Ruth Lamdan writes: “The numerous references to child marriage in the 16th- century Responsa literature and other sources, shows that child marriage was so common, it was virtually the norm.In this context, it is important to remember that in halakha, the term ‘minor’ refers to a girl under twelve years and a day.In some countries, the younger the bride, the higher the price she may fetch.
Bride's families would seek out any available bachelors and marry them to their daughters, before events beyond their control moved the boy away.
Persecution and displacement of Roma and Jewish people in Europe, colonial campaigns to get slaves from various ethnic groups in West Africa across the Atlantic for plantations, Islamic campaigns to get Hindu slaves from India across Afghanistan's Hindu Kush as property and for work, were some of the historical events that increased the practice of child marriage before the 19th century.
Such fears and social pressures have been proposed as causes that lead to child marriages.
Extreme poverty may make daughters an economic burden on the family, which may be relieved by their early marriage, to the benefit of the family as well as the girl herself.
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.