Orphan Statistics
The Number of Orphan Children by Country

No official number  “Many children are abandoned due to extreme poverty and harsh living conditions. Family members
or neighbors may raise some of these children but the majority live in crowded orphanages until the age of fifteen when
they are sent into the community to make a living for themselves.” Read “Azerbaijan Adoptions.” source

Partial information: 85 – Ivanovka Orphanage Read “Tokmak and Area Children’s Work” source

Estimated total – 1000 (1990’s) “It is stated that there are 20,000 orphaned children in Laos. There are only three
orphanages in the whole country providing places for a total of 1,000 of these children.” No Title. by Anneli Dahlbom
broken source link

Total – 5000 Out of 400,000 orphans, 5,000 are living in orphanages. Read “Social Protection of Africa’s Orphans and
Other Vulnerable Children.” African Region Human Development Working Series Paper source

Approximate total – 9,000 (1997)  “No one can be sure how many lone children are there in the republic. About 9,000
are in internats and in orphanages.” Read “Children and the Society,” by Natalia Bruker, Irada Guseinova. Asia Plus
(1997) source

Approximate total – 3000 “Currently, there are 52 orphanages in Tanzania caring for about 3,000 orphans and
vulnerable children.”
Read “A Program on Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Aids affected areas in Tanzania.” Axios International source

Partial Information: 80 – Takhtakupar Orphanage -Read “Takhatkupar Orphanage”


Catholic-run institutions:
Orphanages Children’s Homes
WORLD 8,246 11,911
Africa 729 1,645
America 2,280 5,297
Asia 2,968 2,485
Europe 2,043 2,402
Oceania 226 82 check out the source
Asia (as a whole) :2,492 orphanages managed by the Catholic Church as of 1995 check out the source
AUSTRALIA at least 150

The Total Number of Orphan Children Worldwide

Here are two – very different – estimates for the number of orphans worldwide. UNICEF estimates the number of
orphans at approximately 210 million. On the other hand, TheWeekly.com estimates approx. 13 million. As a
compromise, let’s proceed with an estimate of 100 million orphans worldwide.

We have seen that the percentage of such children who are in orphanages varies greatly – from 25% in Russia, to about
17% in the US to as little as a fraction of a percent in Uganda. Since a weighted average approach would yield something
that is much closer to third world standards (because the vast majority of orphans are found in the third world), we can
safely assume the percentage we are seeking is in the low single digits.

This means that there are anywhere from two to five million orphans in orphanages worldwide, an estimate that is inline
with the HRW world report. source: UNICEF and HRW.  

The vast majority of orphans are found in the third world...

Other Statistics

USAID.GOV: The total number of orphans worldwide is projected to reach 44 million by 2010

UNICEF issued the following report – Appendix I includes tables that detail the number of orphans in Africa, Asia and
Latin America in 1990, 1995 and 2001, as well as year 2010 estimates

An article from October 10 2002 in the Weekly provides the following statistics:
“...The number of orphans worldwide is estimated at more than 13 million...”  source: TheWeekly.com

In Russia, however, about 25% of children left without parental care are estimated to be living in institutions –“Official,
stock-type information from Russia shows that the number of children left without parental care rose from
421,000 to 533,000 between 1989 and 1995 and to 637,000 by 1999. These figures suggest a huge 1.5-fold increase over
the last 10 years. In each year, about a quarter of these children were living in institutions.”

According to McLaughlin writing in USA Today - “...the percentage of kids in institutions dropped from 57.8% in 1933
to 31% in 1962 and 17.1% in 1989...” (this is, of course, the percentage of kids not living with their organic family).

A report from the WorldBank provides some statistics for the percent of children in orphanages in 3rd world countries –
Rwanda – 5,000 of 400,000 orphans living in orphanages.
Uganda – 1,300 of 1,700,000 orphans living in orphanages

This is because the cost to run an orphanage in the third world is an order of magnitude or two higher than the foster care
option - “Cost comparisons conducted in Uganda show the ratio of operating costs for an orphanage to be 14 times
higher than those for community care. A 1992 study by the World Bank found that institutional care at one facility in
Tanzania cost $1,000 per year per child, a figure six times more expensive than the average cost of foster care in that
country. Other studies have found a ratio of 1:20, or even up to 1:100.” -source: UNICEF

Statistics courtesy of My Orphanage

Some Statistics and Facts about Orphans

In our world today, it is estimated that there are more than 100 million orphaned children.  

