According to the National Surveys of Family Growth from 1973, 1982, 1988 and 1995, about 9.9 million women considered adoption, 16 percent began an adoption process and 31 percent of these women actually adopted a child.
This same study showed that in 1995 500,000 women were seeking to adopt and of those only 100,000 actually applied to adopt a child. About 2 percent of ever-married women between the ages of 15 and 44 had adopted a child. This figure has remained constant since the 1970s.
Most adoptive parents are two-parent families aged 31 to 40, with a growing number of parents age 41 to 49. Most parents have attended or completed college and nearly two-thirds of adoptive families have an income of $50,000 or greater.
The number of single-parent adoptions continues to increase from about 4 percent in the 1970s to up to 34 percent in the 1980s. Most single adoptive parents are female and are more likely to adopt older children or other special needs children.