Skip to main content
Sign In

University of Colorado Denver

Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health
 
 
 

Center for Native Oral Health Research

Oral Health Demographics of the American Indian Population


Demographics

  • 5.2 million individuals identified as American Indian (1.7% of the US population)
  • American Indians live predominantly in the West (43%) and South (31%)
  • Approximately  40%  of  American Indians live on reservations
  • 560 American Indian tribes and communities recognized by US Government.  Tribes are legally sovereign nations.
  • American Indian groups reflect great cultural diversity, with differences in language, culture and customs
  • Median age is 29 compared to 35 for the US as a whole
  • Approximately 33% are under 18 (compared to 26% of overall US population)
  • 6% are 65 or older (12% for US)
  • 71% of American Indians have at least a high school education and 11% at least a baccalaureate degree, (compared to 80% and 24%, respectively)
  • 2006, the overall poverty rate for American Indians is 26%, compared to 12% of the US generally.
 

Health Disparities of the American Indian Population Compared with the General US Population

  • Life expectancy is 6 years less
  • Infant mortality rate is 21% higher
  • Injuries are 3.4 times higher
  • Tuberculosis is 4.4 times higher
  • Alcoholism is 7.5 times higher
  • Diabetes is almost 4 times higher
  •  CHD is 2 times higher
  • CVD rates are rising, and CVD appears to be more fatal
  • Higher mortality from all cancers than other groups
  • Higher risks:
  • Obesity in  WIC children is nearly double
  • Smoking is more prevalent (36% vs 23%)
  • Adults are less likely to report regular exercise (50% vs 37%) 
 

Oral Health Disparities among the American Indian Population

  • Results from IHS Oral Health Surveys show early childhood caries continues to increase
  • Children (ages 2-5) are 3+ times more likely to have untreated decay  (68% vs 19%)
  • Adults have significantly more periodontal disease
  • Nearly 25% of adults over 65 are completely edentulous.
University of Colorado Denver

© The Regents of the University of Colorado, a body corporate. All rights reserved.

All trademarks are registered property of the University. Used by permission only.