Spatial Analysis of Child Marriages in Turkey: A Cross-Sectional Study


  • Gülten DURSUN Kocaeli Üniversitesi
  • Ahsen Esma KANLIOĞLU



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


Abera, M., Nega, A., Tefera, Y., & Gelagay, A. A. (2020). Early marriage and women’s empowerment: The case of child-brides in Amhara National Regional State, Ethiopia. BMC International Health and Human Rights, 20, 30, 1-16. s12914-020-00249-5.

Acosta, K., & Thomas, L. (2014). Early/chıld marriage in Syrian refugee communities. The MILLA Project. Available at:

Aktepe, E., & Atay, M. (2017). Çocuk evlilikleri ve psikososyal sonuçları child marriages and psychosocial outcomes. Psikiyatride Güncel Yaklaşımlar-Current Approaches in Psychiatry, 9(4), 410-420. doi:10.18863/pgy.310791.

Anselin, L. (1988). Spatial econometrics: Methods and models. Netherlands: Springer.

Anselin, L. (1995). Local indicators of spatial association-LISA. Geoprachical Analsis, 27(2), 93-184.

Arthur, M., Earle, A., Raub, A., Vincent, I., Atabay, E., Latz, I., … & Heymann, J. (2018). Child marriage laws around the world: Minimum marriage age, legal exceptions, and gender disparities. Journal of Women, Politics & Policy, 39:1, 51-74, DOI: 10.1080/1554477X.2017.1375786.

Bartels, S. A., Michael, S., Roupetz, S., Garbern, S., Kilzar, L., Bergquist, H., … & Bunting, A. (2018). Making sense of child, early and forced marriage among Syrian refugee girls: a mixed methods study in Lebanon. BMJ Global Health, 3, 1-12. doi:10.1136/ bmjgh-2017-000509.

Bicchieri, C., Jiang, T., & Lindemans, J. W. (2014). A social norms perspective on child marriage: The general framework. Penn Social Norms Group (PennSoNG). 13. Available at:

Birchall, J. (2020). Child, early and forced marriage in fragile and conflict affected states. K4D Helpdesk Report 805. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies.

Blonigen, B.A., Davies, R. B., Waddell, G.R., & Naughton, H. T. (2007). FDI in space: Spatial autoregressive relationships in foreign direct investment. European Economic Review, 51, 1303– 1325.

Burcu, E., Yıldırım, F., Sırma, Ç. S., & Sanıyaman, S. (2015). Çiçeklerin kaderi: Türkiye’de kadınların erken evliliği üzerine nitel bir araştırma. Bilig, 73, 63-98.

Cliff, A.D., & Ord, J. K. (1981). Spatial processes: Models and applications. Pion, London.

Coughlin, C., & Segev, E. (2000). Foreign direct investment in China: A spatial econometric study”, The World Economy, 23 (1), 1–23.

Çayır, M. (2015). Türkiye’deki çocuk gelin sorununa ekonomik yaklaşım: Mekânsal bir analiz. EconWorld2015@Torino 18-20 August, 2015; IRES, Torino, Italy.

DeBenedictis, L. F. & Giles, D.E.A. (1998). Diagnostic testing in econometrics: variable addition, RESET, and Fourier approximations, in Handbook of Applied Economic Statistics, (Eds.) A. Ullah and D. E. A. Giles, Marcel Dekker, New York, 383-417.

Duman, F. (2012). The roots of modern feminism: Mary Wollstonecraft and the french revolution. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 2(9), 75-89.

Durdu, Z., & Yelboğa, Y. (2016). Türkiye’de çocuk gelinler üzerine bir araştırma: Mersin örneği. Uluslararası Sosyal Araştırmalar Dergisi, 444(9), 800-807.

El Arab, R., & Sagbakken, M. (2019). Child marriage of female Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon: a literature review. Global Health Action, 12(1), 1-11. 1585709, DOI: 10.1080/16549716.2019.1585709.

Ellsberg, M., Arango, D. J., Morton, M., Gennari, F., Kiplesund, S., Contreras, M., & Watts, C. (2015). Prevention of violence against women and girls: what does the evidence say? The Lancet, 385, 1555-66.

Ertem, M., Saka, G., Ceylan, A., Değer, V., & Çiftçi, S. (2008). The Factors associated with adolescent marriages and outcomes of adolescent pregnancies in Mardin Turkey. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 39(2). 229-239.

Fischer, M. M. & Wang, J. (2011). Spatial data analysis: Models, methods and techniques. Springer Science+Business Media.

