Adoption Statistics

General Adoption Statistics

  • There are millions of orphans in the world just waiting for a family.
  • There are more than 118,000 children in public foster care awaiting adoption (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2005).
  • There are thousands of families looking to adopt each year.
  • 6 in 10 Americans have had personal experience with adoption. This means that they, themselves, a family member or a close friend has been adopted, has adopted a child or has placed a child for adoption. (Evan B. Donaldson Institute, 1997)
  • It is estimated that about 1 million children in the United States live with adoptive parents. (Stolley, 1993)
  • Birthmothers who have on-going contact with their children’s adoptive families report having less grief, regret, guilt and sadness than do those who do not have contact. (Henney, Ayers-Lopex, McRoy & Crotevant, 2007)
  • Adoptive parents who had contact with their children’s birth relatives were more satisfied with their contact arrangements than were those who had no contact.  (Henney, Ayers-Lopex, McRoy & Crotevant, 2007)
  • As reported in the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute March 2012 Openness in Adoption: The benefits of openness for all parties involved have been well established in research, particularly as they relate to adopted children.  (Berge, et. al., 2006; Grotevant,, 2009)  

Adoption statistics for

adopted children

Adopted children do as well as or better than their non-adopted counterparts, according to a 1994 study by the Search Institute, a Minneapolis-based public policy research organization providing leadership, knowledge and resources to promote healthy children, youth and communities. This study, the largest examination of adopted adolescents yet undertaken, concludes:

  • Teens who were adopted at birth are more likely to live with two parents in a middle-class family than children born into intact families. 
  • Adopted children score higher than their middle-class counterparts on indicators of school performance, social competency, optimism and volunteerism.
  • Adopted adolescents generally are less depressed than children of single parents and less involved in alcohol abuse, vandalism, group fighting, police trouble, weapon use and theft.
  • Adopted adolescents score higher than children of single parents on self-esteem, confidence in their own judgment, self-directedness, positive view of others and feelings of security within their families.
  • On health measures, adopted children and children of intact families share similarly high scores, and both those groups score significantly higher than children raised by single parents.
  • Seven percent of children adopted in infancy repeated a grade, while 12 percent of children living with both biological parents repeated a grade.
  • Compared with the general child population, children placed with adoptive couples are better off economically.

Data indicates that adopted children:

  • Have a strong feeling of security with their family.
  • Enjoy a quality of home environment superior to all the other groups.
  • Have superior access to health care and education opportunties compared to all other groups.
  • Do better in educational attainment and attend college in greater percentages than the general population.
  • They experience lower rates of crime and drug abuse.
  • Have a healthy sense of self-esteem, optimism and social competency.

Additional Information

Since the following information changes annually and in order to ensure you receive the most accurate statistical information from Adoption & Beyond, the following information is available upon request (

  • The number of children eligible for adoption and awaiting an adoptive placement referral via Adoption & Beyond, Inc.
  • Statistics for the past three calendar years regarding:
    • The number of prospective adoptive parents who apply for services each year
    • The number of adoptive placements Adoption & Beyond, Inc. has made
    • The percentage of those placements that have disrupted or dissolved

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