J&K also had the highest mean age of marriage of 26 years followed by Punjab and Delhi, where it was 24.4 years. It was the lowest at 21 in West Bengal and Jharkhand and 22 in Odisha. The average for India was 22.7.
One-third of rural women married between 18-20 yrs
There were no marriages below 18 years in Kerala in 2020 though the proportion of those marrying at 21 or older in the state was just 72.6%, the same as Bihar, and just marginally higher than Uttar Pradesh (72%). This was because about a quarter of the women in these states were married by 20 years.
About a third of rural women in India married between 18 and 20 years of age compared to about 18.6% in urban areas. The incidence of below-18 marriages was highest in Jharkhand (5.8%) and West Bengal (4.7%). Other states with more than 3% of women married before the age of 18 were Odisha, Bihar and UP. The average age of women who got married before 18 years was lowest in Telangana (15 years) and Rajasthan (15.4 years).
States where the proportion of women getting married at 21 years or older was above 80% included Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Maharashtra, Delhi, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. The only states from the south in this club were Tamil Nadu (82%) and Telangana (80.5%).
In all states, the proportion of women who got married at 21 years or more was higher in the urban population and in many there were no marriages of women below 18 in urban areas. West Bengal had the highest proportion of urban women (4.4%) marrying below 18 years followed by UP, where it was 3.6%.
There were only minor differences in the average age of marriage between women in urban and rural areas in most states. But in Assam there was a difference of three years and in Rajasthan of 2.5 years between the average age of marriage in rural and urban areas.