This section provides a demographic overview of the American Indian/Alaska Native population as a context for the education indicators appearing in the other sections of this publication. Demographic changes may have a direct or indirect impact on education statistics. For example, increases in the population of young children of any specific group have a direct impact on enrollment since nearly all young children are enrolled in school. In addition, increases in the number of children living in poverty are important since children living in poverty tend to have lower educational achievement than children who are not living in poverty (Maruyama 2003).
Data in this section provide information that is useful for understanding the general environment of American Indian/Alaska Native children. These data are included to help frame the education data in a broader context of social conditions.
Information on children's health risks is important in understanding the general social environment of American Indian/Alaska Native children. Information on family structure provides additional context. These social condition variables are related to the socioeconomic status of children, which is an important factor associated with student achievement (Chaikind and Corman 1991; McLanahan 1997).