Native American Statistics in the United States




  • Native Americans have the lowest employment rate of any racial or ethnic group in the United States (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012).
  • In the poorest Native counties, only about 1/3 of men in Native American communities have full-time, year-round employment (Beal, 2004).


  • Native students are the only student population that did not improve their reading and math testing scores in grades 4 and 8 from 2005-2011 (The Education Trust, 2013).
  • High school graduation rates are also among the lowest of any population. In the states with the most American Indian and Alaska Native students, less than 50% of Native students graduate, on average. (The Civil Rights Project, 2010)

Housing & Infrastructure:

  • The percentage of homes that are overcrowded on reservations is 3-6 times higher than the percentage of overcrowded homes in the U.S. as a whole (Housing Assistance Council, 2013; U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 2003; U.S. Census, 2000).
  • As of 2011, there were over 120,000 tribal homes lacking access to basic water sanitation services (EPA, 2012).
  • It is estimated that almost 1 in 10 American Indian homes are without safe and reliable water (Indian Health Service, 2011).
  • More than 60% of the roads within the Indian Reservation Roads system are earth or gravel (NCAI, 2012).
  • Nearly a quarter of IRR bridges are classified as deficient.


* The prevalence of methamphetamine (ME) use among American Indians and  Native Alaskans (AI/NAs) is strikingly high in comparison to other  ethnic groups in the U.S 

  Almost 12 percent of the deaths among  Native Americans and Alaska Natives are alcohol-related — more than  three times the percentage in the general population, a new federal  report says.      


*Native Americans are incarcerated at a rate 38% higher than the national average.

  • Native American youths are 30% more likely than whites to be referred to juvenile court than have charges dropped, according to National Council on Crime and Delinquency.
  • Native Americans are more likely to be killed by police than any other racial group, according to the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice.
  • Native American men are incarcerated at four times the rate of white men;  Native American women are incarcerated at six times the rate of white  women.
  • Native Americans fall victim to violent crime at more than double the rate of all other US citizens. Eighty-eight percent of violent crime  committed against Native American women is carried out by non-Native  perpetrators.


*16  percent of students at Bureau of Indian Affairs schools in 2001 reported having attempted suicide in the preceding 12 months.

*8.4 percent of Native children are in foster care. 

*Violence, including intentional injuries, homicide and suicide account for 75% of deaths for American Indian youth age 12-20.

*High school dropout rates are double the national average over 50 percent in states with the highest Native populations.

*Death rates are 2 to 5 times the rate of Whites in the same age groups resulting from higher levels of suicide and a variety of risky behaviors.

*Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death and 2.5 times the national rate for youth in the 15-24 age group.

*22% of females and 12% of males reported to have attempted suicide in the past year.


Pine Ridge is the  Poorest County in the United States.


*Rapid City, South Dakota, is the nearest town of size (population approximately 57,700) for those who can travel to find work. It is located 120 miles from the Reservation. The nearest large city to Pine Ridge is Denver, Colorado, located some 350 miles away.

+97% of the population lives far below the U.S. federal poverty line with a median household income ranging between $2,600 and $3,500 per year.

*There is no industry, technology or commercial infrastructure to provide employment for its residents, contributing to its 90% unemployment rate.

*There is no public transportation available on the Reservation

*There are no banks, motels, discount stores, or movie theaters, and the one grocery store of moderate size is tasked with providing for the entire community>

*There is a 70% high school dropout rate.

*The average life expectancy on the Reservation is 47 years for men and 52 years for women.

*Teenage suicide rate is 150% higher than the U.S. national average.

*Infant mortality rate is the highest on this continent, and about 300% higher than the U.S. national average

*There’s an estimated average of 17 people living in each family home, a home that may only have two to three rooms. Some Reservation families are forced to sleep on dirt 33% of homes have no electricity or basic water and sewage systems, forcing many to carry (often contaminated) water from local rivers daily for their personal needs.