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Facts for Features
CB09-FF.20
Oct. 15, 2009

American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage
Month: November 2009

The first American Indian Day was celebrated in May 1916 in New York. Red Fox James, a Blackfeet Indian, rode horseback from state to state, getting endorsements from 24 state governments, to have a day to honor American Indians. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed a joint congressional resolution designating November 1990 as "National American Indian Heritage Month." Similar proclamations have been issued every year since 1994. This Facts for Features presents data for American Indians and Alaska Natives, as this is one of the six major race categories.

Note: Unless otherwise specified, the data in the "Population" section refer to the population who reported a race alone or in combination with one or more other races.

Population

4.9 million

As of July 1, 2008, the estimated population of American Indians and Alaska Natives, including those of more than one race. They made up 1.6 percent of the total population.
Source: Population estimates <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/population/cb09-75.html>

8.6 million

The projected population of American Indians and Alaska Natives, including those of more than one race, on July 1, 2050. They would comprise 2 percent of the total population.
Source: Population projections <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/population/cb08-123.html>

83,250

Increase in the nation's American Indian and Alaska Native population from July 1, 2007, to July 1, 2008. The population of this group increased by 1.7 percent during the period.
Source: Population estimates <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/population/cb09-75.html>

29.7

Median age of the American Indian and Alaska Native population in 2008, younger than the median of 36.8 for the population as a whole. About 30 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives were younger than 18, and 8 percent were 65 and older.
ource: Population estimates <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/population/cb09-75.html>

738,978

The American Indian and Alaska Native population in California as of July 1, 2008, the highest total of any state. California was followed by Oklahoma (406,492) and Arizona (359,841).

About 12,828 American Indians and Alaska Natives were added to Texas' population between July 1, 2007, and July 1, 2008. That is the largest numeric increase of any state. Texas (4.3 percent) also had the highest rate of increase during the period.
Source: Population estimates <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/population/cb09-76.html>

5

Number of states where American Indians and Alaska Natives were the largest race or ethnic minority group in 2008. These states are Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.
Source: Population estimates <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/population/cb09-76.html>

11

Number of states with more than 100,000 American Indian and Alaska Native residents on July 1, 2008. These states were California, Oklahoma, Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, New York, Washington, Florida, North Carolina, Michigan and Alaska. Combined, these states were home to 61 percent of the nation's American Indian and Alaska Native residents.
Source: Population estimates <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/population/cb09-76.html>

18%

The proportion of Alaska's population identified as American Indian and Alaska Native as of July 1, 2008, the highest rate for this race group of any state. Alaska was followed by Oklahoma (11 percent) and New Mexico (11 percent).
Source: Population estimates <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/population/cb09-76.html>

155,010

The number of American Indians and Alaska Natives in Los Angeles County, Calif., as of July 1, 2008. Los Angeles led all of the nation's counties in the number of people of this racial category.

Maricopa County, Ariz., added about 2,300 people to this group between July 1, 2007, and July 1, 2008, leading the nation's counties in this measure.
Source: Population estimates <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/population/cb09-76.html>

10

Among counties or equivalents with total populations of 10,000 or more, number that were majority American Indian and Alaska Native, as of July 1, 2008. Shannon, S.D., led the way, with 88 percent of its population being a member of this race group.
Source: Population estimates <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/population/cb09-76.html>

Families and Children

545,403

The number of American Indian and Alaska Native families in 2008. Of these:

  • 321,430 were married-couple families, including those with children.
  • 145,691 were married couples with their own children, under the age of 18.

Source: 2008 American Community Survey for the American Indian and Alaska Native alone population <http://factfinder2.census.gov>

3.64

Average number of people in an American Indian and Alaska Native family in 2008. This was larger than the national average size for all families, regardless of race (3.22 people).
Source: 2008 American Community Survey for the American Indian and Alaska Native alone population <http://factfinder2.census.gov>

Housing

55%

The percentage of American Indian and Alaska Native households who owned their own home in 2008.
Source: 2008 American Community Survey for the American Indian and Alaska Native alone population <http://factfinder2.census.gov>

$129,000

Median value of homes owned by American Indians and Alaska Natives.
Source: 2008 American Community Survey for the American Indian and Alaska Native alone population <http://factfinder2.census.gov>

Languages

29%

Percentage of American Indians and Alaska Natives 5 and older who spoke a language other than English at home.
Source: 2008 American Community Survey for the American Indian and Alaska Native alone population <http://factfinder2.census.gov>

Education

76%

The percentage of American Indians and Alaska Natives 25 and older who had at least a high school diploma. Also, 13 percent had at least a bachelor's degree.
Source: 2008 American Community Survey for the American Indian and Alaska Native alone population <http://factfinder2.census.gov>

57,146

Number of American Indians and Alaska Natives 25 and older who had a graduate or professional degree.
Source: 2008 American Community Survey for the American Indian and Alaska Native alone population <http://factfinder2.census.gov>

Businesses

$26.9 billion

Receipts for American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned businesses in 2002. These businesses numbered 201,387.

