6 Statistics about China International Adoption

There’s an old saying that the numbers don’t lie. The truth that the numbers tell about the state of international adoption of Chinese children is fascinating. Here are six statistics that will tell you exactly what’s going on with China international adoption.

A total of 78,257 children were adopted by Americans from 1999-2016.

Overall, China has adopted out over 267,000 children in that same time frame – over a quarter of a million children. That means that almost 1/3 of the children who came home from China came home to America. 

Girls were adopted by an overwhelming majority over boys.

Mostly because of the one-child policy that led to many families abandoning baby girls in favor of trying for the coveted son, girls have been available for adoption since the beginning of international adoption. The number of healthy baby girls was what led many families to China in the early years of the program. Recently, again because of changes in governmental policy, the number of healthy girls has all but disappeared, and the vast majority of adoptions out of China are of children with special needs–both boys and girls. However, the number of girls who have been adopted still out largely outnumbers boys, 86% to 14%.

Most children adopted from China have been between the ages of 1-2 years old.

Similar to the reasons behind why girls have been adopted more than boys, the age of children adopted from China also relates back to the one-child policy. Most healthy girls were abandoned as newborns or infants, and so were adopted between the ages of one and two. There have been 38,892. The smallest group of children adopted (736) have been over the age of 13.

Adoption from China peaked in the year 2005 with an adoption of 7,905 children from China to America.

The number of adoptions from China slowly increased until 2005 and has slowly decreased ever since. The latest year for which there is a statistic is 2016, and 2,231 children came home to America that year, over 5,500 less children than just eleven years prior.

China is the number one country for international adoption.

From 2009-2016, China was the first choice of Americans looking to adopt internationally with 2,231 children coming home. Behind China in descending order in the year 2016 were DR Congo (359), Ukraine (303), South Korea (260), and Bulgaria (201).

It cost less to adopt from China than anywhere else internationally.

As of 2013, the latest year for which there is such a statistic, it costs the least to adopt a child from China when compared to Ethiopia, South Korea, and Ukraine. As with all costs, they vary greatly from agency to agency and depend on factors such as when you travel, how many children you’re adopting at one time, etc.