Gastón, C. M., Misunas, C., & Cappa, C. (2019). Child marriage among boys: a global overview of available data. Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies, 14(3), 219-228.

Geary, R. C. (1954). The contiguity ratio and statistical mapping. The Incorporated Statistician, 5(3), 115-146. doi:10.2307/2986645.

Getis, A., & Ord, J. K. (1992). The analysis of spatial association by use of distance statistics. Geoprachical Analysis, 24(3), 189-282.

Getis, A. (2008). A history of the concept of spatial autocorrelation: A Geographer's perspective. Geopraphical Analysis, 40(3), 297-309.

Greene, M. E. (2014). Ending child marriage in a generation. What research is needed? GreeneWorks. Social Change for Health & Development. Ford Foundation.

Halleck Vega, S., & Elhorst, J.P. (2015). The SLX model. Journal of Regional Science, 55, 339-363.

Hamad, B. A., Elamassie, S., Oakley, E., Alheiwidi, S., & Baird, S. (2021). ‘No one should be terrifed like I was!’ exploring drivers and impacts of child marriage in protracted crises among Palestinian and Syrian refugees. The European Journal of Development Research, 33,1209–1231

Hoang, H.H., & Goujon, M. (2014). Determinants of foreign direct investment in Vietnamese provinces: A spatial econometric analysis. Post-Communist Economies, 26(1), 103-121.

Kaynak, M. (2014). Türkiye’de ‘çocuk gelin’ sorunu. Nesne, 2 (3), 27-38.

Kidman, R. (2017). Child marriage and intimate partner violence: a comparative study of 34 countries. International Journal of Epidemiology, 662–675. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyw225.

Klugman, J., Hanmer, L., Twigg, S., Hasan, T., McCleary-Sills, J., & Santamaria, J. (2014). Voice and agency: Empowering women and girls for shared prosperity. Washington, DC: World Bank Group.

Lemmon, G. T., & ElHarake, L. S. (2014). High Stakes for Young Lives: Examining Strategies to Stop Child Marriage. New York: Working Paper, Council on Foreign Relations.

Loaiza, E., & Wong, S. (2012). Marrying too young. End child marriage [Internet]. New York: United Nations Population Fund.

Maswikwa, B., Richter, L., Kaufman, J., & Nandi, A. (2015). Minimum marriage age laws and the prevalence of child marriage and adolescent birth: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa. International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 41(2), 58-68.

McCleary-Sills, J., Hanmer, L., Parsons, J., & Klugman, J. (2015). Child marriage: A critical barrier to girls’ schooling and gender equality in education. The Review of Faith & International Affairs, 13:3, 69-80, DOI: 10.1080/15570274.2015.1075755.

McDougal, L., Shakya, H., Lapsansky, C., Conrad, D., Bhan, N., Singh, A., … & Raj, A. (2020). Mapping the patchwork: Exploring the subnational heterogeneity of child marriage in India. SSM-Population Health, 12, 100688.

Moran, P. A. (1950). Notes on continuous stochastic phenomena. Biometrika, 37 (1–2), 17–23. doi: 10.1093/biomet/37.1-2.17.

Nguyen, M. C., & Wodon, Q. (2015). Global and regional trends in child marriage. The Review of Faith & International Affairs, 13(3), 6-11.

OHCHR (2019). Convention on the rights of the child [Internet]. Available at:

Olmsted, J. C. (2011). Norms, economic conditions and household formation: A case study of the Arab world. The History of the Family, 16(4), 401-415. DOI: 10.1016/ j.hisfam.2011.07.007.

Özpulat, F. (2016). Toplumun ihmal edilen yüzü: Çocuk evlilikler ve kadın sağlığına yansımaları. Online Türk Sağlık Bilimleri Dergisi, 2(1), 11-22.

Öztürk, A. B., Albayrak, H., Karataş, K., & Aslan, H. (2021). Dynamics of child marriages among Syrian and Afghan refugees in Turkey. Atatürk Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Dergisi, 25(1), 251-269.

Paslı, F. (2019). Çocuğa yönelik cinsel istismar deneyiminin mikro ve mezzo sistemler açısından incelenmesi. Toplum ve Sosyal Hizmet, 30(2), 463-492.

Parsons, J., Edmeades, J., Kes, A., Petroni, S., Sexton, M. & Wodon, Q. (2015). Economic Impacts of child marriage: A review of the literature. The Review of Faith & International Affairs, 13(3), 12–22.

