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WASHINGTON — On Thursday, the US Census Bureau released demographic data from the Census 2020 that shows tremendous growth in the American Indian and Alaska Native population from 2010 to 2020.

The data released reflects that the American Indian and Alaska Native population, when counted alone and not combined with any other race, was 3.7 million, which is 1.1 percent of the total population of the United States. In 2010, there were 2.9 million American Indians and Alaska Natives. The growth rate over the past decade was a 27.1 percent increase.

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More astounding was that the American Indian and Alaska Native in combination population increased by 160 percent from 2010 to 2020. The combination population was 9.7 million people — or 2.9 percent of the total population — up from 5.2 million in 2010.

“NCAI is excited to see the 2020 Census results that show a more diverse America,” National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) President Fawn Sharp. said. 

“We are also excited that the official redistricting season can now begin with today’s release of the redistricting data. We are encouraging all Tribal Nations to participate in their local and state redistricting efforts to ensure that Tribal Nations are fairly represented and have access to the resources they need and deserve.”

For the Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander populations also saw double-digit growth in their communities. The Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone population grew by 27.8 percent between 2010 and 2020. In comparison, the Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander in combination population grew faster — 30.8 percent since 2010.

The data reveals that the country has become less white over the last decade, with the white population decreasing by 8.6 percent. 

Consequently, this data could influence and affect how congressional districts are determined over the next 10 years.  While the data shows population growths among AIANs and other people of color, there are justified concerns that this census may not fully reflect the nation’s growing diversity because of politicized tactics that discouraged people of color from participating in the 2020 Census.

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