Census Bureau update provides look at Indian Country
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The United States is home to nearly 2.4 million American Indians and Alaska
Natives, the Census Bureau reported on Tuesday, with Cherokee, Navajo, Sioux
and Ojibwe the most prominent tribal affiliations.
Overall, Native Americans are only about 0.8 percent of the total
population. But their ranks grew by nearly 10 percent in just one year, according to
the 2005 American Community Survey,
And when mixed-raced Native Americans come into the picture, the number
jumps to 4.2 million, representing an increase of nearly 4 percent from 2004.
According to the data, Cherokee is the most popular tribal affiliation, with
310,000 people claiming ancestry. Navajo came in second with 294,000 people,
followed by Sioux with 120,000 and Ojibwe with 115,000.
These four tribes alone made up nearly 43 percent of the overall American
Indian population, although the data may differ from the official tribal
Except for the four tribes, no other tribal affiliation in the lower 48
states broke the 100,000 mark, although Choctaws came close 88,000, followed by
Pueblos with 75,000.
Among Alaska Natives, Eskimo was the most frequently reported, with 52,000
claiming ancestry. Athabascan and Tlingit-Haida were nearly tied for second,
with about 16,000 each.
The state percentage rankings remained largely the same, based on figures
released after the 2000 Census. Alaska was first with a Native population of
14.2 percent, followed by New Mexico with 9.6 percent
South Dakota (8.4 percent); Oklahoma (7.4 percent) and Montana (6.0) rounded
out the top five. All five states were in the same position following the
But there was a notable change further below, with North Carolina and Oregon
cracking the top 10 for the first time, each with 1.3 percent. They bumped
Nevada, with 1.2 percent, down one position to number 11.
There also was a shift in terms of actual population. California has been
home to the largest number of American Indians and Alaska Natives since the 2000
According to the 2005 data, though, Arizona now has more Native Americans
than any other state. And coming in second was Oklahoma, pushing California to
the number three slot, although not by much.
Going by gender, the balance is tipped slightly in favor of Native women,
who made up 51 percent of the Native population, compared to 49 percent for
Part of the reason for the difference could be attributed to the longevity
of Native women. According to the data, there are more Native women 55 and
older than Native men.
Based on educational level, an equal number of Native men and women over the
age of 25 completed high school. But more Native women obtained a bachelor's
degree than men, although more Native men went onto graduate school than
Veterans continue to represent a significant part of the Native population.
About 19 percent of all Native males have served in the military, according to
The American Community Survey was conducted for areas with populations of
65,000 or more. Officials say it helps communities plan for the future without
waiting for the full Census count every decade.
"The data are vital for the planning, implementation and evaluation of
policies ranging from building new schools and roads to establishing initiatives
that drive economic development," said Census Bureau Director Louis Kincannon.
To view the data, visit the Census Bureau site and look for the American
Community Survey link. It will allow you to create custom tables and maps.
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