• November 2014
  • Vol. 15, No. 10

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Characteristics of Adopted Children, Stepchildren

A report released by the U.S. Census Bureau describes the characteristics of adopted children and stepchildren and compares them to characteristics of biological children. According to the report, about 7 percent of the 64.8 million children in the United States in 2010 lived with adoptive parents or stepparents.

The first section of the report provides estimates of the number of adopted children and stepchildren of the householder (defined as the person, or one of the people, in whose name the home is owned, being bought, or rented) and explains the various data sources used to obtain the information in the report. The geographic distribution of the children is illustrated through a U.S. map. The second section of the report provides a profile of the groups and discusses differences in characteristics among stepchildren, adopted children, and biological children, such as demographic patterns and disability and poverty status. In addition, this section contains tables that show the householder characteristics, such as income, education, and job status.

The report also explores the characteristics of transracially adopted children and internationally adopted children, as well as the characteristics of the adoptive parents. The summary notes some of the more outstanding differences among the groups; for instance, adopted children had the highest prevalence of disability and also lived in households that had higher incomes, a lower percentage in poverty, higher parent education, and a higher percentage who owned their homes than stepchildren or biological children. The authors suggest that many of these differences reflect the manner in which the children became family members.

Adopted Children and Stepchildren: 2010: Population Characteristics, U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, U.S. Census Bureau, is available here: 

http://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2014/demo/p20-572.pdf (1.7MB)

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