Mapped: US States by Legal Marrying Age

United States
by Morgan deBoer Dec 19, 2013

IN THE US, a bride and a groom can typically marry without permission from anyone when they reach the age of 18. In many states, though, younger persons can marry with permission from a parent and/or a judge.

It’s not a typo that the lowest technical marrying age in Massachusetts is 12. In 1854, in a case called Parton v. Hervey, the judge wrote in his summary that,

By the common law, both in England and in this country, the age of consent is fixed at twelve in females, and fourteen in males.

This map illustrates the average age a minor can be married in each state. In some states, brides and grooms younger than the age shown here can apply for a marriage in special circumstances. For example, if the bride has a child or is pregnant, some states approve younger marriages. In that case, parental permission and an OK from a judge are needed.

Mouse over each state for specific information, restrictions, and exceptions, and visit your state’s website for information on how to apply for marriage.

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