Shocking number of children are forced into marriage in the US: report

While many may think child marriage is only an issue in far away countries, an advocacy group study shows it affects thousands of children every year in the United States.

Unchained at Last, a organization that aims to end child marriage, reported that over 167,000 people aged 17 or younger were married in 38 states between the years of 2000 and 2010, reports the New York Times. Data for the remaining 12 states was unavailable, but multiple marriages of 12-year-old girls in multiple states popped up in their search.

The group estimates nearly 248,000 child marriages occurred in the U.S. between 2000 and 2010, according to the Washington Post.

States by child marriages, 2000-2010

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States by child marriages, 2000-2010
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States by child marriages, 2000-2010

New Hampshire

Minors who married: 156

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Delaware

Minors who married: 200

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Vermont

Minors who married: 207

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South Dakota

Minors who married: 231

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Montana

Minors who married: 405

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Hawaii

Minors who married: 622

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South Dakota

Minors who married: 647

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Alaska

Minors who married: 654

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Nebraska

Minors who married: 956

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Connecticut

Minors who married: 982

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Wyoming

Minors who married: 1,030

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Massachusetts

Minors who married: 1,050

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Iowa

Minors who married: 1,081

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New Jersey

Minors who married: 1,831

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Wisconsin

Minors who married: 2,488

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Kansas

Minors who married: 2,503

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Maryland

Minors who married: 2,677

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West Virginia

Minors who married: 2,759

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Oregon

Minors who married: 2,780

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Washington

Minors who married: 3,336

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New York

Minors who married: 3,850

(Photo by Michael Schmeling via Getty Images )

Idaho

Minors who married: 4,083

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Colorado

Minors who married: 4,154

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Ohio

Minors who married: 4,177

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Mississippi

Minors who married: 4,240

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Michigan

Minors who married: 4,245

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Utah

Minors who married: 4,386

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South Carolina

Minors who married: 4,501

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Louisiana

Minors who married: 4,532

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Missouri

Minors who married: 6,262

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Illinois

Minors who married: 6,328

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Virginia

Minors who married: 6,775

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Arkansas

Minors who married: 7,019

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Tennessee

Minors who married: 7,670

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Alabama

Minors who married: 7,688

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Kentucky

Minors who married: 11,657

(Photo via Getty Images)

Florida

Minors who married: 14,278

(Photo via Getty Images)

Texas

Minors who married: 34,793

(Photo via Getty Images)

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According to the Tahirih Justice Center's Forced Marriage Initiative, 27 states do not have a minimum age by statute.

Most states require participants to be at least 18-years-old, however, there are exceptions in every state allowing children under the age of 18 to marry.

Data gathered by Unchained at Last found that Texas lead all other states in sheer number of child marriages between 2000 and 2010 with 34,793. The states with the highest child marriage rates per-capita were Idaho, Arkansas and Kentucky.

SEE ALSO: 11-year-old Florida girl forced to marry rapist after he got her pregnant

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie rejected a bill last month that was passed by the N.J. Senate, barring all teens from marrying until the age of 18, without exceptions. Christie argued that "the severe bar this bill creates is not necessary to address the concerns voiced by the bill's proponents."

Christie suggested lawmakers rework the bill, barring anyone under the age of 16 from marrying and requiring a judge's approval for 16 and 17-year-olds.

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