American Indian and Alaska Native Areas

Hi, We are working on a project that examines the educational attainment and income levels in American Indian and Alaska Native Areas. For example, Pine Ridge Reservation, Navajo Nation Reservation and Off-Reservation Trust Land. We are using 5 year ACS data. We are having a hard time figure out which variables to use identify that. We would really appreciate any help.


It sounds like you are interested in identifying specific American Indian/Alaska Native/Hawaiian areas and reviewing summary statistics about those specific locations. For this application, I recommend using IPUMS NHGIS. IPUMS NHGIS provides summary tables of IPUMS USA data, including ACS 5-year samples at a variety of geographic levels. You can select data tables by different American Indian/Alaska Native/Hawaiian geographic areas. The geographic level labeled “American Indian Area/Alaska Native Area/Hawaiian Home Land” sounds like what you are looking for. This is the second geographic level listed under the Native American/Alaskan/Hawaiian tab when you click on “Geographic levels” in the NHGIS data finder. This brief video tutorial explains how to use the NHGIS data finder.

In the microdata, the geographic detail is much coarser and doesn’t allow you to identify these areas with the same level of specificity as in the tabular data. However, you may be interested in the IPUMS USA variable HOMELAND, which indicates if the household is in a PUMA (the lowest geographic unit identified in the public use microdata sample released by the Census Bureau) that includes any Census block that was designated as an American Indian, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian homeland area. In some cases you may be able to infer the specific location based on this information, but that will not be true in all cases. Additionally, it is important to note that HOMELAND doesn’t indicate that the household was in a homeland area, just that it is located in a PUMA that also includes at least one Census block designated as a homeland area.