US Foster Care System - There is approximately 500,000 children in the foster care system today.  Of those, 118,000
are currently available for adoption.  In 2004, 51,000 children were adopted from the foster care system.  This is almost
double the 26,000 children adopted from the system in 2003.

Russia - one in three  orphanage "graduates" is homelsss, one in five commits a crime, and one in ten commits suicide.  
That means that in 1993, of the 15,000 orphans who "graduated" from Russian orphanages, 1,500 committed suicide
that year.

China has more than 40,000 orphanages with an estimated 3 million orphans.  Two in five babies entering the system
die.  In response to concern of over population in China, the government enforced a
"one child" policy.  Compounding
the problem is the cultural response to boys and girls.  The birth of a boy is celebrated, while the birth of a girl is not

India has more than 18 million children living on the streets.  Orphanages are filled with the abandoned.  

Romania - According to a government census, nearly 2,500 Romanian children are living in the streets and sewers, and
100,000 are wards of state orphanages.  This was before Romania closed adoption, the numbers must be astronomical

Orphanages Worldwide - sick and special needs babies are left to die.  In some Orphanages, the death rates are as high
as 20 percent.

  • Asia - 3.5 million orphans
  • Africa - 5.5 million orphans
  • Latin America - 400,000 orphans
  • Eastern Europe - 1.5 million orphans
  • US Foster Care - 118,000 children available for adoption

Statistics curtesy of Here I am Orphan Ministry

An Orphanage

An orphanage (historically an orphan's asylum before the asylum took on its modern insane asylum connotation) is an
institution dedicated to caring for orphans (children who have lost their parents) and abused, abandoned, and neglected
children. Generally, the word orphanage is used interchangeably with children's home. Largely seen as an inferior
alternative to family-based childcare such as some forms of foster care, adoption and other family-based child-care,
orphanages may be privately or publicly funded, and many are run by religious organizations.

Orphanages during the centuries

The first orphanages, called "orphanotrophia," were founded in the 1st century amid various alternative means of orphan
support. (Jewish law, for instance, prescribed care for the widow and orphan, and Athenian law supported all orphans
of those killed in military service until the age of eighteen.) The care of orphans was particularly commended to bishops
and, during the Middle Ages, to monasteries. Many orphanages practiced some form of "binding-out" in which children,
as soon as they were old enough, were given as apprentices to households. This would ensure their support and their
learning an occupation.

Historically, certain birth parents were often pressured or forced to give up their children to orphanages: those of
children born out of wedlock or into poor families; those with disabilities or of children born with disabilities; and those
with girls born into patriarchial societies. Such practices are assumed to be quite rare in the modern Western world,
thanks to improved social security and changed social attitudes, but remain in force in many other countries.

Since the 1950s, after a series of scandals involving the coercion of birth parents and abuse of orphans (notably at
Georgia Tann's Tennessee Children's Home Society), the United States and other countries have moved to
deinstitutionalize the care of vulnerable children—that is, close down orphanages in favor of foster care and accelerated
adoption. Moreover, as it is no longer common for birth parents in Western countries to give up their children, and as far
fewer people die of diseases or violence while their children are still young, the need to operate large orphanages has
decreased. These factors have also resulted in a dramatic reduction of local orphans available for adoption in first-world
countries, necessitating journeys by many would-be adoptive parents to orphanages in the Third World.

Today, the orphanage remains common and necessary in most parts of the world, even if the term has given way to such
softer language as "group home," "children's home," or "rehabilitation center." They are not common in the European
community, and Romania in particular has struggled to reduce the visibility of its children's institutions to meet
conditions of its entry into the European Union. In the United States, the largest remaining orphanage is the Bethesda
Orphanage, founded in 1740 by George Whitefield.

In many works of fiction (notably Oliver Twist and Annie) the administrators of orphanages are depicted as cruel


Slovakia Total — approximately 2,500 (2002) “Slovak orphanages house about 2,500 children aged 3-18 in 56
orphanages in Slovakia. Ten percent of these children are in the process of being adopted. Forty percent have guardians
who are not their parents, and remaining forty percent were placed in orphanages for legal institutional care. Due to the
small number of children who are "legally free for adoption," coupled with restrictive Slovak legislation, no Slovak
children have been adopted by foreigners until very recently. Slovak orphanages for children up to age 3 are administered
by the Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic; orphanages for children of ages 3–18 by the Ministry of Education
and Science of the Slovak Republic.

Romania 2003 Updated: In Romania are around 5,600,000 children with ages between 0-18, approximately 1.5% of them
are under the Public Specialized Services for Children’s Protection.

