Race and Social Problems

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 120–134 | Cite as

Demographic Factors Associated with Poverty among American Indians and Alaska Natives

  • Kimberly R. Huyser
  • Isao Takei
  • Arthur Sakamoto


Using data from the American Community Survey for the period 2006–2010, this study provides up-to-date demographic information about poverty among American Indians and Alaska Natives. Our analysis investigates both absolute poverty and relative poverty and distinguishes between four racial categories of American Indians and Alaska Natives including single-race American Indian; biracial white and American Indian; biracial black and American Indian; and other multirace American Indian. We also report results for thirty-seven of the largest self-reported tribal affiliations for single-race American Indians. In general, all of the American Indian and Alaska Native groups have higher levels of absolute and relative poverty rates compared to non-Hispanic whites. The problematic character of poverty among American Indian racial groups is underscored by their substantially higher odds of being poor (relative to non-Hispanic whites), even after statistically taking into account age, gender, education, metropolitan status, and region of residence. Significant variation across the thirty-seven tribal groups is evident, however, with single-race American Indians having the highest level of poverty. This variability suggests the need for future research into the various tribal affiliations and tribal economies.


Poverty Relative poverty American Indians Alaska Natives 



We thank the Population Research Center of the University of Texas and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at the University of New Mexico for excellent research support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kimberly R. Huyser
    • 1
  • Isao Takei
    • 2
  • Arthur Sakamoto
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA
  2. 2.College of International RelationsNihon UniversityMishimaJapan
  3. 3.Department of SociologyTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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