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Population of Indians on the rise

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Recently released figures from the 2000 Census again show that the American Indian population is increasing at a faster rate than the overall U.S. population. American Indians make up the majority of the population in many counties. In 19 states, the American Indian population exceeds the U.S. average of 1.5 percent.

People identifying themselves solely as American Indian increased 26 percent, twice the rate of the nation as a whole. People reporting American Indian lineage combined with at least one other race or ethnicity rose by 110 percent. The total U.S. population grew by 13 percent ? from 248.7 million in 1990 to 281.4 million in 2000.

In the U.S., 2.5 million people or 0.9 percent identified as only as Indian or Alaska Native. Some 1.6 million people reported Indian or Alaska Native and at least one other race. In all, 4.1 million people reported as solely Indian, Alaska Native, or a combination of Indian, Alaska Native with another race. The most common combinations of intermarriage were Indian and white (66 percent), Indian and black (11 percent), Indian, white and black (6.8 percent), Indian and some other race or ethnicity (5.7 percent).

The 10 states with the largest Indian populations are California, Oklahoma, Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, New York, Washington, North Carolina, Michigan and Alaska. California and Oklahoma have the highest numbers of American Indians and Alaska Natives. About 628,000 people who identified themselves as American Indian or Alaska Native live in California; 392,000 live in Oklahoma. In Arizona 256,000 residents claimed only Native American, while 37,000 claimed Indian with another ancestry, for a total of 293,000. Navajos, with a total of 298,000 people, reported the least level of mixed race, just under 10 percent.

In what the Census calls "Indian Tribal Groupings: 2000," the government counts the population of the 10 largest "groupings." The figures here include mixed and only Indian combined in each grouping: Cherokee are largest, with 729,533; Navajo, second with 298,197, then; Latin American Indian, 180,940; Choctaw, 158,774; Sioux, 153,360; Chippewa, 149,669; Apache, 96,833; Blackfeet, 85,750; Iroquois, 80,882; Pueblo, 74,085.

Cities with the largest Indian populations were New York City (87,241) and Los Angeles, (53,092). Cities with overall populations over 100,000, with the highest percentage of Indians or Alaska Natives were Anchorage, Ala. (10.4 percent); Tulsa, Okla. (7.7 percent); Oklahoma City (5.7 percent); Albuquerque, N.M. (4.9 percent); Green Bay, Wis. (4.1 percent); Tacoma, Wash. (3.6 percent); Minneapolis, Minn. (3.3 percent); Tucson, Ariz. (3.2 percent); Spokane, Wash. (3 percent), and Sacramento, Calif. (2.8 percent).

The majority of Indians, 43 percent, live in the West. According to the Census, 31 percent live in the South, 17 percent in the Midwest and 9 percent in the Northeast. The highest percentages are in the Southwest, with majorities in many counties around the Four Corners area that designates the boundaries of Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. In Utah, the Indian population grew from 24,283 in 1990 to 40,445 a decade later.

More information is available at www.census.gov/population/www/cen2000/briefs.html.