U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration

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Adopted Children

In 2007, there were approximately 1.8 million adopted children living in the United States. Of all adopted children, 38 percent were placed with families through private domestic adoption, meaning the child was voluntarily placed for adoption by his or her biological parents. Another 37 percent of adopted children were placed with their families through foster care adoption, and the remaining 25 percent of adopted children came to their families through international adoption.

The racial/ethnic distribution of adopted children differs from that of the general child population. While non-Hispanic White children represented 56 percent of the overall child population in 2007, they represented only 37 percent of adopted children. Conversely, non- Hispanic Black children composed 14 percent of the overall child population but 23 percent of the adopted child population, and Asian children composed 4 percent of the overall population but 15 percent of the adopted child population. Hispanic children represented 20 percent of the overall child population and 15 percent of the adopted child population (data not shown). The racial/ethnic distribution of adopted children also varies across adoption types, with private adoptions most likely to involve non-Hispanic White children and international adoptions most likely to involve Asian children. The racial/ethnic profile of children placed through foster care adoptions is less disparate: in 2007, 37 percent were non-Hispanic White, 35 percent were non-Hispanic Black, and 16 percent were Hispanic.

The population of adopted children is older than the general child population. In 2007, 16 percent of the general child population was 0–2 years of age, but only 6 percent of adopted children were in that age group. Conversely, 23 percent of the adopted child population was 15–17 years of age, while only 17 percent of the general child population was in that age group. Adopted children were more likely than children in the general population to have at least one parent with more than a high school diploma, to live in a household with income above 400 percent of the Federal poverty threshold, to live in a safe neighborhood, and to have consistent insurance coverage (data not shown).

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