Adoption Statistics in the United States


Adoption is one of those areas that people often just don’t talk about. Many couples only turn to adoption when they find out they’re struggling with fertility, and others never give it a second thought. Yet, adoption is an integral part of our culture, and one of the ways we care for those less fortunate than ourselves.

Let’s take a look at some of the adoption statistics from the federal government. These statistics are from 2007 and 2008, the most recent years for which reliable data is available at the national level, since it takes time for court data and other sources to be made available.

Here’s what you should know about adoption stats in the US:

  • Around 136,000 children are adopted every year. This is a trend that’s increased over the past couple of decades. It’s a 6% increase over the adoption numbers in 2000, and a whopping 15% increase over 1990.
  • The adoption rate has actually dropped. While the raw number of actual adoptions has risen, the proportion of Americans adopting has declined. In 2000, approximately 61.5 Americans adopted a child for every 100,000 adults in the country. In 2008, that rate had dropped by about 5% to 58.3 in 100,000.
  • There are three types of adoptions in the United States. There are public agency adoptions which occur when wards of the state are adopted. There are intercountry adoptions that occur when someone adopts a child from another country. Then the third group is a mix of “other” adoptions, such as step-parent adoptions and private adoption agreements.
  • 40% of adoptions occur through public agencies. This is the largest single group of adoptions in the United States.
  • Intercountry adoptions make up about 14% of adoptions. This has remained fairly consistent over the past two decades.
  • The remaining adoptions were from other sources. Those other sources include adoptions from Native American tribes, private agencies, step parent adoptions, and even surrogacy agreements. It’s much more difficult to track the “other” adoptions category, largely because data isn’t always available citing the exact arrangement or reason for the adoptions.

So, what do you think? Is adoption more or less common than you realized? Have you ever considered adoption, and why or why not?

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