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American Indian Children

2005 “American Indian Children” Population Reference Bureau, Report on America Series.

Between 1990 and 2000, the population of American Indian and Alaska Native children virtually doubled, largely reflecting changes to the 2000 Census that allowed respondents for the first time to identify their background as consisting of more than one racial or ethnic group.

Overall, 4.1 million people reported “American Indi an” or “Alaska Native” as their race on the 2000 Census, representing about 1.5 percent of the total U.S. population. About 2.5 million people identified themselves as only American Indian or Alaska Native, while another 1.6 million people identified themselves as American Indian or Alaska Native along with one or more other races.

Children make up 1.4 million of the total American Indian and Alaska Native population. Ofthese, 550,000 were identified as multiracial—Ame rican Indian and Alaska Native plus some other race. The remaining 850,000 were identified as only American Indian or Alaska Native.

American Indians and Alaska Natives are among the poorest groups in American society. In 1999, while the nation’s poverty rate stood at 13.6 percent for families with children (and 9.4 percent for white families with children), 27.0 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native families with children were in poverty. The poverty rate is even higher (32.4 percent) for American Indian and Alaska Native families with children under age 5.

American Indian and Alaska Native children have parents who are on average less educated and poorer than the parents of non Hispanic white children. Among older youth (ages 16 to 19), American Indians and Alaska Natives are more likely to be high school dropouts, jobless, and outside the civilian labor force than non-Hispanic white youth.

Only about one-third of American Indians and Alaska Natives live on designated reservations or tribal areas. Compared with single-race American Indian and Alaska Native children, multiracial American Indian or Alaska Native children are more likely to live with both parents, less likely to be in the care of grandparents, and more likely to live in households with higher incomes.

Population Reference Bureau, Report on America Series
2005