An adopted child may seem to be a favorite accessory among celebrities but the rest of the world is not following the trend

The rise and fall of intercountry adoption in the 21st century

From International Social Work

Despite adoption of children from developing countries seemingly en vogue within celebrity circles, global child adoption levels have actually dropped during the latter half of the last decade. The much publicized adoptions in recent years by Brad Pitt with Angelina Jolie, Sandra Bullock and Madonna may have given the impression to the public that intercountry adoption has become more popular but this article reveals that following continued steady growth during the last 50 years, it reached a worldwide high of over 45,000 a year in 2004 and has since steadily dropped.


Recent developments in intercountry adoption worldwide, based on a demographic analysis of trends in 22 receiving states between 2001 and 2007, are reviewed. The analysis shows a marked decline in the global number of adoptions after a steady rise from the mid-1990s to over 45,000 in 2004.


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Article detail

Selman, P. (2009). The rise and fall of intercountry adoption in the 21st century International Social Work, 52 (5), 575-594 DOI: 10.1177/0020872809337681

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