Chinese adoption statistics discrepancies 2005 - 2009
More than a century ago, Mark Twain popularized the expression "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics". In this post we'd like to focus on the most egregious of these lies, statistics.
In 2007, we started collecting inter-country adoption statistics, which we present on our various country pages. Our first source for these statistics was the website of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, which at the time, published the statistics of several countries for the years 2001-2004.
While entering this information into our database, we had to make the decision which statistics to use, those of the receiving countries, or those of the sending countries.
At the time. relatively few sending countries supplied statistics to the Hague, even fewer had their own website, presenting up-to-date statistics, so we decided to use the data provided by the receiving countries.
We did notice, however, that there were many discrepancies between the figures provided by sending countries, and those provided by receiving countries. We summarized our finding at the time in the post "Where did they go?" and informed the Hague Conference.
Ever since 2007, we have updated the statistics of receiving countries, but had no access to statistics of sending countries. Fortunately, the Hague Conference on Private International Law, has finally updated the information they provide, so we can make a new comparison between the
lies statistics of receiving countries and those of sending countries.
In this post we'd like to focus on the statistics as provided by China, and compare those figures with those provided by receiving countries.
China provided statistics for the years 2005 - 2009 to The Hague Conference. With the exception of Singapore, we were able to obtain the adoption statistics of all receiving countries, China claims to have sent children to.
The following table lists the figures provided by the receiving countries and those provided by the Chinese authorities, broken down per country, per year. Highlighted entries in the table indicate that the difference between the figures provided by the receiving country and the figures provided by the Chinese authorities, is more than 10%.
|2005 rec.||2005 sent||2006 rec.||2006 sent||2007 rec.||2007 sent||2008 rec.||2008 sent||2009 rec.||2009 sent||Total rec.||Total sent||Total diff.|
The finding of this comparison is very similar to the one we made in 2007. Again there are big differences between the figures provided by the authorities of the sending country, and the figures provided by the authorities of receiving countries.
Small difference are to be expected. For example, the USA reports adoptions per fiscal year (October 1 to September 30), while China reports per calendar year. Likewise, Australia reports over the period 1 July to 31 June. Such differences should more or less cancel out when looking at the entire time frame of five years, but this is not what we see.
Over the period 2005-2009, almost 7.5% more children were reportedly adopted from China, than China claims to have sent for adoption.
Unlike our question four years ago, "where did they go?", this time around we are faced with the question, "where did they come from?". If China didn't send the surplus of 1618 children, who did?
Is it too much to ask of the authorities in sending and receiving countries to properly count the children adopted internationally? With all the bureaucracy involved in inter-country adoption, how is it possible that 1618 children are unaccounted for?
There are indeed lies, damned lies and statistics. The field of inter-country adoption again proves that statistics are the biggest lie of all.