Living Arrangements

Census 2000 identified 27% of American Indian women and 18% of American Indian men, age 60 and over, living alone. In 2000, about 34 percent of the American Indian population lived in American Indian areas. Two percent of the American Indian population lived in tribal areas, while 64 percent lived outside these tribal areas.

There are now more people who identify themselves as American Indian in urban areas (62%) than on reservations and other rural areas, according to the 2000 Census. In this urban American Indian subculture many of today’s elders have been part of the development of Pan-Indianism, where individuals from many different tribal backgrounds band together to preserve their cultural heritage and develop culturally relevant services, programs and activities (Straus & Valentino in Lobo & Peters, 2000). (See discussion of Pan-Indianism in Chronology of Selected Historical Events)

These urban elders are more likely to live alone than their reservation counterparts but less likely to live in poverty. Many are not served by the Indian Health Service (IHS).

Figure 2: American Indian and Alaska Native Population by Place of Residence

Note: *Percent distribution. Data based on sample. For information on confidentiality protection, sampling error, non-sampling error and definitions, see**Includes federal reservations and or off-reservation trust lands (20.9 percent, Oklahoma tribal statistical areas (9.3 percent), tribal designated areas (0.1 percent), state reservations (0.04 percent) and state-designation American Indian statistical areas (3.2 percent).

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Census 2000 Summary File 4