Tribal State Populations

Facts about American Indian & Alaskan Native State Population - Estimates of the pre-Columbian population of what today constitutes the United States of America vary significantly, ranging from 1 million to 18 million.

The lack of hard evidence or written records has made estimating the number of Native Americans living in what is today the United States of America before the arrival of the European explorers and settlers the subject of much debate. A low estimate arriving at around 1 million was first posited by anthropologist James Mooney in the 1890s, computing population density of each culture area based on its carrying capacity.

By the end of the twentieth century, however, a Henry Dobyns published his studies estimating the population to be 18 million, which takes into account the mortality rates caused by infectious diseases of European explorers and settlers against which Native Americans had no natural immunity. Dobyns combined the known mortality rates of these diseases among native people with reliable population records of the 19th century, to calculate the probable size of the original populations.

After the colonies revolted against Great Britain and established the United States of America, the ideology of Manifest destiny became integral to the American nationalist movement. In the late 18th century, George Washington and Henry Knox conceived of the idea of "civilizing" Native Americans in preparation of American citizenship. Assimilation (whether voluntary as with the Choctaw, or forced) became a consistent policy through American administrations. In the early 19th century, most Native Americans of the American Deep South were removed from their homelands to accommodate American expansion with some groups presently residing in Alabama, Florida, Lousianna, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee. By the American Civil War, many Native American nations had been relocated west of the Mississippi River. Major Native American resistance took place in the form of "Indian Wars," which were frequent up until the 1890s.

Native Americans today have a unique relationship with the United States of America because they can be found as members of nations, tribes, or bands of Native Americans who have sovereignty or independence from the government of the United States. Their societies and cultures still flourish amidst a larger immigrated American populace of African, Asian, Middle Eastern, and European peoples. Native Americans who were not already U.S. citizens were granted citizenship in 1924 by the Congress of the United States.

American Indian State Percentages

The 2005 U.S. Census Bureau estimated that about 1.0 percent of the U.S. population was of American Indian or Alaska Native descent. This population is unevenly distributed across the country: Native Americans formed more than one-tenth of the population of the states of Alaska and New Mexico, while in five states they constituted only 0.2% of the population. Below, the states (and the District of Columbia) are listed by the proportion of residents citing American Indian or Alaska Native ancestry, based on 2005 estimates:

Alaska - 16%,
New Mexico - 10.2%,
South Dakota - 8.8%,
Oklahoma - 8.1%,
Montana - 6.5%,
North Dakota - 5.3%,
Arizona - 5.1%,
Wyoming - 2.7%,
Washington - 1.7%,
Idaho - 1.4%,
Nevada - 1.4%,
Oregon - 1.4%,
Utah - 1.3%,
North Carolina - 1.3%,
Minnesota - 1.2%,
California - 1.2%,
Colorado - 1.1%,
Wisconsin - 0.9%,
Kansas - 0.9%,
Nebraska - 0.9%,
Texas - 0.7%,
Arkansas - 0.7%,
Maine - 0.6%,
Rhode Island - 0.6%,
Michigan - 0.6%,
Louisiana - 0.6%,
New York - 0.5%,
Alabama - 0.5%,
Vermont - 0.4%,
South Carolina - 0.4%,
Missouri - 0.4%,
Mississippi - 0.4%,
Delaware - 0.4%,
Florida - 0.4%,
Virginia - 0.3%,
District of Columbia - 0.3%,
Connecticut - 0.3%,
New Jersey - 0.3%,
Maryland - 0.3%,
Iowa - 0.3%,
Massachusetts - 0.3%,
Indiana - 0.3%,
Tennessee - 0.3%,
Illinois - 0.3%,
Hawaii - 0.3%; Native Hawaiian - 9%,
Georgia - 0.3%,
Kentucky - 0.2%,
New Hampshire - 0.2%,
Ohio - 0.2%,
Pennsylvania - 0.2%,
West Virginia - 0.2%

American Indian Topics