Number of children by type of orphanage — July 2003:
•        public orphanages: 31,908
•        private orphanages: 5,583
•        Total: 37,491

Age distribution in public (private) orphanages:
•        under 1yr old: 794 (151)
•        1-2yrs old: 1,07 (442)
•        3-6yrs old: 1,848 (887)
•        7-9yrs old: 2,776 (907)
•        10-13yrs old: 7,716 (1,465)
•        14-17yrs old: 12,923 (1,471)
•        18-26yrs old: 4,773 (280)
•        Total: 31,908 (5,583)

In Romania there are 49,484 institutionalized children in 940 orphanages according to the Romanian National Institute of
Statistics. Further, more than half of all institutionalized children are boys (55.2%). Around 1/3 of all institutionalized
children are under 11 years old, the rest of are younger between the ages 12–17. The same Institute relating that about
1/2 of institutionalized children are not visited by parents or relatives, every once at 6 months. 22.6% of
institutionalized children are orphans. The counties of Suceava and Vaslui have the largest number of institutionalized

There are conflicting numbers from different sources: 125,000+ (2002) “The number of children in Romanian orphanages
has continued to increase since the end of Ceaucescu's tyranny. At the time of Ceaucescu's death in 1989 there were
85,000 children in orphanages. In 1993 that number had risen to 98,000. Today in 2002 that number is over 125,000.”
Today about 60,000 children reside in traditional orphanages; about 30,000 live in foster homes.

Bulgaria 2% of children, one of Europe's highest rates.
Estonia Total – 1,099 (1998) “In 1998, there were a total of 1,101 places and 1,099 wards in the orphanages across
Estonia. The number of wards in orphanages has remained stabile over the years (e.g. in 1993, there were 1,098 children
in orphanages). This can be partly explained by the lack of orphanages for street children who have different lifestyles
and habits that are threatening to health and life.” Hungary 22,000+ (1998) “More than 22,000 orphaned and abandoned
children are in state custody in Hungary.”

Lithuania Total 241 – (1994 statistics for 32 foster homes) (300 more children are documented to live in children’s
villages.) Positive changes in the situation of foster children can be seen. In 1995, the International Children's Rights
Convention was ratified and NGOs became more active in this field. There are about 40 organizations and foundations
that shelter children: the Lithuanian Children's Fund, `Viltis', the `SOS Children's homes, and the assistance foundation
`Vaiko tëviðkes namai'. At present, there are 30 affiliates of `SOS Children', and 10 children's villages have been created,
in which 300 children live. In each house in each village, there are 5 -7 children living along with their guardian, or
`mother'. Children aged eight or over are taken into these villages, and stay until they are 18.

Republic of Moldova Approximate total – 2000 in orphanages 279 in orphanages “of the family type.”

Poland Approximately 80,000 “In Poland today there are 350 orphanages-the highest number in Central Europe-
including about 100 smaller orphanages run by families. They are home to about 80,000 children.”


Egypt Partial information: 120 - Mosques of Charity “The orphanage houses about 120 children in Giza, Menoufiya
and Qalyubiya..”. 192 - The Awladi 200+ - Dar Al-Iwaa “We provide free education and accommodation for over 200
girls and boys.”. 44 - Dar Al-Mu'assassa Al-Iwaa'iya “Dar Al-Mu'assassa Al-Iwaa'iya (Shelter Association), a
government association affiliated with the Ministry of Social Affairs, was established in 1992. It houses about 44
children.” 30 - Sayeda Zeinab orphanage 300 - My Children Orphanage

Note: There are about 185 orphanages in Egypt. The above information was taken from the following articles: “Other
families,” by Amany Abdel-Moneim. Al-Ahram Weekly (5/1999) at: broken source: www.MyOrphanage.orglink
“Ramadan brings charity to Egypt's orphans.” Shanghai Star 12/13/2001 broken source: www.MyOrphanage.orglink “A
Child by Any Other Name,” by Réhab El-Bakry. Egypt Today (11/2002) source: www.MyOrphanage.org

Ethiopia Total - 160 (2000) “For example, in the Jerusalem Association Children's Home (JACH), only 160 children
remain of the 785 who were in JACH's three orphanages.” / “Attitudes regarding the institutional care of children have
shifted dramatically in recent years in Ethiopia. There appears to be general recognition by MOLSA and the NGOs with
which Pact is working that such care is, at best, a last resort, and that serious problems arise with the social reintegration
of children who grow up in institutions, and deinstitutionalization through family reunification and independent living
are being emphasized.”

Kenya A 1999 survey of 35,000 orphans found the following number in institutional care: 64 -registered institutions;
164 -unregistered institutions.