20,380

Number of American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned firms in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside combined statistical area, making that area number one in the metro category. Among counties, Los Angeles had the highest number of firms (13,061).

38,125

Number of American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned firms in California, which led the states. Oklahoma, Texas, New York and Florida followed.

Nearly 3 in 10

Number of American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned firms that operated in construction and other services (such as personal services, and repair and maintenance).

24,498

Number of American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned firms that had paid employees. These businesses employed 191,270 people.

3,631

Number of American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned firms with receipts of $1 million or more. These firms accounted for nearly 2 percent of the total number of American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned firms and more than 64 percent of their total receipts.

178

Number of American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned firms with 100 or more employees. These firms generated nearly $5.3 billion in gross receipts -- 24 percent of the total revenue for American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned employer firms.

New York; Los Angeles; and Gallup, N.M.

The three cities with the largest number of American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned firms, with 7,134; 5,767; and 2,642, respectively.

Source for data in this section: American Indian- and Alaska Native-Owned Firms: 2002 <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/business_ownership/cb06-97.html>
(Note: Preliminary estimates for 2007 will be published in July 2010 with final numbers scheduled for release in March 2011.)

Jobs

24%

The percentage of civilian-employed American Indian and Alaska Native people 16 and older who worked in management, professional and related occupations. In addition, 24 percent worked in sales and office occupations and about the same percentage worked in service occupations.
Source: 2008 American Community Survey for the American Indian and Alaska Native alone population. <http://factfinder2.census.gov>

Caregivers

56%

Percentage of American Indians and Alaska Natives 30 and older who lived with grandchildren and were responsible for their care. The corresponding rate for the population as a whole was 41 percent.
Source: 2008 American Community Survey for the American Indian and Alaska Native alone population. <http://factfinder2.census.gov>

Veterans

160,471

The number of American Indian and Alaska Native veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Source: 2008 American Community Survey for the American Indian and Alaska Native alone population. <http://factfinder2.census.gov>

Income and Poverty

$37,815

The median income of households from the 2008 American Community Survey where the householder reported being American Indian and Alaska Native and no other race.
Source: 2008 American Community Survey for the American Indian and Alaska Native alone population. <http://factfinder2.census.gov>

24.2%

The 2008 poverty rate of people who reported they were American Indian and Alaska Native and no other race.
Source: 2008 American Community Survey for the American Indian and Alaska Native alone population. <http://factfinder2.census.gov>

Health Insurance

31.7%

The percentage of people who reported they were American Indian and Alaska Native and no other race who lacked health insurance coverage, based on a three-year average (2006-2008).
Source: Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2008, <http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/income_wealth/cb09-141.html>

Following is a list of observances typically covered by the Census Bureau’s Facts for Features series:

  • African-American History Month (February)
  • Super Bowl
  • Valentine's Day (Feb. 14)
  • Women's History Month (March)
  • Irish-American Heritage Month (March)/
          St. Patrick's Day (March 17)
  • Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (May)
  • Older Americans Month (May)
  • Cinco de Mayo (May 5)
  • Mother's Day
  • Hurricane Season Begins (June 1)
  • Father's Day
  • The Fourth of July (July 4)
  • Anniversary of Americans With Disabilities Act (July 26)
  • Back to School (August)
  • Labor Day
  • Grandparents Day
  • Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15)
  • Unmarried and Single Americans Week
  • Halloween (Oct. 31)
  • American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month (November)
  • Veterans Day (Nov. 11)
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • The Holiday Season (December)

Editor’s note: The preceding data were collected from a variety of sources and may be subject to sampling variability and other sources of error. Facts for Features are customarily released about two months before an observance in order to accommodate magazine production timelines. Questions or comments should be directed to the Census Bureau’s Public Information Office: telephone: 301-763-3030; fax: 301-763-3762; or e-mail: <PIO@census.gov>.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | PIO@census.gov | Last Revised: September 01, 2014