The Landscape of Opportunity in Indian Country: A Discussion of Data from the Opportunity Atlas

Dr. Donna Feir, Research Economist

Published April 19, 2019

I use data from the Opportunity Atlas to gain a better understanding of intergenerational income mobility of Native peoples in the United States. The data from the Opportunity Atlas suggests that among people born from 1978 to 1983, Native peoples are the most over-represented category in the income distribution as adults and face a lower probability of reaching the top 20 percent of the income distribution than all other racial categories, regardless of parental income. The data also suggest that Native women experience the largest disparities in intergenerational income mobility. I also present evidence that the geographic pattern of income mobility is very different between Native peoples and whites and that Native children who grow up in Census tracts that are more highly affiliated with tribal lands experience greater upward income mobility. Finally, I discuss the limitations of using the Opportunity Atlas to study intergenerational income mobility in Indian country and the potential for future research.

Download Research Brief (pdf)