Child Marriage in West and Central Africa: At a Glance

The prevalence of child marriage in West and Central Africa is 41 percent, meaning that four out of ten girls and young women – nearly 60 million – were married before the age of 18. However, this masks huge variations between and within countries. The region is home to six of the ten countries with the highest child marriage prevalence levels in the world, all six of which have a prevalence over 50 percent. Niger has the highest prevalence of child marriage in the world at 76 percent, followed by Central African Republic with 68 percent and Chad at 67 percent.

The prevalence of child marriage below the age of 15 years is also very high at 14 percent for the region, with Chad, Central African Republic and Niger all having prevalence rates over 25 percent. As the most populous country in the region, Nigeria has the highest number of child brides. An estimated 22 million child brides live in Nigeria, which accounts for 40 percent of all child brides in the region. Niger, which has the highest prevalence in the world, has 4.1 million child brides.