Adoption USA. A Chartbook Based on the 2007 National Survey of Adoptive Parents. Other demographic and socio-economic characteristics

11/01/2009

In this section we examine additional demographic and socio-economic characteristics. The indicators here include children’s current ages, whether children’s parents have a spouse or partner, parents’ current ages, the age gap between parent (or spouse/partner of parent, whichever is smaller) and child, the education of the parent with the highest level of educational attainment, household income-to-poverty ratio, and parental employment. See Appendix Table 4 on page 60 for detailed data on each indicator.

Adopted children tend to be older than children in the general population. Among adopted children, 6 percent are under age 3 compared with 16 percent of children in the general population; see Figure 8. Among other reasons, this age difference is due to the fact that some children are adopted at older ages, rather than as infants. Additionally, the estimates presented here are representative of children with finalized adoptions, and adoptions typically take a minimum of six months to finalize. Larger percentages of internationally adopted children are under age 5 (24 percent) than are other adopted children (9 percent for children adopted from foster care; 13 percent for those adopted privately from the United States).i

Adopted children are less likely than children in the general population to live in families with incomes below the poverty threshold, and they are more likely to have a parent who has completed education beyond high school. However, these characteristics vary substantially by adoption type. Specifically, internationally adopted children are more likely than children adopted from foster care or from other domestic sources to have a parent with education beyond high school (95 percent compared with 70 and 79 percent, respectively), and to have incomes exceeding four times the federal poverty threshold (58 percent compared with 25 and 33 percent, respectively).19 Internationally adopted children are also more likely than other adopted children to live in households in which both or the single parent works full time (43 percent compared with 31 percent of children adopted from foster care or from other domestic sources); see Figure 9. Children adopted privately from the United States are the most likely to have retired parents (15 percent), followed by children adopted from foster care (6 percent).

Figure 8. Percentage distribution of all children and adopted children by child age

Figure 8. Percentage distribution of all children and adopted children by child age

Figure 9. Percentage of adopted children by socio-economic and demographic characteristics, by adoption type

Figure 9. Percentage of adopted children by socio-economic and demographic characteristics, by adoption type

Note: Values corresponding to unreliable percentage estimates have been suppressed in this figure.

MEASURES OF OTHER DEMOGRAPHIC AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS

Child’s current age: Parents reported children’s ages, and had the option to do so in months as well as years (primarily for infants under one year old).

Parent’s current age: Parents reported the year in which they were born. To generate an estimate of their age we subtracted the year of birth from 2007, the year during which most of the NSAP interviews took place.

Age gap between parent (or spouse/partner of parent) and child: We calculated the difference in ages between the adopted child and each parent (for children who had two parents) and  identified whichever difference was smaller.

Education of parent with highest level of educational attainment: We compared the educational attainment of the child’s parent and the parent’s spouse/partner (if there was one) and reported whichever was higher. Categories include less than high school diploma, 12 years (or high school diploma or general equivalency degree), or more than 12 years.

Household income-to-poverty ratio: Parents reported their total combined family income during the prior calendar year for all members of the family, before taxes. The amount was then compared with the federal poverty threshold, as established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty).

Parental employment: Parents answered the question, “Last week were you working full time, working part time, temporarily not working, unemployed, retired, going to school, keeping house, or something else?” They also answered this question regarding their spouse or partner, if they had one. The category “parents work fulltime” includes single parents who work full-time and households with two parents, both of whom work fulltime. The category “retired parents” includes single parents who are retired and households with two parents, both of whom are retired.

Note: Appendix Table 4 also includes the age of the spouse/partner of parent for parents who are not single.

 

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