Housing Needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives in Urban Areas: A Report From the Assessment of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian Housing Needs

This study investigated issues related to housing among low-income American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIANs) living in urban areas. Methods included interviews with staff from social service organizations serving Native Americans in 24 sampled Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) and analysis of data from the 2000 and 2010 decennial census, the 5-year estimates from the American Community Survey (ACS) 2006-10, and the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA).

The study finds that sixty-five percent of those individuals who identify as AIAN alone live in an MSA. In MSAs that include tribal land, AIAN individuals are often the majority in the tracts within and near the reservation. On average, compared to the rest of the population in the 24 sampled MSAs, AIAN individuals are younger, poorer and less educated. AIAN households are more likely to include children and on average they occupy worse housing. Disparities between Native Americans and others, however, vary widely between MSAs.

Qualitative data drawn from interviews with service providers suggest that AIAN individuals leave their village or reservation due to lack of opportunities and that some people cycle back and forth between their tribal home and a nearby primary city. Factors contributing to urban homelessness include unemployment, unaffordable housing, and lack of supportive services for AIAN individuals who came to the city seeking medical care. Review of housing-related services available to Native Americans in MSAs found very few providers specialized to serve Native Americans and did not find any funding sources dedicated to supporting AIAN housing services in off-reservation MSAs.

Assessment of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian Housing Needs Overview

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research managed a congressionally mandated study of the housing needs of American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians. The study used several sources of information, including collecting new data from households and stakeholders. For copies of the survey instruments, please see the list of documents under “data collection tools.” In addition to the primary data collection, the study also includes an in-depth analysis of Census data and administrative data from HUD and other federal agencies.

The goal of the study is to provide clear, credible, and consistent information to assess the housing conditions in American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities. The study is intended to inform policy and allow HUD to serve tribes more effectively. 

The study has been completed. Published reports include: