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The Multiracial Native American

Nearly half of American Indians and Alaska Natives report multiple races
  • January 30 2012

One of the most prominent findings of the 2010 U.S. Census is the number of Americans who identify themselves by multiple races. This trend continues in the Census Bureau’s count of Native Americans.

Almost half (44 percent) of the Native-American population, or 2.3 million people, reported being American Indian and Alaska Native in combination with one or more other races. This multiracial group grew by 39 percent from 2000 to 2010, according to the 2010 Census brief, The American Indian and Alaska Native Population: 2010.

Overall, 5.2 million people, or 1.7 percent of all people in the U.S., identified as American Indian and Alaska Native, either alone or in combination with one or more races. This population grew by 27 percent from 2000 to 2010. Those who reported being American Indian and Alaska Native alone totaled 2.9 million, an increase of 18 percent from 2000 to 2010. The multiple-race American Indian and Alaska Native population, as well as both the alone and alone-or-in-combination populations, all grew at a faster rate than the total U.S. population, which increased by 9.7 percent from 2000 to 2010.

A majority of the Native-American population lived outside of American Indian and Alaska Native areas. At the same time, most counties with relatively higher proportions of American Indians and Alaska Natives tended to be in close proximity to reservations, trust lands or Oklahoma tribal statistical areas. This was especially evident in counties throughout the West and in Oklahoma.

The 10 states with the largest American Indian and Alaska Native population in 2010 were California, Oklahoma, Arizona, Texas, New York, New Mexico, Washington, North Carolina, Florida and Michigan. Among these states, Texas (46 percent), North Carolina (40 percent) and Florida (38 percent) experienced substantial rates of growth in this population.

The largest number of people who identified with an American Indian tribal grouping, either alone or in combination, identified as Cherokee (819,000). The Navajo tribal grouping had the largest number of individuals who identified with one tribal grouping and no other race (287,000).

Among the largest American Indian tribal groupings, Blackfeet had the highest proportion who reported more than one tribal grouping or race at 74 percent.

 

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