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Status and Trends in the Education of American Indians and Alaska Natives
Indicator 1.4: Age Distribution of the Population

The American Indian/Alaska Native population is younger, on average, than the general population.

In 2002, the median age for American Indians/Alaska Natives, including those of Hispanic origin, was 29 years, compared to 36 years for the general population. The median age of American Indians/Alaska Natives has increased by 3 years since 1990, from 26 to 29. Similarly, the median age of the general population has increased from 33 in 1990 to 36 in 2002.

An additional measure of the relative youth of the American Indian/Alaska Native population is the proportion of individuals under 18. Percentages for American Indians/Alaska Natives include those of Hispanic origin. In 2002, about one-third of American Indians/Alaska Natives were children under the age of 18 (32 percent) compared to about one-quarter of the total population (25 percent). A larger proportion of Hispanics were under the age of 18 in 2002 than American Indians/Alaska Natives (34 vs. 32 percent).

The percentage of American Indians/Alaska Natives under the age of 18 has declined by almost 7 percentage points, from 39 percent in 1980 to 32 percent in 2002. The percentage of the total population under 18 also decreased from 1980 to 2002 (from 28 percent to 25 percent) but the overall decrease was smaller (3 percentage points).

Several factors may have contributed to changes in the age distribution of the American Indian/Alaska Native population over the past 20 years. One potential explanation is the decline in birth rates among American Indian/Alaska Native women (see indicator 1.8).

View Table View Table 1.4a

View Table View Table 1.4b