Native American Heritage Month

October 25, 2021

11 Facts about Native Americans

Get the facts on the lives of Native Americans today

November is Native American Heritage Month — a time to reflect on the contributions and celebrate the cultures of America’s Indigenous peoples. It’s also an opportunity to examine the present. Below are 11 facts about the lives of Native Americans in the U.S. today, based on data from U.S. Census Bureau, the Department of Education, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the National Congress of American Indians.

1) 2% of the U.S. population identifies as American Indian or Alaska Native, as of 2019.

That’s around 6 million Americans. Learn more.

2) Alaska has the largest share of Native American residents, totaling 20% of the state’s population.

This includes people who identify as American Indian or Alaska Native. Oklahoma follows with 14%. Learn more.

3) 1 million Native Americans identify with the Cherokee Nation — making it the most common tribal affiliation in the United States.

The second most common affiliation is the Navajo Nation, with almost 420,000 Americans identifying as Navajo. Learn more.

4) 574 the number of federally recognized American Indian tribes, as of January 2021.

The most recent addition was the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana, which gained federal recognition in 2019. Learn more.

5) 324 the number of federally recognized American Indian reservations, as of 2019.

This includes both reservations and other trust lands, comprising about 100 million acres. Learn more here and here.

6) 16% of American Indians and Alaska Natives age 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher, as of 2019.

By contrast, 33% of all Americans are similarly educated. Learn more.

7) 54% of American Indian and Alaska Native households own their own home, as of 2020.

In comparison, the national homeowner rate is 67%. Learn more.

8) 23% of American Indians and Alaska Natives lived in poverty in 2019.

Overall, 12% of Americans lived in poverty in 2019. Learn more.

9) 0.4% of U.S. businesses are owned by American Indians and Alaska Natives, as of 2018.

This amounts to 24,433 American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned businesses nationwide. Learn more.

10) 59% of American Indian and Alaska Native Americans age 16 and older participated in the labor force in 2019.

This is slightly lower than the total U.S. labor force participation rate (64%). The labor force includes people who are either working or actively looking for work. Learn more.

11) 20% of American Indian and Alaska Native children ages 3 to 18 did not have internet access at home in 2018.

Overall, 6% of American children the same age lacked internet access at home. Learn more.

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