Who Wants to Adopt and Who Wants to Be Adopted: A Sample of American Families and Sub-Saharan African Orphans
37 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2012 Last revised: 17 Mar 2015
Date Written: June 15, 2012
To better understand the debate over international adoption, we utilize two previously unused datasets to better understand both who adopts internationally in the United States and the status of orphaned children in middle and low income countries. According to the National Survey on Family Growth conducted by the United States Center for Disease Control, international adopters according to the NSFG survey data are generally speaking church going, highly educated, stable families aware of the challenges faced by international adoption, with high incidences of infertility. According to the USAID/UNICEF Demographic and Health Surveys, orphans in sub-Saharan Africa suffer from significantly higher material deprivation, reduced schooling, and increased levels of stunting and underweight reported. Using DHS data, we estimate conservatively that that 150,000 orphans from our sample of sub-Saharan African countries died from the five year birth cohort. Due to systemic underestimation and extrapolating to non-sampled countries, the number of orphan deaths in sub-Saharan Africa could quite plausibly be 350,000 annually. Given the large number of stable families and the high number of orphan deaths, it seems counterproductive to restrict international adoptions given the significant benefit to both children and families that could be realized.
Keywords: orphan, adoption, Africa, family planning, demographics
JEL Classification: J13, N37, D1, J1
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation