The nation’s Native American population has skyrocketed in the last two decades. From 2000 to 2022 the American Indian and Alaska Native population surged 77 percent, per a recent Axios analysis of census data.
This population growth perplexes Rogelio Saenz, a professor of demography at the University of Texas at San Antonio and a member of the U.S. Census Scientific Advisory Committee. “You’re talking about an American Indian/Alaska Native population that has very low fertility and no immigration for the most part,” he tells The Dispatch. It also has high maternal mortality rates. Those trends typically correlate with a demographic bust, not a boom.
Which raises the question: What’s driving this staggering population growth?
‘The way people themselves identify is fluid.’