Children Adopted from Abroad and Their Families in the United States: A Demographic Analysis of the Effect of Changing Policies in the Past 20 Years

Fernando Lozano, Pomona College
Sherrie Kossoudji, University of Michigan

What are the demographics of children who are adopted from abroad, and what incentives drive families to adopt them? According to the U.S. Census, more than 1.5 million children living in the U.S. are adopted, with 15% of them born abroad and more than 20,000 new adopted orphans from abroad enter the country each year. The families of these adopted orphans are mostly white, wealthy and well educated (see Kossoudji, 2008), yet we know very little about them. In this paper we use a cohort analysis of the 2000 Census determine to what extent international adoptions have changed during the last 20 years. How does policy by other countries change U.S. parents’ adoption behavior? How does policy in other countries and in the U.S. change the demographic characteristics of the children adopted from abroad and the families who adopt them?

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Presented in Session 72: Orphans, Adoption and Fostering