General Points Of Interest
Today, the total population for American Indians alone is 1,865,118, a figure that increases to 2,475,956 after combining the total population for American Indians and Alaska Natives. The average family size for American Indians across the fifty states ranges from a low of 2.99 in West Virginia to a high of 4.18 in South Dakota (U.S. Census Bureau 2000). As far as birth rates, the American-Indian and Alaska Native birth rate for 1994–1996 (the latest available) of 24.1 births per 1,000 population was 63 percent greater than the United States in general, all races birth rate for 1995 of 14.8, and 70 percent greater than the rate for the U.S. white population of 14.2 (Indian Health Service 1998–99).
In terms of health-related concerns, statistics show that the top leading health problem areas among American Indians are: diseases of the heart, malignant neoplasms, accidents, diabetes mellitus, and chronic liver disease and cirrhosis. The two leading causes of death for American Indians and Alaska Natives (1994–1996) and the United States, all races and white populations (1995) were diseases of the heart and malignant neoplasms. Conversely, the ten leading causes of death for decedents of all ages among American Indians and Alaska Natives within the Indian Health Services (HIS) area, from 1994–1996 based on a rate per 100,000 population, were: (1) diseases of the heart,
(2) malignant neoplasms, (3) accidents, with motor vehicle accidents having the largest number, (4) diabetes mellitus, (5) chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, (6) cerebrovascular diseases, (7) pneumonia and influenza, (8) suicide, (9) chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, and (10) homicide and legal intervention (Indian Health Service 1998–99).