Free to be young | The Changing Childhood Project | UNICEF x Gallup

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Free to be young

In most countries, you must be 18 before you can vote. But in many, you can be legally married at a younger age — especially if you're a woman. Is that too much responsibility without enough freedom?

What age do you think people should be allowed to vote for the first time?

Answer the question above to learn more about the changing nature of childhood.

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We asked the same question of people around the world.

% of 15–24 year-olds proposing a voting age below their country's current minimum100%
Bangladesh2%Germany65%
0%

In certain countries, a significant number of young people propose a voting age below their country's existing minimum.

A desire for a lower minimum voting age is especially common in high-income countries.

It is also the case in Cameroon and Lebanon where the prevailing legal voting age is very high - 20 in Cameroon and 21 in Lebanon.

Many older people also expressed support for a lower minimum voting age.

More 15-24 year-olds propose a minimum marriage age for women higher than the current legal ageMore 40+ year-olds propose a minimum marriage age for women higher than the current legal age

Young and older generations agree not only that children deserve to have their voices heard. They also agree that children deserve time to enjoy independence before marriage.

Most people in developing countries would prefer a minimum age for marriage above that specified by existing laws — and in many countries, older people are especially supportive.

The largest majorities proposing a higher legal marriage age for women are found in Indonesia and Cameroon — two countries where the legal marriage age for women is especially low.

How can we enable children to have a greater say in their lives?

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