Girl Child Marriage and Reproductive, Maternal and Child Health

Our research on girl child marriage includes both quantitative and qualitative research in South Asia, West and Central Africa, and East Africa. Epidemiologic research with population-based surveys, including the Demographic and Health Surveys, has been conducted to document the prevalence of girl child marriage at the national level, as well as its impact on reproductive, maternal and child health. Smaller scale quantitative and qualitative research on these issues has also been conducted. Findings from our ongoing work documents social vulnerabilities disproportionately faced by girls who marry as minors, the intersection of this issue with other forms of violence against women and girls including spousal violence, and the associations between child marriage and reproductive, maternal and child health concerns, and how these may vary by nation and population characteristics. We have also been exploring the contexts and circumstances that maintain child and forced marriage, with a goal of understanding how to accelerate the elimination of the practice. This work is designed to support global, national and local policy and practice efforts, and is being conducted in partnership with governments, health ministries and multi-lateral organizations to help support evidence based approaches to child marriage prevention and intervention efforts.

Funded by David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and UNICEF




  1. Raj A, McDougal L, Rusch ML. Effects of young maternal age and short interpregnancy interval on infant mortality in South Asia. International journal of gynaecology and obstetrics: the official organ of the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics. 2014;124(1):86-87.
  2. Raj A, Gomez CS, Silverman JG. Multisectorial Afghan perspectives on girl child marriage: foundations for change do exist in Afghanistan. Violence against women. 2014;20(12):1489-1505.
  3. Nasrullah M, Muazzam S, Bhutta ZA, Raj A. Girl child marriage and its effect on fertility in Pakistan: findings from Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey, 2006-2007. Maternal and child health journal. 2014;18(3):534-543.
  4. Raj A, Vilms RJ, McDougal L, Silverman JG. Association between having no sons and using no contraception among a nationally representative sample of young wives in Nepal. International journal of gynaecology and obstetrics: the official organ of the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics. 2013;121(2):162-165.
  5. Raj A, Boehmer U. Girl child marriage and its association with national rates of HIV, maternal health, and infant mortality across 97 countries. Violence against women. 2013;19(4):536-551.
  6. Raj A, McDougal L, Rusch ML. Changes in prevalence of girl child marriage in South Asia. Jama. 2012;307(19):2027-2029.
  7. Raj A, Saggurti N, Winter M, et al. The effect of maternal child marriage on morbidity and mortality of children under 5 in India: cross sectional study of a nationally representative sample. BMJ (Clinical research ed.). 2010;340:b4258.
  8. Raj A. When the mother is a child: the impact of child marriage on the health and human rights of girls. Arch Dis Child. 2010;95(11):931-935.
  9. Raj A, Saggurti N, Balaiah D, Silverman JG. Prevalence of child marriage and its effect on fertility and fertility-control outcomes of young women in India: a cross-sectional, observational study. Lancet (London, England). 2009;373(9678):1883-1889.
  10. Raj A, Gomez C, Silverman JG. Driven to a fiery death--the tragedy of self-immolation in Afghanistan. The New England journal of medicine. 2008;358(21):2201-2203.


Media Links


Primary Investigator
Anita Raj, PhD

Jennifer Yore

Where We Work
  • South Asia
  • Africa
Related Work
  • Family Planning and Maternal-Child Health
  • Girl Child Marriage