Percentage-wise, fewer children in care in Korea than in U.S.

OK, this is a little bit like comparing oranges, tangerines, and grapefruits. Nevertheless, this is what I can figure out with the statistics available.  My conclusion is that there are, percentage-wise, far fewer children in Korean care facilities than there are in U.S. facilities and foster care combined. (In Korea, in-home foster care doesn’t exist on a large scale, with the exception of the babies who are fostered temporarily before they are sent for international adoption. That means that if we want to count kids who are not living with their families, we should count kids in group facilities. However, it is not clear from the ministry’s statistics sheet exactly who they are counting. From a Hankyoreh article I skimmed in Korean, however, it seems that they must count kids under 18 years old living in group facilities. Please also note that Koreans also put their kids in group facilities for reasons such as parents divorcing or economic hardship.)

Any updated statistics or math corrections are welcome.

United States South Korea
Total Population(1) 307,212,123 48,508,972
Population 0-14 years(1) 61,944,831 8,166,097
Children living in care 518,174 = (foster care + facility, under 16) (2) 18,426 = facility only, under 18 (3)
% of children living in care 0.83% 0.22%

(1)     CIA World Factbook, July 2009 estimate

(2)     Child Welfare League of America, 2006

(3)     S. Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare, 2007


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