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Marriage Age by State 2021

In the United States, the marriage age is set by each state and territory, either by the common law or by individual statutes. Minimum marriage ages are set to prevent child marriages. An individual in the U.S. can marry without parental consent at the age of 18 in all states except for Nebraska, where the age is 19.

In the past 15 years, about 200,000 minors have married. Underage marriage in the United States is not permitted unless there are exceptional circumstances including consent of a court clerk or judge, consent of the parents or legal guardians of the minor, if one of the parties is pregnant or has given birth to a child, or if the minor is emancipated. New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware do not allow underage marriage in exceptional circumstances.

Most states have a minimum marriage age for minors with parental consent, ranging from 12-17 years old. However, California and Mississippi do not have minimum ages for minors to be allowed to marry with parental consent. Massachusetts has the lowest minimum marriage age with parental consent of 14 years old for boys and 12 years old for girls.

Some states have different minimum ages for males and females, with or without parental consent. For example, in Mississippi, the age of consent to marry with parental consent is 17 for males and 15 for females.

Here are some additional notes by state:

  • Arkansas: Age of consent to marry with parental consent for males is 17; for females is 16.
  • Delaware: Age of consent to marry with parental consent for males is 18; for females is 16.
  • Massachusetts: Age of consent to marry with parental consent for males is 14; for females is 12.
  • Mississippi: Age of consent to marry with parental consent for males is 17, for females is 15.
  • New Hampshire: Age of consent to marry with parental consent for males is 14; for females is 13.
  • Ohio: Age of consent to marry with parental consent for males is 18; for females is 16.
  • Rhode Island: Age of consent to marry with parental consent for males is 18; for females is 16.
  • Puerto Rico: Age of consent to marry with parental consent for males is 18; for females is 16.

Marriage Age by State 2021