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Q: Intercountry Adoption / Orphan Statistics. ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Intercountry Adoption / Orphan Statistics.
Category: Family and Home > Parenting
Asked by: wmitchell-ga
List Price: $30.00
Posted: 13 Oct 2005 07:33 PDT
Expires: 12 Nov 2005 06:33 PST
Question ID: 579760
What is the percentage of orphaned children by country?  I am using
the information to determine what countries need intercountry adoption
most?  Most interested in children under 2 if possible to distinguish in
statistics.  Please supply sources.  Thanks.
Subject: Re: Intercountry Adoption / Orphan Statistics.
Answered By: welte-ga on 16 Oct 2005 16:31 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi wmitchell-ga, and thanks for your question.

Perhaps the most reliable source of information is the joint report
from the US Agency for International Development (USAIDS) and UNICEF,
entitled "Children on the Brink 2002: A Joint Report on Orphan
Estimates and Program Strategies."

You can find the full text of the report here:

While a large focus of the report is the study of children orphaned
due to HIV/AIDS, this is a major factor particularly in Africa.  The
report is not limited to AIDS orphans, however.  There is a wealth of
information in this report

On page 12, the report addresses the policy issues regarding
orphanages in areas with high percentages of orphans, essentially
stating that they are of limited utility.  For example:

"Cost comparisons conducted in Uganda show the ratio of operating
costs for an orphanage to be 14 times higher than those for community
care. A 1992 study by the World Bank found that institutional care at
one facility in Tanzania cost $1,000 per year per child, a figure six
times more expensive than the average cost of foster care in that
country. Other studies have found a ratio of 1:20, or even up to
1:100. In communities under severe economic stress, increasing the
number of spaces in orphanages often results in families deciding that
their children can be better served by orphanages than at home."

Appendix I, starting on page 16 gives a detailed breakdown of orphans
by country (for 88 countries around the world), including those with
maternal, paternal, or double loss of parents due to AIDS and non-AIDS
causes.  For the purposes of this report, children ages 0-14 were
included, with no breakdown by age groups.

References for data used in this report are available at the end of the report.

Here is a news report from ABC News summarizing the report:


Another source of information is the UNAIDS report "The State of the
World's Children 2005," which you can find here:
or here:

Here is a direct link:

Figure 4.2 on page 70 of this report gives the numbers of orphans in
Africa, along with projections.

In terms of ages, the report states that
"More than half of the orphans in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin
America and the Caribbean are adolescents."

Page 84 of this report shows a figure with data for numbers of
HIV/AIDS orphans, with the highest number being in Nigeria.

The data in the previously cited USAIDS/UNICEF report is significantly
more detailed.  Data is apparently not collected for ages 0-2.

You can find information on immigrating orphans from this US Dept. of
Homeland Security (sic) site, which includes Tables in Excel format:


I hope this information was useful.  Please feel free to request
clarification prior to rating.



Search terms:

orphans "by age" -adoption "by country"

Google US Govt. search:
orphans world -adoption
wmitchell-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
Thanks for your answer.  Your comments were helpful, but the sources
cited were what as close to what I needed as can reasonably be
expected.  FYI my wife and I are optional adopters (capable of having
our own biological children) with 2 children.  We want to add to our
family, but would like to ensure we are adopting from a country which
is in need.  Their are many couples whom cannot have children seeking
babies.  We do not want to compete with them.  Thanks for your help.

Subject: Re: Intercountry Adoption / Orphan Statistics.
From: waterhead-ga on 13 Oct 2005 10:02 PDT
I think there are other factors, besides numbers of children, which
would be more significant; such as life span of 'orphans' vs local
population, quality of care, number of children adopted locally. My
personal feeling (I am a parent of a child adopted internationally) is
that going in to adoption with the idea of 'saving' an orphan is not
really the best motivation or the recipe for the best outcome.
Realistically, adoption is not even remotely a remedy for the
conditions that caused that child to be orphaned or abandoned .

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