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Dec/Jan 2005Vol. 5, No. 10Latest U.S. Adoption Statistics Show Increase in Public Agency Adoptions, While Total Numbers Remain

While the total number of adoptions in the United States has stayed relatively constant from year to year (ranging between 118,000 and 127,000 since 1987), the percentages of different types of adoptions have changed dramatically since 1992, according to a report released recently by the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse (NAIC), a service of the Children's Bureau. Figures from 2000 and 2001 indicate that private, independent, kinship, and tribal adoptions make up a much smaller percentage of total adoptions than in 1992. The percentage of public agency and intercountry adoptions, on the other hand, has increased.

The report, How Many Children Were Adopted in 2000 and 2001?, attempts to estimate the number of children adopted in each of the States during those 2 years and uses those numbers to estimate the composition and trends of all adoptions in the United States.

Key findings include:

  • In 2000 and 2001, approximately 127,000 children were adopted annually in the United States.
  • Public agency adoptions accounted for approximately two-fifths of all adoptions in 2000 and 2001, up from 18 percent (for the 36 States reporting) in 1992.
  • Intercountry adoptions increased from 5 to 15 percent of total adoptions in the United States between 1992 and 2001.
  • Private, independent, kinship, and tribal adoptions were estimated to account for 46 percent of all adoptions in 2001, compared to 77 percent in 1992.

No single agency is charged with collecting data on all adoptions. This report is based on data collected by the National Center for State Courts' Court Statistics Project, which collects data by calendar year and State fiscal years for the total number of adoptions processed through courts. The report cautions, however, that these figures are incomplete because (1) some parents who adopt in a foreign country choose not to file in a U.S. court and (2) adoptions sometimes cannot be separated from other civil petitions when courts report.

A factsheet listing highlights from the report can be found on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website at The full report is available at