WASHINGTON -- South Korea was the fourth biggest source of children adopted in the United States last year even as the Seoul government encourages domestic adoption of orphans due to low birthrates, the U.S. Department of State said Tuesday.
As many as 863 South Korean children found new families in the U.S. last year, the department's report on 2010 Intercountry Adoption said.
The South Korean government aims to end the foreign adoption of Korean orphans by 2012 by encouraging domestic adoption.
South Korea has the world's lowest birthrate, at 1.15 in 2009, compared with the average 1.71 for the member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. That means the average Korean woman has only 1.15 children in her lifetime.
The birthrate for the world's 13th biggest economy has grown higher in recent months due to government subsidies for child care and nursing and a relatively rapid recovery from the recession that struck in late 2008.
China was the biggest provider of children in 2010, with 3,401, followed by Ethiopia (2,513) and Russia (1,082).
Ukraine came in fifth with 445, Taiwan sixth with 285, India seventh with 243, Colombia eighth with 235 and the Philippines ninth with 214.
U.S. families adopted 11,059 children from abroad last year, not including 1,100 Haitian children adopted after the devastating earthquake in the Caribbean island.
A total of 43 American children were adopted abroad last year, with 19 children going to Canada and 18 to the Netherlands. (Yonhap)