Know the Facts

The Numbers

  • Total estimated number of orphans worldwide:  153 million
  • Estimated number that have lost only their mother: 34.5 million
  • Estimated number that have lost only their father: 101 million
  • Estimated number of “double orphans”:  17.8 million
    (Source:  U.S. Government “5th Annual Report to Congress on Public Law 109-95” and affirmed by UNICEF)


  • Over the past decade, 179,719 children from around the world were welcomed into families in the U.S. through inter-country adoption.
  • Top 5 Sending countries in 2010 were: China, Ethiopia, Russia, South Korea and Ukraine.
  • Inter-country Adoption has decreased 59% from its high in 2004 due primarily to restrictions by sending countries.


  • In 2010, 52,891 American children were adopted domestically with public agency involvement.  (Data on private adoptions is not yet available for 2010.)
  • In 2007, there were 133,737 total domestic adoptions.  Of these:
    57,248 were adoptions by relatives, and 76,489 were by non-relatives.
    42,978 were handled by public agencies and 20,254 by private agencies.
    13,257 were handled by private individuals, usually attorneys.
  • Infants comprised almost one-fourth (18,078) of unrelated domestic adoptions
    Children with special needs comprised two-fifths (32,402) of unrelated domestic adoptions.
  • The 76,489 unrelated domestic adoptions in 2007 represented the highest number recorded in recent decades—compared to 50,720 in 1982 and 55,706 in 1992.






  • Children in foster care in the U.S.:  408,425
  • Children in foster care waiting to be adopted: 101,840
  • Children entering foster care in 2013: 254,904
  • Children exiting foster care in 2013: 238,280
  • Average time in care within the foster system: 21.8 Months
  • Children “aging out” of the foster system in 2012 in FY: 23,090
  • Average age of a child waiting to be adopted:  7.7 years old
  • Number of children in care whose parental rights were terminated in FY 2013:  58,887
  • Approximate number of children adopted from foster care in FY 2013:  50,281
  • Girls in Foster Care Pregnant by Age 19:  50%
  • Former Foster Kids in U.S. Prison:  74%
  • Incarcerated Within 2 Years of Age Out:  50%
  • Former Foster Kids on Death Row:  80%

Understanding Orphan Statistics

Know the Facts statistics provided by Christian Alliance for Orphans.


Children in foster care in the U.S.:  408,425