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Status and Trends in the Education of American Indians and Alaska Natives
Indicator 1.6: Individuals, Families, and Children in Poverty

Figure 1.6a. Percentage of individuals living in poverty, by age group and race/ethnicity: 2003
Percentage of individuals living in poverty, by age group and race/ethnicity: 2003
NOTE: To define poverty, the U.S. Census Bureau utilizes a set of money income thresholds that vary by family size and composition. A family, along with each individual in it, is considered poor if the family's total income is less than that family's threshold. The poverty thresholds do not vary geographically and are updated annually for inflation using the Consumer Price Index. The official poverty definition counts money income before taxes and does not include capital gains and noncash benefits (such as public housing, Medicaid, and food stamps). Race groups include persons of Hispanic origin.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, American Community Survey, unpublished data, 2003.

Figure 1.6b. Percentage of families with children under 18 living in poverty, by race/ethnicity: 1989, 1999, and 2003
Percentage of families with children under 18 living in poverty, by race/ethnicity: 1989, 1999, and 2003
1 2003 data are from the American Community Survey, rather than Decennial Census. Use caution in comparing these percentages to those from 1989 and 1999.
NOTE: To define poverty, the U.S. Census Bureau utilizes a set of money income thresholds that vary by family size and composition. A family, along with each individual in it, is considered poor if the family's total income is less than that family's threshold. The poverty thresholds do not vary geographically and are updated annually for inflation using the Consumer Price Index. The official poverty definition counts money income before taxes and does not include capital gains and noncash benefits (such as public housing, Medicaid, and food stamps). Race groups include persons of Hispanic origin.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Decennial Census, 1990 and 2000; American Community Survey, unpublished data, 2003.

Figure 1.6c. Percentage of American Indian/Alaska Native families living in poverty, by American Indian/Alaska Native Area: 1989 and 1999
Percentage of American Indian/Alaska Native families living in poverty, by American Indian/Alaska Native Area: 1989 and 1999
NOTE: Includes families with and without children under 18. Includes American Indians/Alaska Natives of Hispanic origin. To define poverty, the U.S. Census Bureau utilizes a set of money income thresholds that vary by family size and composition. A family, along with each individual in it, is considered poor if the family's total income is less than that family's threshold. The poverty thresholds do not vary geographically and are updated annually for inflation using the Consumer Price Index. The official poverty definition counts money income before taxes and does not include capital gains and noncash benefits (such as public housing, Medicaid, and food stamps). The U.S. Census Bureau divides American Indian/Alaska Native Areas into several categories. Federal American Indian reservations are areas that have been set aside by the United States for the use of tribes, the exterior boundaries of which are more particularly defined in the final tribal treaties, agreements, executive orders, federal statutes, secretarial orders, or judicial determinations. State reservations are areas established by individual states for tribes recognized by the state. Off-reservation trust lands (both federal and state) are areas for which the United States holds title in trust for the benefit of a tribe or for an individual Indian. The U.S. Census Bureau recognizes and tabulates data for reservations and off-reservation trust lands because American Indian tribes have primary governmental authority over these lands. Alaska Native village statistical areas are statistical entities that represent the densely settled portion of Alaska Native villages, which constitute associations, bands, clans, communities, groups, tribes or villages, recognized pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1972. Tribal designated statistical areas are statistical entities identified and delineated for the U.S. Census Bureau by federally recognized American Indian tribes that do not currently have a federally recognized land base (reservation or off-reservation trust land). A tribal designated statistical area may not be located in more than one state, and it may not include area within any reservation, off-reservation, Oklahoma tribal, Alaska Native village, or state designated American Indian statistical areas.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Decennial Census, 1990 and 2000.

A larger percentage of American Indian/Alaska Native individuals and families live in poverty than White individuals and families. The poverty rate among American Indian/Alaska Native families is highest among families on reservations.

Poverty poses a serious challenge to children's access to quality learning opportunities and their potential to succeed in school. Measuring poverty rates of individuals and of families highlights the patterns of children's poverty in the United States by identifying age groups, race groups, and types of families among which poverty is particularly prevalent.

One way to examine poverty is to look at poverty rates among individuals. The overall poverty rate for American Indian/Alaska Native individuals, including children, is generally higher than that for the total U.S. population. In 2003, the rates of poverty for American Indians/Alaska Natives (including those of Hispanic origin), Blacks, and Hispanics were higher than those for Whites. In particular, 43 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native children under the age of 5 lived in poverty, which was more than twice as high as the total U.S. population (21 percent).

Another way to examine poverty is to look at poverty rates among families. The race categories of families include families of Hispanic origin. In 2003, the poverty rate among American Indian/Alaska Native families with children under 18 (27 percent) was nearly twice that of all families with children under 18 (15 percent).

Households headed by females with no husband present are more likely to be poor than are married-couple households. Fifty-eight percent of all American Indian/Alaska Native female-headed families with children under 18 lived in poverty in 1989. By 2003, this number had decreased to 48 percent, but was still higher than the percentage of female-headed families in the total population that lived in poverty (36 percent). In 2003, some 14 percent of married-couple American Indian/Alaska Native families with children under 18 lived in poverty, double the percentage for married-couple families in the overall population (7 percent).

Poverty rates are especially high among American Indian/Alaska Native families who live in American Indian/Alaska Native Areas. In 1989, the poverty rate among all American Indian/Alaska Native families living on reservations and on off-reservation trust lands was over one and a half times as high as the poverty rate for families in the total American Indian/Alaska Native population (47 percent vs. 27 percent). By 1999 both percentages had decreased and the gap had narrowed to 14 percentage points, but families on reservations were still considerably more likely to be in poverty. Poverty rates of American Indian/Alaska Native families in Oklahoma tribal statistical areas and state designated American Indian statistical areas were similar to those for the total American Indian/Alaska Native population. Also, in Alaska Native village statistical areas, poverty rates for families were the same as for American Indians/Alaska Natives in the total U.S. population.

View Table View Table 1.6a

View Table View Table 1.6b

View Table View Table 1.6c



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