The difficulty to save and preserve wealth for dowry was common, particularly in times of economic hardship, or persecution, or unpredictable seizure of property and savings.
These difficulties pressed families to betroth their girls, irrespective of her age, as soon as they had the resources to pay the dowry.
Writing in 1830s, Edward William Lane observed that few Egyptian girls remained single by the age of 16, but socio-economic transformation, educational reforms and influence of Western norms brought significant changes, and by 1920 fewer than 10% of Egyptian women married before the age of 20.
In 1923, Egypt's parliament set the minimum age of marriage at 16 for women and 18 for men.
In many cases, only one marriage-partner is a child, usually the female.
Causes of child marriages include poverty, bride price, dowry, cultural traditions, laws that allow child marriages, religious and social pressures, regional customs, fear of remaining unmarried, illiteracy, and perceived inability of women to work for money.
In this context, it is important to remember that in halakha, the term "minor" refers to a girl under twelve years and a day.
A girl aged twelve and a half was already considered an adult in all respects." In contrast to other pre-modern societies, Northwest Europe was characterized by relatively late marriages, with women tending to marry in their mid-20s.
The incidence of child marriage has been falling in most parts of the world.
The most current data from UNICEF (2018) shows that about 21 percent of young women worldwide (aged 20 to 24) were married as children; this is a 25 percent decrease from 10 years ago.