Largest Native American Population in Every State

November 22, 2017 by Joseph Gedeon

Source: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
Thousands of years before Leif Erikson and Christopher Columbus landed in America, a different group of people discovered the continent. While there are different theories as to how people first came to America, the crossing of the Bering Land Bridge that connected Asia and North America is the most widely accepted one.

Scholars estimate that by the time Europeans began to settle America, nearly 10 million people had already been living in the continental United States. That number fell sharply after colonization, due to wars and the spread of diseases.

“What is generally agreed upon is that Native American populations in the United States reached their lowest point in 1900, with fewer than 250,000 living at that time,” Dr. Maurice Crandall, an assistant professor of Native American Studies at Dartmouth, told 24/7 Wall St. in October.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed population data across the country using the U.S Census Bureau’s 2015 American Community Survey to identify the Native American tribe with the largest population in each state. Today, 5,516,157 Americans identify as at least half Native American, with over 2.5 million fully Native American. The Cherokee Nation are the most prevalent tribe in the country, comprising the majority indigenous population in 22 U.S. states.

American Indians mostly reside in sovereign nations within U.S. borders. Over time, many have moved to cities and towns outside reservations, increasing the Native population in different regions of the country.

The long history of forced relocation and later migration has also impacted the demographics of Native populations across the United States. In fact, each state’s largest tribe is not necessarily indigenous to that state. The Blackfeet Nation, for example, is the largest American Indian tribe in New Hampshire despite being originating in present-day Montana.

Hawai’i is altogether different from the continental United States. The state’s indigenous Pacific Islanders and native Hawaiians are not considered Native American as they are not related to the American Indian population that is found in the continental United States. Of the over 3,000 American Indians living in the state, nearly 500 are Cherokee, the most of any American Indian tribe.

Click here to see the largest native american population in every state

To identify the largest native population in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed population data from the U.S Census Bureau’s 2015 American Community Survey. All data are five-year estimates.

We excluded members of the population who did not identify as a member of any particular tribe or identified as members of two or more tribes. We also excluded those who identified with a tribe not shown separately in the Census data, such as the Abenaki, Catawba, Eastern Tribes, Kickapoo, Mattaponi, Quapaw, Shawnee, and Yuchi.

Source: Jacqueline Nix / Getty Images

1. Alabama
> Largest Native tribe: Cherokee (pop: 8,870)
> Total Native population: 23,850
> Total state population: 4,863,300

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Source: Andrew Burton / Getty Images
2. Alaska
> Largest Native tribe: Yup’ik (pop: 32,721)
> Total Native population: 101,313
> Total state population: 741,894

Source: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

3. Arizona
> Largest Native tribe: Navajo (pop: 145,393)
> Total Native population: 294,721
> Total state population: 6,931,071

Source: Brandonrush / Wikimedia Commons

4. Arkansas
> Largest Native tribe: Cherokee (pop: 7,274)
> Total Native population: 18,409
> Total state population: 2,988,248

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Source: David McNew / Getty Images

5. California
> Largest Native tribe: Mexican American Indian (pop: 40,588)
> Total Native population: 287,028
> Total state population: 39,250,017

Source: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

6. Colorado
> Largest Native tribe: Navajo (pop: 6,213)
> Total Native population: 50,008
> Total state population: 5,540,545

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Source: Three Lions / Getty Images

7. Connecticut
> Largest Native tribe: South American Indian (pop: 1,192)
> Total Native population: 8,908
> Total state population: 3,576,452

Source: LenSoMy / iStock

8. Delaware
> Largest Native tribe: Cherokee (pop: 394)
> Total Native population: 3,140
> Total state population: 952,065

Source: Edgar Sylvester / Getty Images

9. Florida
> Largest Native tribe: Cherokee (pop: 9,632)
> Total Native population: 54,569
> Total state population: 20,612,439

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Source: CC0 Creative Commons

