, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 205-225

Intercountry adoption in the new millennium; the ``quiet migration'' revisited

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Intercountry adoption is not usually seen as a matter for demographers, although articles in the International Migration Review have looked at international adoption as a migratory process. This article outlines the author's estimate of the number of intercountry adoptions world-wide, using data recorded by 18 receiving states in the 1990s. Data from selected receiving countries are used to estimate the number of adoptions from states of origin. Comparisons are made with data for 14 countries over the period 1980–89 collated by Kane (1993).

The global estimate of at least 32,000 adoptions in 1998 is much higher than thenumbers usually cited and suggest a rise of fifty percent over the previous decade.Total numbers are dominated by adoptions to the United States and from China andRussia. However standardisation against population size or number of live birthssuggests that the highest rates among receiving states are to be found in Scandinavia,while the highest rates for states of origin are in countries of Eastern Europe, followedby Korea – countries typified by very low birth rates. The article ends with a discussion of the implications of these findings for the future of international controls and the implementation of the 1993 Hague Convention.