at the decline in 20-24-year-old women getting married before turning 18 over a period, as covered in National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-3, NFHS-4, and NFHS-5 and the correlation between underage marriage and a state’s GSDP Per Capita. Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

Indian states vary a great deal in terms of human development. One commonly used indicator of human capital is years of schooling. In this Picture This entry, we explore if there is any correlation between underage marriages and women’s education. Specifically, we check if states with a high percentage of women with 10 years of schooling show a low percentage of underage marriage. 

The scatter plot shows states (represented by dots) with the percentage of underage marriages (20–24-year-old women married before turning 18) plotted along the X-axis and the percentage of women completing 10 or more years of schooling plotted along the Y-axis. Each red dot on the scatter plot represents a state’s percentage of underage marriages and the percentage of women completing 10 or more years of education, in 2015-16, as per NFHS-4. Each blue dot pertains to 2019-21 based on data from NFHS-5. 

As we hover over a dot, we can find the full name of the state with percentage of underage marriages followed by percentage of women with 10 or more years of schooling in the state shown in brackets. Click on NFHS-4 or NFHS-5 in the top right corner of the graph to select one or both rounds of the survey.

Overall, we see a strong negative correlation (-0.7609 in 2015-16 (NFHS-4), and -0.7849 in 2019-21 (NFHS-5)), i.e., states with higher levels of female education (as measured by percentage of women with 10 or more years of education) have lower proportion of underage marriage.

At the national level, India had 35.7 percent women with 10 or more years of schooling in 2015-16 with an underage marriage percentage of 26.8 percent. In 2019-21, there were 41 percent women with 10 years of schooling or more with 23.3 percent underage marriages.

In 2015-16, Bihar had the highest percentage of underage marriages in the country (20-24-year-old women marrying before turning 18) at 42.5 percent. The state also had the lowest percentage of women with 10 or more years of schooling at only 22.8 percent. In 2019-21, the three states with the highest percentage of underage marriage (West Bengal, Bihar, and Tripura) have the lowest percentage of women completing 10 or more years of schooling.

Kerala has the highest percentage of women completing 10 or more years of schooling in both years at 72.2 percent and 77 percent, respectively. The state also has among the lowest percentage of underage marriage in the country at 7.6 percent in 2015-16, and 6.3 percent in 2019-21.

“GenderStats by CEDA” is a new series by the Centre for Economic Data and Analysis on the Picture This page. With the help of graphs, we will highlight the socio-economic and health status of Indian women and help understand their position vis-à-vis Indian men and other women in the rest of the world. If you have a suggestion for us or if there is an indicator that you would like us to focus on, please write to us at ceda@ashoka.edu.in

 

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