Simple question, right? “How many children are adopted each year in the United States?” Unfortunately, there’s not a simple answer.  Believe it or not, and I’ll admit that I’m clearly in the “not” camp, the US does not have a central source for tracking the number and type of adoptions that occur each year.  The latest guesstimate is based on data from 2008 and has recently been published by Child Welfare Information Gateway

  • In 2008, 135,813 children were adopted in the US in all types of adoption, including foster care adoptions, intercountry adoptions, and private baby adoptions. The 2008 number is a 6-percent increase in total adoptions from 2000, when 127,985 children were adopted.
  • Although the total number of adoptions has risen, the adoption rate per 100,000 adults in the United States has decreased. The adoption rate per 100,000 adults (i.e., persons aged 18 and older who became adoptive parents) in 2000 was 61.5, and the adoption rate was 58.3 in 2008—a 5-percent decrease.
  • Adoption from foster care accounted for 41% (55,303) of all adoptions in 2008. In 2000, they made up 40 percent of all adoptions.
  • International adoptions accounted for 13% (17,416) of all adoptions in 2008. In 2000, 14 percent of all adoptions were of children from foreign countries.
  • Other adoptions (private adoption from adoption agencies or adoption attorneys, tribal, step parent) accounted for the rest—about 46% (63,094) in 2008.  In 2000, they accounted for approximately 47 percent of all adoptions.

For me, the most fascinating part of this report was the break down of number and type of adoption by state. Wow, what differences there were.

Variances in Adoption Type by US State for 2007 and 2008

2007 2008
Private* Public Inter-country Total Private* Public Inter-country Total
Alabama 1,752 349 197 2,298 1,625 442 185 2,252
Alaska 293 254 71 618 328 269 46 643
Arizona 572 1,629 290 2,491 904 1,661 342 2,907
Arkansas 1,513 404 97 2,014 1,526 505 102 2,133
California 4,785 7,622 1,482 13,889 3,059 7,777 1,371 12,207
Colorado 1,052 1,084 529 2,665 1,412 1,005 456 2,873
Connecticut 727 717 309 1,753 471 772 274 1,517
Delaware 79 118 54 251 40 111 53 204
District of Columbia 43 152 55 250 111 113 50 274
Florida 2,789 3,089 967 6,845 3,222 3,870 800 7,892
Georgia 2,085 1,269 559 3,913 2,086 1,340 484 3,910
Hawaii 320 265 88 673 326 273 76 675
Idaho 597 195 94 886 573 236 91 900
Illinois 2,079 1,516 876 4,471 1,841 1,472 880 4,193
Indiana 1,893 1,292 537 3,722 1,909 1,510 477 3,896
Iowa 810 1,060 231 2,101 713 1,041 183 1,937
Kansas 1,052 789 207 2,048 1,202 721 174 2,097
Kentucky 1,840 689 360 2,889 1,910 772 352 3,034
Louisiana 695 428 164 1,287 781 596 133 1,510
Maine 412 332 99 843 452 322 76 850
Maryland 2,009 462 517 2,988 1,994 610 466 3,070
Massachusetts 1,019 794 584 2,397 1,072 712 488 2,272
Michigan 1,743 2,617 742 5,102 1,692 2,731 651 5,074
Minnesota 723 599 776 2,098 577 785 663 2,025
Mississippi 817 295 85 1,197 928 281 55 1,264
Missouri 1,154 1,149 523 2,826 1,237 1,087 410 2,734
Montana 391 246 76 713 556 242 57 855
Nebraska 356 496 91 943 377 520 95 992
Nevada 335 466 55 856 371 470 28 869
New Hampshire 365 141 143 649 414 167 106 687
New Jersey 108 1,564 576 2,248 620 1,265 527 2,412
New Mexico 250 355 80 685 197 427 70 694
New York 4,481 2,488 1,199 8,168 5,012 2,394 1,118 8,524
North Carolina 3,967 1,521 605 6,093 2,919 1,694 585 5,198
North Dakota 123 125 27 275 113 159 27 299
Ohio 2,421 1,779 806 5,006 2,439 1,638 747 4,824
Oklahoma 1,052 1,271 154 2,477 1,149 1,516 122 2,787
Oregon 681 1,016 347 2,044 612 1,050 329 1,991
Pennsylvania 2,190 1,940 843 4,973 2,109 2,090 774 4,973
Puerto Rico 149 180 18 347 154 152 18 324
Rhode Island 161 239 84 484 170 260 62 492
South Carolina 953 431 219 1,603 825 525 196 1,546
South Dakota 155 160 53 368 175 176 56 407
Tennessee 1,695 1,214 396 3,305 1,720 1,046 373 3,139
Texas 5,654 4,022 875 10,551 5,694 4,526 786 11,006
Utah 1,084 454 221 1,759 1,034 536 199 1,769
Vermont 198 199 61 458 207 182 42 431
Virginia 1,398 680 721 2,799 1,323 664 591 2,578
Washington 1,017 1,291 686 2,994 1,188 1,261 609 3,058
West Virginia 459 403 60 922 425 523 62 1,010
Wisconsin 1,001 734 660 2,395 1,022 722 475 2,219
Wyoming 278 73 20 371 278 84 24 386
Total 63,775 52,657 19,569 136,001 63,094 55,303 17,416 135,813

*Other could include private infant adoptions from adoption agencies or adoption attorneys, tribal, and step parent.

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