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Home > Practice Areas > Adoption > Facts and Figures


Adoption Fact Sheet

General Adoption Statistics

  • 127,441 children were adopted in the United States in 1992 (The Flow of Adoption Information from the States, National Center for State Courts). This total includes relative adoptions, intercountry adoptions, agency adoptions and independent adoptions.

  • Of this total:

    42% were stepparent or other relative adoptions,
    5% were intercountry adoptions, and
    16% were adoptions of children from foster care completed through public agencies, and
    37% were either private agency or independent adoptions of children from the U.S. (National Adoption Information Clearinghouse, 1996)

  • Approximately 2% of all U.S. children are adopted (National Center for State Courts).

  • A 1995 National Survey of Family Growth found that of women between the ages of 18-44, 500,000 had considered adoption, but only 100,000 had actually applied to adopt a child. The great majority of these individuals are seeking infants, either from this country or abroad. (National Center for Health Statistics, HHS).

Adoption of Children from Foster Care

  • Of the 542,000 children in foster care as of March 2003, approximately 126,000 children were waiting to be adopted.

  • Of this total, 52% are male, 48% are female

  • 28% are white, 56% are black, 9% are Hispanic, 1% are American Indian, and 5% are of unknown background.

  • In 1998, 36,000 children were adopted, and increase from 31,000 in 1997, and 26,000 in 1996.

  • Of the children who were adopted in 1998, 40% are white, 44% are black, 13% are Hispanic, 1% are American Indian, and 1% are of Asian background.

  • The average age of the children adopted was 7 years.
    On average, they waited 18 months following termination of parental rights to be adopted.

  • Their age at the time of adoption was:

    Less than 1 year    2%
    1-5 years               44%
    6-10 years             37%
    11-15 years          15%
    16-18 years            2%

  • 81% of the children adopted from foster care received adoption subsidy;
    19% did not.

  • The relationship of the adoptive parents to the child prior to the adoption was:

    Non-relatives                         21%
    Foster parents [unrelated]  64%
    Relatives                                15%
About Single Mother Adoption

[AFCARS data, March 1999]

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