Adopted children are more likely to be raised by highly educated, more affluent parents than are biological children, the U.S. Census Bureau reported on Wednesday.
The organization said in a new report that almost half of adopted children under 18 lived in households with incomes of $75,000 or more, compared with 41 percent of stepchildren and 40 percent of biological children. And 15 percent lived in even more affluent households, with an income of $150,000 or more.
“Some adoptions do cost a fair amount of money,” said Rose Kreider, a Census Bureau family demographer and co-author of the study. “Adoptive parents are a bit older.”
Adopted children are raised in more educated households: 17 percent lived with someone with at least a graduate degree, compared with 12 percent of biological children. More than three-fourths of adoptive families are white, the study found.
The United States also adopts more children from abroad than any other country, and international adoptions are expensive because they often require long trips overseas. In 2010, about 2 percent of the 64.8 million children under 18, or about 1.5 million, were adopted, and 13 percent of those were adopted from other countries. About half of international adoptions are of kids born in Asia, 20 percent from Latin America and 25 percent from Europe.
All international adoptions to the U.S. have declined, however, because of restrictions. In 2008, the Hague Convention and Intercountry Adoption Act was implemented, requiring adoption agencies to be accredited. China began restricting the eligibility criteria for international adoptions to encourage adoption within China. The U.S. also halted adoptions from Guatemala.
The survey found that adopted children are evenly distributed throughout the U.S., except for Alaska, which has a slightly higher rate. Kreider said that could be attributed to more informal adoptions among Alaskan Native groups.
More girls than boys are adopted, partly because women — especially those who are single — generally express a preference for adopting girls. While white non-Hispanic children make up the majority of stepchildren and biological children, they make up less than half of adopted kids.
A higher percentage of adopted kids under 18 were black, a reflection of the higher percentage of black kids in the foster care system. “It may also reflect a higher number of informal adoptions in African-American communities,” the report stated.
But the share of adopted kids who are Asian is double the share of biological children who are Asian — 10 percent compared with 5 percent — because of the high rate of adoption from Asian countries.
International adoptions have contributed to an increase in interracial families, and it’s estimated that about 40 percent of all adoptions by American parents were of children of a different race. Those kids tend to be younger than other adopted children and are more likely to be born in other countries.
The report also revealed the links many Americans have to adopted children. “Most Americans are connected to adoption somehow, somewhere in their extended families,” Kreider said.