OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to estimate disability rates for internationally adopted children in the United States.

METHODS: We conducted an analysis of restricted-access data from the complete long form of Census 2000 for internationally adopted children aged 5 to 15 in 2000, estimating disability rates by country of origin, controlling for gender, age at adoption, current age, and parental characteristics.

RESULTS: Internationally adopted children have disability rates similar to those adopted domestically (11.7% vs 12.2%, respectively) and more than twice the rate for all children in that age range (5.8%). The adjusted odds of disability relative to domestic adoptees range from one half or less (China and Korea) to twice as large or more (Romania, Bulgaria, other Eastern Europe, and other Western Europe).

CONCLUSIONS: The population of internationally adopted children is relatively small and diverse, posing challenges for researchers who hope to reach generalizable conclusions. Nevertheless, health, education, and social service professionals, as well as adoptive and prospective adoptive parents, should be aware of the risk for disabilities among internationally adopted children to devote the resources necessary to addressing them.

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