What the Latest Census Data Tells Us About the Native American Population
Should the government do more to remedy disparities facing Native Americans?
by Causes | 11.27.19
What’s the story?
Data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey shows that the number of Americans identifying as at least partially Native American has increased from 1.6 million in 2000 to 5.7 million Americans in 2018. This chart from USAFacts shows the number of people identifying as American Indian or Alaska Native alone and the number who also identify with another race:
It’s unclear whether the increase is due to outright population growth, or more people racially identifying as Native American (multiracial identification has only been tracked by the Census since 2000). The Census Bureau is prioritizing its count in 2020 after an estimated 4.88% of Native Americans living on reservations went undercounted.
Where do Native Americans live?
These maps from USAFacts show the distribution of Native Americans as a percentage of a state’s population:
In terms of metropolitan areas, there are five in the U.S. which have a multiracial Native American population exceeding 100,000:
- Los Angeles, California (233,745);
- New York, New York (178,677);
- Phoenix Arizona (161,178) ― which is the only metro area with over 100,000 residents claiming Native American racial identity alone;
- Tulsa, Oklahoma (138,573); and
- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (104,789).
What does the data show about the Native American population?
Americans who identify as Native American are younger than the overall population, lag behind in economic and academic metrics, and serve in the Armed Forces at essentially rate as the overall population as these charts from USAFacts show:
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: iStock.com / grandriver)
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