Adoption USA. A Chartbook Based on the 2007 National Survey of Adoptive Parents. Neighborhood characteristics


To provide information about the neighbor hoods in which adopted children live, this section  reports on whether or not adopted children live  in or near urban areas, as well as on whether the children’s neighborhoods are safe, have characteristics indicating poor physical condition, and have amenities. See Appendix Table 6 on page 63 for detailed data on each indicator.14%

Overall, 76 percent of adopted children live in or near urban areas, 79 percent live in safe neighbor hoods, and 75 percent live in neighborhoods with no characteristics of poor physical condition. Poor  physical neighborhood conditions include litter or garbage, poorly kept or dilapidated housing, and vandalism. Very few (4 percent) live in neighborhoods with no amenities. Neighborhood amenities include sidewalks or walking paths; parks or playground areas; recreation centers, community centers, or boys’ or girls’ clubs; and libraries or bookmobiles. Adopted children are slightly more likely than children in the general population to live in safe neighborhoods and in neighborhoods that show no poor physical  conditions.i Adopted children and children in the general population are equally likely to live in or near urban areas; see Figure 14.

Internationally adopted children are slightly less likely than other adopted children to live in neighborhoods with no amenities, although living in such neighborhoods is very rare among  all adopted children (4 percent). The likelihood of living in a safe neighborhood or a neighbor hood with no characteristics of poor physical condition does not vary by adoption type, nor does the percentage living in or near urban areas.

Figure 14. Percentage of children living in neighborhoods with various characteristics, by adoptive status

Figure 14. Percentage of children living in neighborhoods with various characteristics, by adoptive status


Urban areas: To determine whether children live in or near an urban area, we identified whether the child’s county was part of a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). MSAs include counties containing an urban area with a population of at least 50,000, as well as adjacent counties that are socially and economically integrated with the urban core. 22 MSA status in the NSCH was suppressed for children living in states with either fewer than 500,000 persons living in MSAs or fewer than 500,000 persons not living in MSAs. Among these children, we assumed that children living in primarily urban states were living in MSAs and that children living in other states were not living in MSAs.

Safe neighborhoods: To assess whether children live in safe neighborhoods, the survey asked parents five questions about their perceptions of their neighborhood. Specifically, parents reported their level of agreement with four statements: 1) “People in this neighborhood help each other out.” 2) “We watch out for each other’s children in this neighborhood.” 3) “There are people I can count on in this neighborhood.” 4) “If my child were outside playing and got hurt or scared, there are adults nearby who I trust to help my child.” Additionally, they reported how frequently they feel their child is “safe in [their] community or neighborhood.” Negative responses to any of the questions (i.e., response of “somewhat” or “definitely disagree” to any of the first four questions, or responses of “never” or “sometimes” to the fifth question) were categorized as not living in safe neighborhoods.

Neighborhoods in poor physical condition: Children were categorized as living in neighborhoods with poor physical conditions if their parents reported that their neighborhood had “litter or garbage on the street or sidewalk”, was “poorly kept or had rundown housing,” or had “vandalism such as broken windows or graffiti.”

Neighborhoods with no amenities: To identify whether children’s neighborhoods had any amenities, parents were asked if “the following places and things are available to children in your neighborhood, even if [their child] does not actually use them:” 1) “sidewalks or walking paths,” 2) “a park or playground area,” 3) “A recreation center, community center, or boys’ or girls’ club,” or 4) “a library or bookmobile.”


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