Regionally speaking, nearly half of the projected increase in American Indians between 1995 and 2025 would be added in the West. The Census Bureau projects that in the Northeast, Midwest and West, this group will grow faster over this period than either Whites or African Americans. In the South, its population would increase faster than that of Whites.

There are at least 558 different federally recognized tribes/nations and 126 tribes/nations applying for recognition. At the time of first contact with Europeans, the continental United States was fully occupied by Indian Nations, and some 300 Indian languages existed, approximately 106 of which are still spoken. The diversity and heterogeneity of the American Indian community cannot be overstated.

States with Largest Concentration of American Indian Older Adults

Preliminary data from Census 2000 including multiple racial identification indicate that California now has the greatest number of American Indian elderly population, followed by Oklahoma, Arizona, Texas and New Mexico (Garretts, Personal Communication, 2001).