Native American Demographics

More than 500 years ago, Native Americans were the only people living in the continental United States. In 2006, Native Americans made up less than 0.8% of the population, or around 2.4 million people . Another 1.9 million can be added to that number if you consider those who are part-Native American. While there are many smaller tribes that still exist, the largest remaining tribes are the Cherokee, Navajo, and Lakota (known as Sioux).

Currently, there are over 300,000,000 people residing in the United States. 800,000 are considered full or part Cherokee and 70,000 of those live in Oklahoma as part of the Cherokee Nation. As a result, the percentage of Native Americans in Oklahoma is 7.9. Another 15,000 remain on ancestral land in North Carolina.

Around 450,000 Navajo Indians exist today. A little under half of them , around 180,000 as of 2000, currently live on a 16-million acre reservation that is located in northeast Arizona, northwest Mexico, and southeast Utah. 52% of the Navajo population is under the age of 29. Meanwhile, the Lakota are scattered throughout Minnesota, Nebraska, Montana, Wyoming, and North and South Dakota.

There are other extremely interesting numbers as well. 73% of Native American households are considered "family households", compared with 68% of other demographics. And the people in those households are quite a bit younger than is typical. 33% of Native Americans are under the age of 18, compared with 26% of other households. In fact, the median age of Native Americans surveyed living on reservations is 25 years, and the median age of Native Americans surveyed that lived outside reservations is 30 years.

For some reason, Native Americans are also less likely to graduate from high school. Only 71% of Native Americans graduate compared to 80% of other demographics. They are also statistically less likely to be employed in management, professional, and other similar positions. Most Native Americans speak English at home, while 28% of them speak another language.

Native Americans are also more likely to contract certain diseases in comparison to the general population. In particular, HIV/AIDS and diabetes are more common among Native Americans than other demographic groups. Type 2 diabetes affects 12.2% of Native Americans in the United States.

At one time, Native Americans were on the brink of total eradication, but Native American leaders fought hard to keep their heritage alive. Since then, their population has been making a pretty spectacular recovery.

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