Men Twice as Likely as Women to Adopt

For Immediate Release: August 7, 2008

Contact: CDC, National Center for Health Statistics, Office of Communication (301) 458-4800

Adoption Experiences of Women and Men and Demand for Children to Adopt by Women 18-44 Years of Age in the United States, 2002. Series 23, Number 27. 45 pp. PDF Versionpdf icon (1.7 MB)

U.S. men aged 18-44 years are more than twice as likely as women of the same age group to have adopted a child, according to a new report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

The data come from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth, conducted by NCHS. Some of the findings in the report includes:

  • Among ever-married persons, men were more than 2.5 times as likely as women to have adopted — 3.8 percent compared with 1.4 percent.
  • Overall, 2.3 percent of all men had ever adopted a child, compared with 1.1 percent of women. This equates to nearly 1.3 million men and 613,000 women. Though the new report does not provide conclusive data as to why more men adopt than women, the author of the study points out that the reasons are likely related to the fact that there are greater opportunities for men to adopt their stepchildren than for women, mainly because of post-divorce living arrangements.
  • Over one in four women aged 40-44 years who had ever used infertility services had adopted a child.
  • Though never-married adults aged 18-44 years were significantly less likely to have adopted a child compared with those who were currently married, approximately 100,000 never-married women and 73,000 never-married men had adopted a child.
  • Hispanic and non-Hispanic black women were more likely to be currently seeking to adopt a child, compared with non-Hispanic white women.


Page last reviewed: June 11, 2009