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Brief Study Examines Native Economic Condition


July 17, 2009

Economic conditions among Alaska Natives are much better today than they were in 1970 -- but they still fall considerably below averages among other Alaskans and other Americans. That's the picture from a new analysis by Stephanie Martin and Alexandra Hill of Institute of Social and Economic Research.

Using mainly data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the researchers found:

  • Poverty among Alaska Natives is nearly double the U.S. average -- but it's only half what it was in 1970.
  • Even with the national unemployment rate at 9.5 percent, the rate among Alaska Natives is still estimated to be twice as high.
  • Many more Alaska Natives -- especially women -- have jobs now than in 1970, but the unemployment rate is actually higher. That's because the number of Alaska Natives in the job market has grown faster than the number of jobs. The Alaska Native population has more than doubled since 1970.
  • The median income of Alaska Native households is about two-thirds that of all Alaska households, and it's roughly 20 percent below that of all U.S. households. Still, the real (adjusted for inflation) median income of Alaska Native households is about 50 percent higher than it was in 1970.


On the Web:

The Changing Economic Status of Alaska Natives, 1970 - 2007 pdf (5 pages)


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