How Many People Choose Adoption

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Adoption Statistics

Where the Numbers Come From

The federal government tracks the numbers of adoptions from the U.S. foster care system, and international adoptions; however, since 1992, numbers of private agency and independent adoptions have not been formally reported. The 2000 Census, for the first time in history, included questions about adopted children in the household.

How Many Children Are Adopted Each Year?

It is estimated that around 120,000 children are adopted by U.S. citizens each year. Approximately half of these children are adopted by individuals not related to them (called "stranger adoptions") and about half are adopted by relatives such as grandparents or stepparents. Anecdotal evidence indicates that stepparents are the largest single group of adopters.

  • In fiscal year 2003, approximately 21,616 children were adopted through international adoption (source: U.S. Department of State).
  • In fiscal year 2002, approximately 51,000 children were adopted from the U.S. foster care system (source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services).
  • There are no statistics on adult adoptions.
How Many People Have a Family Connection to Adoption?

Estimates put the number of adopted persons in the U.S. somewhere between 6 and 10 million. A 1997 survey by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute found that 6 in 10 Americans have had personal experience with adoption: they themselves, a family member, or a close friend was adopted, had adopted a child, or had placed a child for adoption.

For more information:
  1. Getting Started with Adoption
  2. How Many People Choose Adoption?
  3. Is Adoption Right for You?
  4. Adoption Self-Assessment Quiz
  5. Which Children Are Available for Adoption?
  6. Sibling Groups
  7. Who Can Adopt?
  8. Qualification Requirements for Adopting Parents
  9. Your Adoption Options
  10. Agency Adoption
  11. Private (or Independent) Adoption
  12. Options in Independent Adoption
  13. Adoption Facilitators
  14. International Adoption
  15. Foster Adoption
  16. Stepparent Adoption
  17. Transracial Adoption
  18. Special Needs Adoption
  19. Military Adoption
  20. Making an Adoption Plan
  21. Selecting an Adoption Professional
  22. Getting an Adoption Homestudy
  23. Adoption Costs
  24. Why Do Costs Seem So High?
  25. Help Handling the Costs of Adoption
  26. The Adoption Tax Credit
  27. Adoption Subsidies
  28. Employer Adoption Benefits
  29. Networking & Networking Tools
  30. Legal Issues in Adoption
  31. Evaluating Adoption Risks
  32. Open Adoption
  33. Breastfeeding the Adopted Child
  34. Coping With the Wait
  35. Glossary of Terms
  36. Recommended Reading
  37. Conclusion
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