The Availability of Local Jobs Varies Widely among American Indian Reservations

Dr. Richard Todd expands on earlier research, further finding that while reservations as a whole have a slight advantage over nearby counties in jobs per resident, this advantage reflects the high number of gaming and government jobs on a minority of reservations.

Richard M. Todd | Former Vice President and Advisor to the CICD

Published May 7, 2019


Previous CICD research showed, somewhat surprisingly, that American Indian reservations collectively have a slight advantage over nearby county areas in jobs per adult resident. This article further clarifies that the economic reality facing most American Indians on reservations is quite different. Instead, reservations’ overall edge in jobs per adult resident reflects the influence of a minority of reservations with very high job opportunities, primarily in gaming and government establishments. By contrast, most American Indians and Alaska Natives living on reservations experience low levels of local jobs per adult resident, compared to nearby county areas. This points to the ongoing need to expand and diversify employment opportunities on most reservations.

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