Plümper, T., & Neumayer, E. (2010). Model specification in the analysis of spatial dependence. European Journal of Political Research, 49 (3), 418- 442.

Psaki, S. R., Melnikas, A. J., Haque, E., Saul, G., Misunas, C., Patel, S. K., … & Amin, S. (2021). What are the drivers of child marriage? A conceptual framework to Ggide policies and programs. Journal of Adolescent Health, 69, S13eS22.

Rashad, H., Magued Osman, M., & Roudi-Fahimi, F. (2005). Marriage ın the arab world. Population Reference Bureau. Washington, DC 20009 USA.

Raj, A., Saggurti, N., Winter, M., Labonte, A., Decker, M. R., Balaiah, D., & Silverman, J. G. (2010). 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, 1-9. doi:10.1136/bmj.b4258.

Save the Children (2021). Child marriage kills more than 60 girls a day.

Saygılıgil, F. (2022). Ben Fikriye. H. Çağlayan ve K. A. Türker (Eds.), Feminizm, Ekoloji, Toplumsal Direniş içinde (ss.21-48). İstanbul: Notabene Yay.

Sharma, R., Shukla, A., Sriram, D., Ramakrishnan, V., Kalaan, M., & Kumar, A. (2020). Understanding the sociality of child marriage, Development in Practice, 30:5, 645-659, DOI: 10.1080/09614524.2020.1718610.

Tessema, Z. T. (2020). Spatial distribution and associated factors of early marriage among reproductive age women in Ethiopia: a secondary data analysis of Ethiopian Demographic and Health Survey 2016. BMC Women’s Health, 20(268), 1-11.

Tiwari, A., Datta, B. K., Haider, M. R., & Jahan, M. (2023). The role of child marriage and marital disruptions on hypertension in women-A nationally representative study from India. SSM-Population Health, 22, 101409.

TNSA (Türkiye Nüfus ve Sağlık Araştırması) (2019). Temel Bulgular. Hacettepe Üniversitesi Nüfus Etütleri Enstitüsü, Ankara.

Tobler, W. R. (1970). A computer movie simulating urban growth in the Detroit region. Economic Geography, 46, 234–240.

TÜİK (2019). İstatistiklerle Aile, 2019.

TÜİK (2020). İstatistiklerle Aile, 2020.

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). (2018). Child marriage is a violation of human rights, but is all too common, Weblink:

UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) (2017), New study finds child marriage rising among most vulnerable Syrian refugees. Available from: http:// -rising-among-most-vulnerable-syrian-refugees.

UNFPA & UNICEF (2019). Phase II programme document 2020-2023. UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to end child marriage. UNFPA and UNICEF.

Van Roost, K., Horn, M., & Koski, A. (2022). Child marriage or statutory rape? A comparison of law and practice across the United States. Journal of Adolescent Health, 70, S72eS77.

Vasilenko, S. A., Kugler, K. C., & Rice, C. E. (2016). Timing of first sexual intercourse and young adult health outcomes. Journal of Adolescent Health, 59(3), 291–297. https://

Viswan, Saritha P., Sundari Ravidran, T. K., Kandala, N. B., Petzold, M. G. & Fonn, S. (2017). Sexual autonomy and contraceptive use among women in Nigeria: findings from the Demographic and Health Survey data, International Journal of Women's Health, 581-590, DOI: 10.2147/IJWH.S133760

WHO (2023). Trends in maternal mortality 2000 to 2020: estimates by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, World Bank Group and UNDESA/Population Division. Geneva: World Health Organization.

Yang, L., & Li, Z. (2017). Technology advance and the carbon dioxide emission in China – Empirical research based on the rebound effect. Energy Policy, 101, 150-161.

Yerdelen Tatoğlu, F. (2022). Mekansal ekonometri: Stata uygulamalı. Beta Yay., İstanbul.

Yüksel-Kaptanolu, İ., & Ergöçmen, B. (2012). Çocuk gelin olmaya giden yol. Sosyoloji Araştırmaları Dergisi, 15(2), 129-161.

Yüksel, F., & Koçtürk, N. (2021). Investigation of factors associated with the child marriage in Turkey. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 30 (6), 653-666, DOI: 10.1080/10538712.2021.1956664.



How to Cite

DURSUN , G. ., & KANLIOĞLU , A. E. . (2023). Spatial Analysis of Child Marriages in Turkey: A Cross-Sectional Study. WORLD WOMEN STUDIES JOURNAL, 8(2), 328–343.