10. Georgia
> Largest Native tribe: Cherokee (pop: 6,231)
> Total Native population: 25,887
> Total state population: 10,310,371

Source: Lance Cpl. Suzanna Lapi / U.S. Marine Corps photo

11. Hawaii
> Largest Native tribe: Cherokee (pop: 491)
> Total Native population: 3,012
> Total state population: 1,428,557

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Source: Maitra / Wikimedia Commons

12. Idaho
> Largest Native tribe: Shoshone (pop: 1,139)
> Total Native population: 20,504
> Total state population: 1,683,140

Source: Enzo Nguyen@Tercer Ojo Photography / iStock

13. Illinois
> Largest Native tribe: Mexican American Indian (pop: 3,320)
> Total Native population: 28,363
> Total state population: 12,801,539

Source: Alex Wong / Getty Images

14. Indiana
> Largest Native tribe: Cherokee (pop: 3,241)
> Total Native population: 14,793
> Total state population: 6,633,053

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Source: robertcicchett / Getty Images

15. Iowa
> Largest Native tribe: Sioux (pop: 1,467)
> Total Native population: 9,977
> Total state population: 3,134,693

Source: Jack Dykinga / Wikimedia Commons

16. Kansas
> Largest Native tribe: Cherokee (pop: 5,305)
> Total Native population: 24,022
> Total state population: 2,907,289

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Source: susan scholma / Wikimedia Commons

17. Kentucky
> Largest Native tribe: Cherokee (pop: 2,945)
> Total Native population: 9,063
> Total state population: 4,436,974

Source: faungg's photos / Flickr

18. Louisiana
> Largest Native tribe: Houma (pop: 8,261)
> Total Native population: 27,238
> Total state population: 4,681,666

Source: CC BY 4.0

19. Maine
> Largest Native tribe: Chippewa (pop: 139)
> Total Native population: 7,811
> Total state population: 1,331,479

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Source: Jerome Pollos / Stringer

20. Maryland
> Largest Native tribe: Cherokee (pop: 1,919)
> Total Native population: 15,579
> Total state population: 6,016,447

Source: Internet Archive Book Images / Wikimedia Commons

21. Massachusetts
> Largest Native tribe: South American Indian (pop: 1,068)
> Total Native population: 13,189
> Total state population: 6,811,779

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Source: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

22. Michigan
> Largest Native tribe: Chippewa (pop: 22,118)
> Total Native population: 53,951
> Total state population: 9,928,300

Source: David Ryder / Getty Images

23. Minnesota
> Largest Native tribe: Chippewa (pop: 33,695)
> Total Native population: 56,561
> Total state population: 5,519,952

Source: Smithsonian American Art Museum / Wikimedia Commons

24. Mississippi
> Largest Native tribe: Choctaw (pop: 8,529)
> Total Native population: 12,896
> Total state population: 2,988,726

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Source: tedpagel / Getty Images

25. Missouri
> Largest Native tribe: Cherokee (pop: 8,469)
> Total Native population: 24,951
> Total state population: 6,093,000

Source: Murray Foubister / Wikimedia Commons

26. Montana
> Largest Native tribe: Blackfeet (pop: 11,929)
> Total Native population: 65,693
> Total state population: 1,042,520

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Source: Jules Tavernier / Wikimedia Commons

27. Nebraska
> Largest Native tribe: Sioux (pop: 4,508)
> Total Native population: 16,319
> Total state population: 1,907,116

Source: Chris English / Wikimedia Commons

28. Nevada
> Largest Native tribe: Paiute (pop: 5,231)
> Total Native population: 31,393
> Total state population: 2,940,058

Source: Wikimedia Commons

29. New Hampshire
> Largest Native tribe: Blackfeet (pop: 399)
> Total Native population: 2,238
> Total state population: 1,334,795

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Source: David McNew / Getty Images

30. New Jersey
> Largest Native tribe: Mexican American Indian (pop: 1,795)
> Total Native population: 18,335
> Total state population: 8,944,469

