Prior to European contact in 1492, between 7 and 18 million people lived north of the Rio Grande on the continent that would become North America. As European invaders brought disease, war, displacement, and slavery to the New World, an estimated 90% of the native population was killed around the turn of the 17th century.
The Native American population in the United States dropped to its lowest point around 1900, when it was estimated that around 237,000 Native Americans lived in the country. The native population of the United States has slowly recovered since then.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are now about 6.79 million Native Americans living in the United States — about 2.9% of the U.S. population — and 574 federally recognized tribes. Here is the number of Native Americans in each state.
24/7 Tempo looked at each state’s largest Native American population by tribe, using data from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Native Hawaiians are not represented in the data, and some tribes, including the Penobscot and Wampanoag, were not counted separately in the census.
People who identify as Cherokee are the largest native population in 22 states, according to Census Bureau data.
Alaska’s population includes 15% of residents who identify as Native American or Alaska Native – the highest percentage of any state – with over 34,000 Yup’ik and over 23,000 Inupiat.
In numbers, Arizona has the largest population of Native Americans – approximately 317,414 people – with over 152,000 Navajo and over 29,000 Apache. Meanwhile, California comes next, with 303,998 people identifying as Native American. Find out how California and all other states got its name.
Click here to see the largest Native American population in each state
Click here to read our detailed methodology