Adoption-related Behaviors Among Women Aged 18–44 in the United States: 2011–2015

Questions for Lead Author Chinagozi Ugwu, Statistician and Author of “Adoption-related Behaviors Among Women Aged 18–44 in the United States: 2011–2015

Q: Why did you decide to focus on adoption-related behaviors in the United States?

CU: Adoption is one way people build their families, and this report provides some basic statistics on adoption in the United States. The National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) is one of few sources of nationally representative data on adoption and adoption seeking among adult women in the U.S.

Q: How did the findings vary by age groups?

CU: This report documented some differences by age groups in adoption-related behaviors. Women in the oldest age category (35-44 years) were more likely to be seeking to adopt than women of younger ages, and were also more likely to have ever adopted.

Approximately 1.5% of women aged 35-44 in 2011-2015 were currently seeking to adopt, followed by 1.4% of women aged 25-34 and 0.6% of women aged 18-24. The percentage of women who had ever adopted a child increased with increasing age (0.1%, aged 18–24; 0.5%, aged 25–34; 1.3%, aged 35–44).

Q: Were there any major changes in adoption-related behaviors from previous years?

CU: In this report, we did not study trends in these adoption-related behaviors.  We focused more on providing a snapshot of the demographic characteristics of U.S. adult women who had engaged in these three adoption-related behaviors: ever considered adoption, currently seeking to adopt, and ever adopted a child.

Q: Do you have data for adoption-related behavior data on women older than age 44?

CU: The NSFG data used for this report reflect survey years when the age range extended only to age 44.  Beginning in 2015, the NSFG expanded its age range to 15-49, so future analyses can include adults 18-49.  The public use files for 2015-2017, which will reflect the expanded age range of 15-49 are expected to be released later this year.

Q: What is the take home message in this report?

CU: While the percentages of adult women aged 18-44 with adoption-related experience are relatively low, this report documents key variations by demographic characteristics, including age and current fertility problems. More women with fertility problems than those without had ever considered adopting or were currently seeking to adopt a child. Higher percentages of women in the oldest age (35-44 years) category were currently seeking to adopt or had ever adopted, than women in the youngest age (18-24 years) category.

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