Fact Sheet: Hunger and Poverty in the Indigenous Community

October 1, 2018
Indigenous communities have some of the highest hunger rates in the United States. Credit: iStock

The median income of Native American households is nearly $30,000 less than the median income of white households.

More than 5.5 million Indigenous people live in the United States from more than 560 Indian Nations. Many are part of federally or state recognized tribes.

They include Native Americans and Alaskan Natives. Indigenous communities live in pueblos, tribes, and communities, in rural reservations as well as cities, across 33 states, including Alaska.

Indigenous communities have some of the highest hunger rates in the United States. As a group, one in four Native Americans and Alaskan Natives are food insecure, defined as not having regular, reliable access to the foods needed for good health. 

Hunger among Indigenous communities is a direct result of poverty and of systemic inequities through racial and gender discrimination. While the United States has a poverty rate of 12.3 percent, Indigenous communities have a higher poverty rate–25.4 percent. The poverty rates are even higher among female-headed households (54 percent) and on some reservations (almost 40 percent).

Inequities that contribute to hunger and poverty in indigenous communities include:

  • Unemployment and low wages
  • Less access to education
  • Poor health and limited access to health care
  • Less access to credit
  • Higher incarceration rates
  • Impact of U.S. federal policies and Indian Nations sovereignty

Tools
from our Resource Library

For Education

  • Election Resources

    One of the best times to raise the issues of hunger and poverty is during election campaigns. Engage candidates in your state/district on hunger and poverty using our elections resources.
  • U.S. Hunger and Poverty State Fact Sheets

    These fact sheets provide a snapshot of hunger and poverty in the United States and in each state plus Washington, D.C. 

  • Conflict and Fragility Are Hunger Issues

    Conflict is a main driver of the recent increase in hunger around the world and of forced migration. Hunger also contributes to conflict.

For Faith

  • The Bible on Health as a Hunger Issue

    “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in faith.” These words from Colossians 2:6 remind us of the faith that is active in love for our neighbors.

    The Bible on...

  • Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty

    A diverse body of Christian leaders calls on the churches and Congress to focus on the integral connection.

    Dear Members of Congress,

    As the president and Congress are preparing their plans for this year, almost 100 church leaders—from all the families of U.S. Christianity—are...

  • In Times Like These … A Pan-African Christian Devotional for Public Policy Engagement

    This devotional guide invites deepened relationship with and among Pan-Af­rican people and elected leaders in the mission to end hunger and poverty.

For Advocacy

Faith

African at Heart

November 22, 2019

Insight

From the Blog