State Analysis on Child Marriage and Teenage Pregnancy - Based on NFHS 4 (2015-16)

Protap Mukherjee
Adolescence and youth

In India, child marriage has been declining slowly over time, but the number of girls and boys getting married before their respective legal ages (girls aged less than 18 and boys below 21 years) remains large with 12.1 million child marriages reported by Census, 2011. Causes of child marriage are complex and varied based on various customs and traditions across various contexts and is deeply rooted in existing socio-cultural norms. Besides this, economic and regional factors play a significant role in determining prevalence of child marriage. While Census 2011 allows us to investigate incidence of child marriage,  National Family Health Survey data can only highlight prevalence rates of child marriage.  Though we acknowledge  that child marriage persists amongst both boys and girls, this report draws upon NFHS-4 data (2015-16) to analyse prevalence of child marriage and teenage pregnancy only amongst girls in the age group 15-19 in the state of West Bengal. This report also examines some factors related to child marriage and teenage pregnancy in the state of West Bengal as well as its districts.