Children & Families

September 17, 2003 1 min read

Adoptees’ Households

Adoptive parents tend to be older and financially better-off than other parents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s first-ever profile of the nation’s 2.1 million adopted children.

“Adopted Children and Stepchildren: 2000,” is available from the U.S. Census Bureau. (Requires Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.)

The 2000 Census form was the first to include “adopted son/daughter” as an option under the question about family members’ relationship to the head of the household.

Compiled in the report “Adopted Children and Stepchildren: 2000,” the data show that adopted children in the United States lived in families with a median income of $56,000, compared with $48,000 for children who lived with their biological parents.

The parents living with their biological children under age 18 were, on average, 38 years old. For the adopted children, the parents’ average age was 43.

A large majority of the 1.7 million households in the Census with adopted children—82 percent—had only one adopted child. Fifteen percent had two adopted children, and 3 percent had three or more.

Thirteen percent of adopted children—258,000—were born in foreign countries; about half those children were from Asia. One-third of the foreign-born children were from Latin America, and about 16 percent were born in Europe.

The data also show that 70 percent of adopted children under age 18 were living with white parents. About 20 percent of adopted children were of a different race from that of their adoptive parents.

Ideas for Educators

The Institute for Adoption Information has released a booklet designed to help teachers and administrators make school a more welcoming place for adopted children.

Teachers can find suggestions, for instance, on how to handle assignments such as bringing in baby pictures, drawing family trees, and discussing cultural heritage.

In addition, the book includes research on adopted children’s success in school and in life, and provides a list of resources teachers can use in the classroom.

To order the $7.75 guidebook, call (802) 442-7135 or order online at

The Bennington, Vt.-based institute is a nonprofit organization of adoptive parents, birth parents, and adoptees.

Linda Jacobson