Census Counts in Indian Country

We Need an Accurate Census Count

Why it Matters


The Census is a keystone of our representative government. It measures the population so that seats in the US House of Representatives can be correctly divided among the states. It also is used in redistricting to draw the lines that link representatives to their constituents for the next ten years. Past undercounts of Native populations have deprived hundreds of thousands of Native Americans of their voice in government.


The distribution of more than $600 billion per year in federal money is tied to the census. The government calculates each geographic area’s level of education, income/poverty, and more to determine their funding level. Census numbers provide the base figures used in these formulas. This process determine the amount of funding provided to communities for programs like health care, infrastructure, housing, and education.

woman listening to girl's pulse

The United States Constitution requires that every person in the United States be counted—it is the basis of equal representation. However certain populations typically are undercounted, e.g, minorities, people in poverty, people living in non-traditional homes, people who speak a different language than English, and youth. One quarter of Native Americans live in areas described by the census as ‘hard to count.’ An inaccurate count has far-reaching effects most-often carried by our most vulnerable citizens.

Census Resources:

GRAPHICHelp Us Get Those Numbers Back Up
Cartoon of early Native Americans looking at the results of the 1491 census with findings of 100% Native Americans. Text: Help Us Get Those Numbers Back Up!
FLYERNatives Count 2020!
ARTICLEEnsuring Natives Count: Overcoming the 2020 Census Challenge
By James Thomas Tucker In the Arizona Attorney (State Bar of Arizona), April 2019

The challenges are tremendous to ensure that all Native Americans are fully and accurately counted. But they are not insurmountable….If we come together as a community, we can ensure that Natives Count in 2020.

Read the full article at the Arizona Bar website.

WEBSITEU.S. Census: Live Newsroom

Get the latest news from the US Census Bureau at https://www.census.gov/newsroom/census-live.html. The website shares news and information about Census Bureau surveys and data products .

WEBSITEU.S. Census : Hard to Count Communities

More than a quarter of Native Americans live in communities classified by the census as ‘hard to count.’  Visit the census mapping tool to find hard to count communities near you.

Text: Mapping Hard to Count (HTC) Communities for a Fair and Accurate 2020 Census. https://www.censushardtocountmaps2020.us