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Q:  

I am interested in the examining the American Indian populations. Do you have an idea if the ACS includes American Indians, on and off the researvations?

A:  

The American Community Survey has data for the following geographic type:

American Indian Area/Alaska Native Area/Hawaiian Home Land

For annual data, the geographic unit has to be 65,000+ in population. There are only 14 American Indian areas that meet this population threshold. However, another product is the 3-year data, which are updated on an annual basis. The 2005-2007 data were just released this fall and there are 39 American Indian Area/Alaska Native Areas that meet the 20,000+ population threshold.

One can also get population profiles for American Indians for various geographies using tabular data. This does not just include the broader American Indian category, but also includes specific sub-groups like Apache, Navaho, etc. These population profiles can go to smaller geographies like states, counties, and American Indian Area, etc., which allows one to examine specific American Indian population outside of reservations. However, one needs to be careful of sample sizes.

Finally, one can use microdata to create tables and run statistical models on individual level data. This allows one to create specific tables that are not included in the pre-tabulated data.

The American Indian population is a relatively small population, especially if one is interested in looking at specific tribes. Thus, the large samples one gets from the American Community Survey is really a good resource for examining this population. The ACS does not include many health and/or behavior measures so sometimes these sorts of questions are better addressed with a population-specific survey. Here is a link to data documentation for the ACS (which lists links to subject definitions for each year):

http://www.census.gov/acs/www/datadocumentation/documentationmain/

For the 2009 subject definitions, the first set of items are about the household. Starting on page 44 are the items that concern the individuals in the household.

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