Age Of Consent By Country 2019

What is age of consent? Age of consent is the minimum age which a person is considered legally competent to consent to sexual acts. As a result, if someone older engages in sexual acts with a minor under the age of consent, then this activity may be considered statutory rape. This is because the person younger than the age of consent cannot legally say this act was consensual.

Age of consent laws vary considerably around the world, although a majority of countries require young people to be over the age of 14 before having sex. Of the countries with lower age of consent laws, Nigeria has the lowest at just 11. This is followed by Angola and the Philippines at 12, and several other countries, including South Korea and Japan at 13 (although Japan has notoriously consent laws that vary in different parts of the country).

Additionally, a number of countries in Asia and Africa require individuals to be married before they can legally have sex. These include Libya, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, all of which are known to be highly conservative on issues around gender and sexuality. Perhaps surprisingly, the country with the oldest age of consent, at 21, is Portugal in Western Europe (Bahrain's age of consent is also 21). And while most European countries have 16-17 as the age of consent, several other European countries, including Malta and Vatican City, also have higher than average consent laws, requiring young people to be at least 18 before legally having sex. Austria has Europe's lowest age of consent at 14 years old.

In North America, Aruba has the lowest age of consent at 15 years old, while in South America, Paraguay, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia and Ecuador all have 14 as the age of consent. In the United States, the age of consent is 16 years old – this is shared by Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. At 18, Chile, Argentina, and a number of other countries have the highest age of consents in the Americas.

Japan has complex laws around the age of consent that vary significantly across the country. There are three primary laws that define the age of consent: the Penal Code of Japan, the Juvenile Obscene Acts and the Civil Codes. Each of these set out different definitions of when sexual activity is acceptable, with some applying to the whole of Japan and others to specific prefectures (Japan is divided into 47 administrative jurisdictions).

The Penal Code of Japan was established in 1907 and sets the age of consent at 13. Any sexual activity with a person under this age is always considered to be statutory rape and can result in a prison sentence of up to 20 years. However, chapter 34 of the Children Welfare Act also forbids any act of 'fornication' with children (defined as anyone under 18 years of age).

The Juvenile Obscene Acts, which take precedence over the Penal Code, set out laws relating to the age of consent for specific prefectures. In some, sexual activity with anyone below the age of 15 is illegal, but in others the age of consent is as high as 18. In these prefectures, engaging in sexual activity with a person under the age of consent can lead to a prison sentence of up to five years, depending on the prefecture. Although rare, in some prefectures, even hugging or holding hands with someone underage can be illegal.

The Civil Codes again approach the age of consent at the prefecture level (and sometimes municipalities within a prefecture). In Japan, anyone under the age of 20 is not considered to be an adult, so parental consent plays a significant role in legal issues affecting young people under this age (for example, no one under 20 can sign a legal contract without parental consent). In relation to the age of consent, this means that, in some prefectures, it is illegal to date a person under the age of 20 without written consent from their parents. This applies regardless of the age of the partner as Japan does not have a 'close-in-age exemption' in relation to the age of consent (i.e. even if one person is 20 and the other is 19).

Additionally, some prefectures have specific laws beyond those outlined above that apply only to that prefecture. For example, Tokyo has a Youth Protection Law that makes it illegal for an adult to engage in sexual activity with anyone below the age of 17, but this only applies in Tokyo. Although the various laws regarding the age of consent in Japan can be somewhat confusing, on the whole, the regulations mean that, despite the national law putting the age of consent at 13, Japan actually has among the highest age of consent laws in the world, as the de facto age of consent is widely considered to be 18, and in some cases higher.