Rwanda Total – 5000 Out of 400,000 orphans, 5,000 are living in orphanages.

Tanzania Approximate total – 3000 “Currently, there are 52 orphanages in Tanzania caring for about 3,000 orphans and
vulnerable children.” [9]
Zambia A 1996 national survey of orphans revealed no evidence of orphanage care. The breakdown of care was as
follows: For double orphans: 38% grandparents 55% extended family 1% older orphan 6% non-relative

Zimbabwe Total number unknown: Statistics on the total number of children in orphanages nation-wide are unavailable,
but care givers say their facilities were becoming unmanageably overwhelmed almost on a daily basis. There are 38
privately run children's charity homes, or orphanages in the country, and the government operates eight of its own.
Zimbabwe's orphanages are over- spilling, and care givers say they are failing to cope with the rising numbers of children
coming to their charity homes.

Between 1994 and 1998, the number of orphans in Zimbabwe more than doubled from 200,000 to 543,000, and in five
years the number is expected to reach 900,000. (Unfortunately, there is no room for these children.)


Taiwan Total –638 (2001) “On the other hand, the number of orphanages and orphans drastically dropped from 15
institutions and 2,216 persons in 1971 to 9 institutions and 638 persons by the end of 2001.
South Korea Approximate total – 17,000 (1999) “There are now 17,000 children in public orphanages throughout the
country and untold numbers at private institutions.”

Afghanistan (Kabul only) -Total – 1200 orphans live in orphanages “At Kabul's two main orphanages, Alauddin and
Tahia Maskan, the number of children enrolled has increased almost 80 percent since last January, from 700 to over
1,200 children. Almost half of these come from families who have at least one parent, but who can't support their
children. ”

Bangladesh Partial information: “There are no statistics regarding the actual number of children in welfare institutions in
Bangladesh. The Department of Social Services, under the Ministry of Social Welfare, has a major programme named
Child Welfare and Child Development in order to provide access to food, shelter, basic education, health services and
other basic opportunities for hapless children.” (The following numbers mention “capacity” only….not actual numbers
of orphans at present) 9,500 -State institutions 250 -babies in 3 available “Baby Homes” 400 -Destitute Children's
Rehabilitation Centre 100 -Vocational Training Centre for Orphans and Destitute Children 1,400 -Sixty-five Welfare and
Rehabilitation Programmes for Children with Disability source The private welfare institutions are mostly known as
orphanages and madrassahs. The authorities of most of these orphanages put more emphasise on religion and religious
studies.  One example follows:  400 - Approximately - Nawab Sir Salimullah Muslim Orphanage

Cambodia "In the past three years the number of orphanages in Cambodia for which WORLD ORPHANS has funded
construction for is 47, housing over 1,500 children. Most are orphaned due to their parents dying from AIDS and some
from being blown up by land mines." (published in the end of 2002) broken source: www.MyOrphanage.orglink Total
number unknown: “There are no accurate figures available on how many orphans there are in Cambodia..”

China Estimated total in 2002 – 50,000 “Currently there are 50,000 children in Chinese orphanages, while the number of
abandoned children shows no sign of slowing.” Estimated total in 1996 – fewer than 20,000 “Official figures show that
fewer than 20,000 of China's orphans are now in any form of institutional care.” Chinese official records fail to account
for most of the country’s abandoned infants and children, only a small proportion of whom are in any form of
acknowledged state care. The most recent figure provided by the government for the country’s orphan population,
100,000 seems implausibly low for a country with a total population of 1.2 billion. Even if it were accurate, however,
the whereabouts of the great majority of China’s orphans would still be a complete mystery, leaving crucial questions
about the country’s child welfare system unanswered and suggesting that the real scope of the catastrophe that has
befallen China’s unwanted children may be far larger than the evidence in this report documents.

India State of Andhra Pradesh -Children’s Homes – 5,050 : 6 – 18 years of age Refer to “Children’s Homes.”
Government of Andhra Pradesh source: www.MyOrphanage.org

Iraq Total in 1990 –1,190 :UNICEF maintains the same number at present. “While the number of state homes for
orphans in the whole of Iraq was 25 in 1990 (serving 1,190 children); both the number of homes and the number of
beneficiaries has declined. The quality of services has also declined.” A 1999 study by UNICEF “recommended the
rebuilding of national capacity for the rehabilitation of orphans.” The new project “will benefit all the 1,190 children
placed in orphanages.” Laos Estimated total – 1000 (1990’s) “It is stated that there are 20,000 orphaned children in
Laos. There are only three orphanages in the whole country providing places for a total of 1,000 of these children.” No
Title. by Anneli Dahlbom source: www.MyOrphanage.org

Palestinian Territory (of Israel) Total – 1,714 (1999) “In 1999, the number of children living in orphanages witnessed a
considerable drop as compared to 1998. This number dropped from 1,980 to 1,714 orphans. This is due to the policy of
child re-integration in their household adopted by the Ministry of Social Affairs.”

