Orphans in the World: 7 Shocking Statistics

We all need to work together to help the children in the world who are without families.

MK Menon July 20, 2018
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There are more orphans in the world than a lot of people realize. Be prepared for this data to shock you. While the statistics I am going to share are numbers, keep in mind that each of those “numbers” represents a child—a child growing up in the world without parents. A child who lost his mother, father, or both. A child who may be without the comforts of stability whether that is physical location, nourishment, love. The list goes on and on, and it is heart-wrenching. Remember that every child has a story, a dream. Each deserves to be thought of no differently than your child, your friend’s child, or a child you may happen to pass on the street.

1. In 2015, worldwide, there were 140 million orphans. This number reflects UNICEF’s definition of an orphan as any person under the age of 18 who has lost one or both of their parents due to death from any cause. Double orphans are those who have lost both parents and makeup 15.1 million of those children. If this orphan population would be a country, it would be the 9th largest in the world behind Russia.

2. The continent with the largest number of children without at least one parent is Asia, home to 61 million orphans.

3. The HIV/AIDS epidemic prompted UNICEF to modify their definition of orphan to include those who lost one parent. UNICEF categorizes such children as a single orphans since this disease stole one parent from 17.7 million children in 2013. Most of them live in sub-Saharan Africa and southeast Asia.

4. The recorded number of orphans living in the foster care system in the U.S. is 400,000, with one-third of them being eligible for adoption. Nevertheless, many will wait three years for the adoption to become a reality. In 2013, California and Texas had the most number of children in public foster care.

5. In the U.S., more than 20,000 children will age out of the foster care system. This leaves them without any support and brings them to a higher risk for health issues, homelessness, and lack of education.

6. In 2012, U.S. families took part in 7,000 international adoptions. Most of those children were born in China, Ethiopia, Ukraine, Haiti, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The peak of international adoptions was in 2004 and has decreased due to restrictions by the sending countries.

7. Of the majority of orphans, a striking 95%, are over the age of five.

Are you ready to pursue a domestic infant adoption? Click here to connect with a compassionate, experienced adoption professional who can help get you started on the journey of a lifetime.

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MK Menon

MK Menon is a transracial international adoptee. She was adopted as an infant in a closed adoption yet managed to successfully trace her roots in her twenties. This year she hopes to publish her memoir about her journey to her birth mother. She's a vocal advocate for adoptees tracing their roots. She works as a research scientist and freelance writer. When she and her husband aren't chasing their toddler around the house, she loves cooking up a storm. She currently lives in California.

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