Adoption Statistics

Considering adoption? Whether it be to have your child put up for adoption or you want to adopt yourself, there are many things to look at as you decide the best course. To help you, here are some statistics about adoption. These adoption statistics may help you with your choice.

For the first time in United States census-taking history, in 2000 the census added the category of  “adopted son/daughter” to distinguish between stepchildren and biological children. This helped track how many adopted children live within the United States. The 2000 Census included a section on adoption to help distinguish among the types of adoption as well. For example, is the adopted child a biological relative? The following are some adoption statistics released in 2003 concerning the 2000 Census adoption findings: 

  • Out of all the children under age 18 (83,714,107 children total) there are 2,058,915 adopted children and 4, 384,581 stepchildren. 
  • This translates to 2.5 percent of all children being adopted. 
  • Interestingly, the regions of the country were all pretty similar in terms of how many adopted children. Delaware, California, Texas and Louisiana had the smallest number of adoptions (approx. 2.0 percent in each) and Alaska had the most (3.9 percent). 
  • More girls are adopted than boys. The census explains this because more single women adopt girls more than boys and that internationally, girls are easier to adopt than boys. 
  • The race breakdown follows: 58 percent of all adopted children are White, 16 percent of all adopted children are Black, 14 percent of all adopted children are Hispanic and 7.4 percent of all adopted children are Asian.

Lately there has been a news surge about celebrities adopting from foreign counties. It is often faster to adopt from a foreign country than it is to adopt in the United States with an average time being about a year. However, expenses can be greater as most usually have to pay for travel as well as the countries adoption expenses. Whether or not this is an option in your case, the international adoption rates have been rising. In looking at the international adoptions from 2003:  

  • The rate of international adoptions has skyrocketed from 7,000 international adoptions in 1990 to 21,616 in 2003. 
  • There were 21, 616 international adoptions in 2003, a 7.55 percent increase over 2002 with 20,099. 
  • China was the place that most United States families went to adopt with 6,859 adoptions. 
  • Russia came in second with 5,209 adoptions. 
  • The top twenty counties for adoptions were China, Russia, Guatemala, South Korea, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, India, Vietnam, Colombia, Haiti, Philippines, Romania, Bulgaria, Belarus, Ethiopia, Cambodia, Poland, Thailand, Azerbaijan and Mexico. 
  • Mexico had 61 adoptions.

Understanding the trends and adoption statistics behind a major decision such as adoption can help your finalize what you want to do. Placing a child in adoption, or adopting a child are both major decisions. If you going to adopt a child or teenager, research the company you want to use for the adoption service, consider the country of adoption origin and prepare to enlarge your family! 

Adoption Statistics Sources

  •, “Recent Trends in International Adoption” [online].
  • United States Census, October 2003 “Adopted Children and Stepchildren: 2000, Census 2000 Special Reports” [pdf online].