The 2000 Census indicates that there are 4.1 million people who identify themselves as American Indian (either alone or in combination with other races) in the United States (U.S. Census Bureau, Census 2000). This is more than twice the count in the 1990 census of 1.9 Million. (It should be noted, however that in 1990 individuals were asked to list only one racial identification.) Researchers believe that self-identification of race by American Indian ( American Indian) respondents in Census counts since 1960 have dramatically increased.
The 1990 Census, however, contained a severe undercount of American Indian’s estimated to be 4.6%, and 12.2% in tribal areas due to inadequate data collection methods. (Passel, 1996). The number of older American Indians increased 69% between 1980 and 1990 and is projected to show an even more dramatic jump in the 2000 census.
The nation’s American Indian, Eskimo and Aleut population is projected to grow steadily to 2.4 million in 2000, 3.1 million in 2020, and 4.4 million in 2050. The proportion of the U.S. population that is American Indian, Eskimo or Aleut would rise to 1.1 percent in 2050.