The Racial Distribution of Adoptive Placements: What is the Role of Family Structure?

Elizabeth Raleigh, University of Pennsylvania

In this paper I argue that the decision to adopt a non-white child is not only related to individual-level choices but also by external market forces. In this marketplace, children are valued by their race and parents are valued according to their family structure. Under these market conditions, non-white children and non-traditional homosexual and single adoptive parents have the least value. The 2000 Census provides a unique opportunity to examine how a child’s race and an adoptive parent’s family structure interact to shape adoptive placements at the national level. Based on a nationally representative sample (N=65,476) of adoptive families, I show that high value white children are the most likely to be placed with high value heterosexual married parents whereas lower-value non-white children are more likely to be placed with lower valued non-traditional adoptive parents.

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Presented in Poster Session 5