A Portrait of American Indian and Alaska Native Children and Families

OPRE Report #2018-70
Publisher: Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Jul 31, 2018
Authors
Meryl Yoches Barofsky, Nina Chien, Lizabeth Malone, Sara Bernstein, and Kaitlyn Mumma

Key Findings:

  • There are approximately 451,000 AI/AN young children in the United States.
  • Almost half of AI/AN young children live with both parents.
  • Almost one-third of AI/AN young children live in households below the federal poverty line (FPL).
  • Almost three-quarters of AI/AN young children live in households where at least one household member has some college education or higher.
  • Almost all AI/AN young children have at least one household member working either full or part time.
  • About one-fifth of AI/AN young children attended nursery or preschool in the past three months.
  • Almost one-third of AI/AN young children are enrolled in a health insurance program through a parent’s employer or union, and almost 60 percent are enrolled in health insurance through Medicaid or any kind of medical assistance plan.
  • Almost half of AI/AN young children lived with a parent who purchased health insurance through an employer or union, and about one-third lived with a parent who was enrolled in health insurance through Medicaid or any kind of medical assistance plan.

There is little national data about the need for early childhood and health services for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) children. The American Indian and Alaska Native Early Childhood Needs Assessment project was initiated in 2015 to develop three designs for future studies to inform a national early childhood needs assessment for AI/AN children. The designs aim to 1) describe AI/AN children under 5 (not yet in kindergarten; hereafter referred to as “AI/AN young children”) and their families, 2) explore early childhood services organization and delivery for AI/AN children, and 3) assess communities’ capacity for conducting their own needs assessments.

This brief summarizes findings from the implementation of the first design, which used existing data to create a national picture of the AI/AN population of young children and their families, and their access to and participation in early childhood services using the 2010–2014 American Community Survey.