Spatial Analysis of Child Marriages in Turkey: A Cross-Sectional Study
Keywords:Child Marriage, Moran I, SEM Model, NUTS-3
Child marriage is a widespread human rights violation with significant socio-economic consequences. The roots of child marriages, which hinder social and economic development, is based on gender inequality. Although the overall share of child marriages among brides has decreased over the years in Turkey, there continues to be a significant disparity between girls and boys in terms of marrying at a young age. This study aimed to determine the spatial distribution of early marriage among girls aged 16-17 in 81 provinces of Turkey in 2019 and associated factors using a spatial econometric approach. It is possible to determin the geographical distribution, potential clustering, and spatial correlation of child marriages in Turkey using spatial econometric methods. Spatial regression models, which are widely recognized approaches, are used to model spatial relationships. In this study, the spatial error model (SEM) approach was used to examine how child marriages are affected by proxy variables such as girls’ education, per capita income and their parent’s social norms and attitudes that can measure sexual crimes and migration. The SEM model is an approach that incorporates spatial autocorrelation of the error term. The key feature of this model is its ability to be used when regions or groups are defined based on observable characteristics as well as similarities that can be captured through geographical proximity. Firstly, Moran I statistic was calculated to test whether child marriage rates are spatially correlated. The findings of the study revealed a strong spatial relationship among provinces. According to the Spatial Error Model findings, increases in per capita GDP and human capital reduce child marriage rates, while household size and sexual crimes increase child marriage rates. Financial incentives for attending school, expanding economic opportunities, and the presence of schools promoting gender equality are important. The findings of the study highlight the impotance of increasing per capita income and addressing entrenched social norms in combating child marriage
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