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HPC records decline in child marriages in Jordan

By JT - Jan 28,2024 - Last updated at Jan 28,2024

The Higher Population Council reports a decline in the percentage of marriages of girls under 18 years old in Jordan. (Photo courtesy of AFP)

AMMAN — The Higher Population Council (HPC) reported a decline in the percentage of marriages of girls under 18 years old (child marriages) in Jordan over the past ten years. 

Regardless of nationality, the percentage decreased by approximately 5 points, from 17 per cent in 2017 to 12 per cent in 2022. A similar decrease was observed among Syrian refugees during the same period, dropping from 43 per cent to 38 per cent.

The HPC highlighted that around 100,000 girls under 18 years old were recorded to have married in the past decade in Jordan, based on information from the Chief Justice Department’s database.

The council noted that Mafraq governorate, which ranks first in the percentage of Syrian refugees among its population, consistently records the highest rates of girls marrying under 18, reaching 21.2 per cent, which represents almost the double of the national rate of 11.9 per cent.

The council attributed the recent decline in child marriages to national efforts focused on implementing the action plan designed to reduce marriages involving girls under 18 in Jordan. The counseling sessions for prospective couples likely contributed to the initial decrease in these marriage rates. 

The HPC said that early-married girls are more subjected to domestic violence and that their marriages deprive them of pursuing education. 

Furthermore, pregnancies and childbirth during adolescence pose significant health risks, as children born to teenage mothers are more exposed to risks of illness and death. Adolescent mothers are more likely to experience pregnancy-related complications, including the loss of pregnancy or giving birth prematurely to underweight infants, who are more prone to health issues and postnatal mortality.

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