Source: Rick Scibelli / Getty Images

31. New Mexico
> Largest Native tribe: Navajo (pop: 113,473)
> Total Native population: 190,528
> Total state population: 2,081,015

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Source: General Photographic Agency / Getty Images

32. New York
> Largest Native tribe: Iroquois (pop: 19,016)
> Total Native population: 74,793
> Total state population: 19,745,289

Source: Timothy L. Hale / U.S. Army

33. North Carolina
> Largest Native tribe: Lumbee (pop: 61,609)
> Total Native population: 116,143
> Total state population: 10,146,788

Source: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration / Wikimedia Commons

34. North Dakota
> Largest Native tribe: Chippewa (pop: 15,840)
> Total Native population: 38,286
> Total state population: 757,953

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Source: Airman 1st Class Michael Cossaboom / U.S. Air Force

35. Ohio
> Largest Native tribe: Cherokee (pop: 5,393)
> Total Native population: 21,646
> Total state population: 11,614,373

Source: Marcy Reiford / Flickr

36. Oklahoma
> Largest Native tribe: Cherokee (pop: 106,161)
> Total Native population: 279,276
> Total state population: 3,923,561

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Source: Marvin Lynchard / U.S. Department of Defense

37. Oregon
> Largest Native tribe: Cherokee (pop: 3,605)
> Total Native population: 46,258
> Total state population: 4,093,465

Source: Benjamin West / Wikimedia Commons

38. Pennsylvania
> Largest Native tribe: Cherokee (pop: 3,280)
> Total Native population: 23,641
> Total state population: 12,784,227

Source: Marvin Lynchard / U.S. Department of Defense

39. Rhode Island
> Largest Native tribe: Cherokee (pop: 425)
> Total Native population: 5,106
> Total state population: 1,056,426

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Source: Airman 1st Class Michael Cossaboom / U.S. Air Force

40. South Carolina
> Largest Native tribe: Cherokee (pop: 3,200)
> Total Native population: 14,966
> Total state population: 4,961,119

Source: Scott Olson / Getty Images

41. South Dakota
> Largest Native tribe: Sioux (pop: 62,600)
> Total Native population: 72,619
> Total state population: 865,454

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Source: Brian Stansberry / Wikimedia Commons

42. Tennessee
> Largest Native tribe: Cherokee (pop: 5,897)
> Total Native population: 17,802
> Total state population: 6,651,194

Source: Nicolas Henderson / Flickr

43. Texas
> Largest Native tribe: Cherokee (pop: 16,293)
> Total Native population: 126,493
> Total state population: 27,862,596

Source: Wolfgang Staudt / Wikimedia Commons

44. Utah
> Largest Native tribe: Navajo (pop: 15,674)
> Total Native population: 31,824
> Total state population: 3,051,217

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Source: Thinkstock

45. Vermont
> Largest Native tribe: Cherokee (pop: 149)
> Total Native population: 2,018
> Total state population: 624,594

 

Source: Mark Wilson / Getty Images

46. Virginia
> Largest Native tribe: Cherokee (pop: 3,669)
> Total Native population: 22,570
> Total state population: 8,411,808

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Source: Wellcome Images / Wikimedia Commons

47. Washington
> Largest Native tribe: Puget Sound Salish (pop: 12,249)
> Total Native population: 93,266
> Total state population: 7,288,000

Source: publicdomainpictures.net

48. West Virginia
> Largest Native tribe: Cherokee (pop: 1,387)
> Total Native population: 2,953
> Total state population: 1,831,102

Source: Capt. Brian Faltinson / Wisconsin National Guard

49. Wisconsin
> Largest Native tribe: Chippewa (pop: 15,736)
> Total Native population: 50,449
> Total state population: 5,778,709

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Source: Mario Villafuerte / Getty Images

50. Wyoming
> Largest Native tribe: Arapaho (pop: 5,237)
> Total Native population: 12,658
> Total state population: 585,501