Flag Name Age of Consent Population 2019
Angola1231,825,295
Comoros13850,886
Japan13126,860,301
South Korea1351,225,308
Bulgaria147,000,119
Myanmar1454,045,420
Cape Verde14549,935
Chad1415,946,876
China141,433,783,686
Colombia1450,339,443
Ecuador1417,373,662
Estonia141,325,648
Germany1483,517,045
Hungary149,684,679
Italy1460,550,075
Austria148,955,102
Liechtenstein1438,019
Madagascar1426,969,307
Malawi1418,628,747
Cambodia1516,486,542
Costa Rica155,047,561
Croatia154,130,304
Czech Republic1510,689,209
Denmark155,771,876
France1565,129,728
Kiribati15117,606
Greece1510,473,455
Guinea1512,771,246
Honduras159,746,117
Iceland15339,031
North Korea1525,666,161
Laos157,169,455
Belarus169,452,411
Algeria1643,053,054
Cameroon1625,876,380
Canada1637,411,047
Sri Lanka1621,323,733
Taiwan1623,773,876
American Samoa1655,312
Cook Islands1617,548
Cuba1611,333,483
Andorra1677,142
Dominica1671,808
Fiji16889,953
Finland165,532,156
Georgia163,996,765
Antigua And Barbuda1697,118
Ghana1630,417,856
Grenada16112,003
Azerbaijan1610,047,718
Guam16167,294
Australia1625,203,198
Indonesia16270,625,568
Israel168,519,377
Jamaica162,948,279
Kazakhstan1618,551,427
Jordan1610,101,694
Kyrgyzstan166,415,850
Lesotho162,125,268
Latvia161,906,743
Bahamas16389,482
Lithuania162,759,627
Luxembourg16615,729
Malaysia1631,949,777
Cyprus171,198,575
Ireland174,882,495
Burundi1811,530,580
Central African Republic184,745,185
Chile1818,952,038
Republic Of The Congo185,380,508
Benin1811,801,151
Dominican Republic1810,738,958
El Salvador186,453,553
Equatorial Guinea181,355,986
Ethiopia18112,078,730
Eritrea183,497,117
Djibouti18973,560
Gabon182,172,579
Gambia182,347,706
Argentina1844,780,677
Guatemala1817,581,472
Haiti1811,263,077
Vatican City18799
India181,366,417,754
IranMust be married82,913,906
Iraq1839,309,783
Ivory Coast1825,716,544
AfghanistanMust be married38,041,754
Kenya1852,573,973
KuwaitMust be married4,207,083
Lebanon186,855,713
Liberia184,937,374
LibyaMust be married6,777,452
MaldivesMust be married530,953
Nigeria11200,963,599
Philippines12108,116,615
Niger1323,310,715
Mauritius141,269,668
Montenegro14627,987
Bangladesh14163,046,161
Paraguay147,044,636
Peru1432,510,453
San Marino1433,860
Sao Tome And Principe14215,056
Bolivia1411,513,100
Monaco1538,964
Aruba15106,314
Poland1537,887,768
Romania1519,364,557
Saint Vincent And The Grenadines15110,589
Mauritania164,525,696
Mongolia163,225,167
Moldova164,043,263
Armenia162,957,731
Namibia162,494,530
Barbados16287,025
Nepal1628,608,710
Netherlands1617,097,130
Vanuatu16299,882
New Zealand164,783,063
Belgium1611,539,328
Norway165,378,857
Marshall Islands1658,791
Palau1618,008
Papua New Guinea168,776,109
Russia16145,872,256
Saint Kitts And Nevis1652,823
Saint Lucia16182,790
Mexico17127,575,529
Panama184,246,439
Bhutan18763,092
Bahrain211,641,172
OmanMust be married4,974,986
Nauru1710,756
Nicaragua186,545,502
Northern Mariana Islands1857,216
Niue191,615
PakistanMust be married216,565,318
Rwanda1812,626,950
Portugal2110,226,187
QatarMust be married2,832,067
Saudi ArabiaMust be married34,268,528
Burkina Faso1320,321,378
Serbia148,772,235
Bosnia And Herzegovina143,301,000
Brazil14211,049,527
Albania142,880,917
Macedonia142,083,459
Slovenia152,078,654
Sweden1510,036,379
Syria1517,070,135
Thailand1569,625,582
Uruguay153,461,734
Solomon Islands15669,823
Senegal1616,296,364
Singapore165,804,337
South Africa1658,558,270
Zimbabwe1614,645,468
Botswana162,303,697
Spain1646,736,776
Suriname16581,372
Swaziland161,148,130
Switzerland168,591,365
Tajikistan169,321,018
Togo168,082,366
Tonga16104,494
Trinidad And Tobago161,394,973
Turkmenistan165,942,089
Ukraine1643,993,638
United Kingdom1667,530,172
Belize16390,353
United States16329,064,917
Uzbekistan1632,981,716
Venezuela1628,515,829
Samoa16197,097
Zambia1617,861,030
Brunei16433,285
Mali1819,658,031
Malta18440,372
Seychelles1897,739
Sierra Leone187,813,215
Vietnam1896,462,106
Somalia1815,442,905
South Sudan1811,062,113
SudanMust be married42,813,238
United Arab EmiratesMust be married9,770,529
Tunisia1811,694,719
Turkey1883,429,615
Uganda1844,269,594
Egypt18100,388,073
Tanzania1858,005,463
YemenMust be married29,161,922