Former Soviet Union

Russia "Approximate total 700,000 (2003) There are some 700,000 children and teenagers living in state institutions,
according to Russia's Health Ministry. Some 15,000 young people graduate from the state-run orphanages every year.
And at least 40 percent of these graduates eventually end up in prisons, while one tenth of them commit suicide."
Source: according to Russia' Health Ministry, 2003 <no link available> , There are many web pages of Russian
orphanages, but none of them are in English. If I found one in English I'll publish the link. Approximately total - 200,000
(1998) “Of a total of more than 600,000 children classified as being “without parental care,” as many as one-third reside
in institutions.”

Azerbaijan No official number “Many children are abandoned due to extreme poverty and harsh living conditions.
Family members or neighbors may raise some of these children but the majority live in crowded orphanages until the age
of fifteen when they are sent into the community to make a living for themselves.”

Belarus Approximate total – 1,773 (1993 statistics for “all types of orphanages)

Kyrgyzstan Partial information: 85 – Ivanovka Orphanage

Latvia While information is available for orphaned children, there are no specific numbers for those orphans placed in
orphanages. “The analysis of the reason why a child is in an institution shows that the proportion of the number of
orphans in the children’s social care institutions was only 5.6% although the dynamic pointed to an increasing number of

Tajikistan Approximate total – 9,000 (1997) “No one can be sure how many lone children are there in the republic.
About 9,000 are in internats and in orphanages.”

Ukraine Partial information:
•        150 – Kiev State Baby Orphanage [23]
•        30 – Beregena Orphanage
•        120 – Dom Invalid Orphanage [24]

Uzbekistan Partial Information: 80 – Takhtakupar Orphanage


Indonesia No information for the number of children actually in orphanages. The Report, “Convention on the Rights of
the Child – First Periodic. Report Indonesia. 1993-June 2000 source: www.MyOrphanage.orgdoes list the number of
orphaned children at 91,000+, but this number includes all abandoned children, such as street children, etc.

North America & Caribbean

Haiti Partial and conflicting information: 200,000+ (estimated) children waiting for institutional orphan care “Children in
Institutions: Haitians and expatriate childcare professionals are careful to make it clear that Haitian orphanages and
children’s homes are not orphanages in the North American sense, but instead shelters for vulnerable children, often
housing children whose parent (s) are poor as well as those who are abandoned, neglected or abused by family guardians.
Neither the number of children or the number of institutions is officially known, but Chambre de L’Enfance
Necessiteusse Ha_tienne (CENH) indicated that is has received requests for assistance from nearly 200 orphanages from
around the country for more than 200,000 children. Although not all are orphans, many are vulnerable or originate in
vulnerable families that hoped to increase their children’s opportunities by sending them to orphanages.” / “The CENH
figures seem high when compared to Schwarz’s 1999 count of five rural and three urban orphanages in the Northwest
Province and northern Artibonite, with a total of 376 children. Catholic Relief Services provides assistance to 120
orphanages with 9,000 children in the West, South, Southeast and Grand Anse, but these include only orphanages that
meet their criteria. They estimate receiving ten requests per week for assistance from additional orphanages and children’
s homes, but some of these are repeat requests."

Mexico Approximately 10,000+ (1999) “…at least 10,000 Mexican children live in orphanages and more in unregistered
charity homes”

United States Partial information:
•        75,890 – (1993 statistics for Catholic orphanages) [24]
•        Approximately 30,000 – group homes (1995) Traditional “orphanages” have largely been replaced by group homes
As a result of the American Civil War, the number of soldiers' widows and orphans increased dramatically, forcing the
creation of numerous Orphan Schools across the country. (James Laughery Paul (1876). Pennsylvania's Soldiers' Orphan
Schools. Harrisburg, PA: Lane S. Hart Printer. )

Central and South America

Guatemala Approximately 20,000 (2000) “…currently there are about 20,000 children in orphanages.”

Statistic information courtesy of Widipedia.com
Ryker's Dream
Orphan Ministry and Relief
James 1:27
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and
faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in
their distress and to keep oneself from being
polluted by the world.
Reaching and equipping people for Christ