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

The centerpiece of the assessment of American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) housing conditions is the first ever national survey of American Indian and Alaska Native households in tribal areas.

This survey sampled 1,340 AIAN households from 38 tribal areas and achieved a response rate of 60 percent. The survey offers information not available in existing census data sources, including estimates of electrical and heating problems, physical conditions problems, and the extent of “doubling up” among AIAN households in tribal areas.

The report contextualizes data from the household survey with information on demographic, social, and economic conditions and regional and historical comparisons based on the 2000 and 2010 decennial censuses and the 2006-10 American Community Survey (ACS). Analyses show that housing conditions are substantially worse among AIAN households than among all U.S. households, with overcrowding in tribal areas being especially severe.

Findings from a survey of 110 tribally designated housing entities, site visits to 22 tribal areas, and data on housing production before and after enactment of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self- Determination Act of 1996 (NAHASDA) show that tribes have produced and maintained low- income housing much more effectively since the passage of NAHASDA. Nominal dollars for the Indian Housing Block Grant have not been increased since 1996, however, leading to a substantial decrease in buying power. Limited funding is a key constraint for many tribes who could increase their rate of housing production if they had more funding.


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: