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November 2008Vol. 9, No. 9Who Are Adoptive Parents?

Men ages 18 to 44 years are more than twice as likely as women of the same age group to have adopted a child, according to a recent report released by the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As of 2002, more than 1.2 million men and 613,000 women had adopted children.

The report, Adoption Experiences of Women and Men and Demand for Children to Adopt by Women 18-44 Years of Age in the United States, presents data from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth. The report offers a demographic profile of those who adopt, including the percentage of men and women who have ever adopted a child and the number of children they adopted. Although the report does not offer conclusive data as to why more men adopt than women, it may be due, in part, to men marrying women who already have children, whom the men then adopt.

Other findings in the report include:

  • Among ever-married persons, men were more than 2.5 times as likely as women to have adopted—3.8 percent compared with 1.4 percent. Overall, 2.3 percent of all men had ever adopted a child.
  • More than one in four women ages 40 to 44 who had ever used infertility services had adopted a child.
  • Although never-married adults ages 18 to 44 years were significantly less likely to have adopted a child compared with those who were currently married, approximately 100,000 never-married women and 73,000 never-married men had adopted a child.
  • Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black women were more likely to be currently seeking to adopt a child, compared with non-Hispanic White women.

The report is available on the CDC website: (1,629 - KB)