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Status and Trends in the Education of American Indians and Alaska Natives: 2008

NCES 2008-084
September 2008

1.1. Population Composition and Growth


In 2006, there were 4.5 million American Indians/Alaska Natives estimated in the United States, representing 1.5 percent of the total U.S. population.

Figure 1.1. Percentage of the resident population by selected race/ethnicity: Selected years, 1980 to 2006 and projections to 2050
Percentage of the resident population by selected race/ethnicity: Selected years, 1980 to
2006 and projections to 2050
NOTE: Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2000, Population Estimates Program, 1980 to 2000; Population Projections Program, 2001 to 2050; and Annual Estimates of the Population by Sex, Race and Hispanic or Latino Origin for the United States: April 1, 2000, to July 1, 2006 (NC-EST2006-03), released May 17, 2007.

In 2006, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated there were 4.5 million persons living in the United States who identified themselves as American Indian/ Alaska Native alone or in combination with one or more other races.1 Of these persons, 2.9 million were American Indian/Alaska Native alone and 1.6 million were American Indian/Alaska Native in combination with one or more other races. Of the American Indian/Alaska Native alone population, 2.3 million were non-Hispanic and 0.6 million were Hispanic. Of the American Indian/Alaska Native in combination with one or more other races population, 1.4 million were non-Hispanic and 0.2 million were Hispanic.

Data from the 2006 American Community Survey (ACS) provide additional information on the American Indian/Alaska Native population. In the 2006 ACS, respondents who selected American Indian/Alaska Native as their only race were then asked to provide the name of their tribe or village. Respondents who provided the name of a tribe or village were classified as American Indian or Alaska Native based on the origin of the tribe(s) and/or village(s). Respondents who did not provide a tribe or village were categorized as "tribe not specified. In 2006, the American Indian/Alaska Native alone population, including those who identified themselves as of Hispanic ethnicity, was about 81 percent American Indian and 4 percent Alaska Native, with 15 percent of American Indians/Alaska Natives not specifying their background beyond American Indian/Alaska Native.

The Census Bureau projects that the non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native alone population will grow from 2.1 million in 2000 to 3.2 million in 2050. The projected rate of increase between the years 2000 and 2050 for the American Indian/ Alaska Native population (54 percent) will exceed that for the White population (9 percent), but will be slower than the expected rate of increase for Hispanics (175 percent) and Asian/Pacific Islanders (230 percent) and slightly slower than the rate for Blacks (56 percent). The differences in the projected rates of increase indicate that the distribution of the population will change. According to these projections, the percentage of the population that is White will decrease from 69 to 53 percent between 2000 and 2050. The percentages of the population that are of other races/ethnicities, however, will increase during this period: Blacks, from 12 to 13 percent; Hispanics, from 13 to 24 percent, Asians/ Pacific Islanders, from 4 to 9 percent; and American Indians/Alaska Natives, from 0.7 to 0.8 percent.

View Table View Table 1.1a View Table View Table 1.1b View Table View Table 1.1c

1 "Alone" refers to respondents who selected American Indian/Alaska Native and not any other race category. "In combination with one or more other races" refers to respondents who selected American Indian/Alaska Native and one or more other race categories.

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