International Migration, Family Formation, or Both: How Should We Measure International Adoption?

Catherine T. Kenney, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Jennifer M. Ortman, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

This paper introduces alternative methods for measuring the incidence of international adoption and uses those methods to examine patterns of change in such adoptions to parents in the United States over the past 30 years. Although international adoption intersects with many issues of interest to demographers, including international migration, family formation (in receiving countries) and family limitation (in sending countries), as well as the construction of interracial or interethnic families, the subject has received little attention in the demographic literature. Using data on international and domestic adoptees, immigrant children, and U.S. fertility compiled from a variety of sources (including the INS, the NCHS, and state-level agencies, as well as survey data from the NSFG), we consider what the use of different denominators—including all live births, all adoptions or all non-relative adoptions, all child immigrants or child immigrants by age—can tell us about international adoption in the United States.

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Presented in Poster Session 4: Migration, Income, Employment, Neighborhoods and Residential Context