Skip to main content

The statistics listed in the Reservation Profiles are based on data from two sources:

  1. The demographic statistics are based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS, specifically the ACS’s five-year average data for 2013–2017 for American Indian Areas, Alaska Native Areas, and Hawaiian Homelands, including their off-reservation trust lands, if any). Federally recognized reservations with at least 2,500 residents are included.1 The statistics labeled as “Reservation Totals” are sums or averages that cover only the reservations, areas, and homelands listed on this site; data from other reservations, areas, or homelands are not reflected in these statistics.

  2. The home loan statistics are based on data collected under Regulation C of the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), or HMDA data.

About the ACS data

Information about race in the ACS is self-reported by the individuals who are surveyed. Individuals who report a single race and identify as American Indian or Alaska Native (AIAN) alone are included here in the category denoted “AIANa.” Those who report multiple races and identify as AIAN in combination with other races are included here in the racial category denoted “AIANc.”

The tables of ACS variables used in the calculation of our statistics are listed below by topic. For more information, consult U.S. Census Bureau documents, such as the catalogs of ACS data definitions and ACS table definitions.

  1. Population: Tables B01001 (All), B01001C (AIANa), B02010 (AIANa and AIANc), Sex by Age
  2. Median Age: Tables B01002 (All) and B01002C (AIANa), Median Age by Sex
  3. Population Pyramid: Table B01001, Sex by Age
  4. Educational Attainment: Tables B15002 (All) and C15002C (AIANa), Sex by Educational Attainment for the Population 25 Years and Over
  5. Broadband Access: Tables B28002, Presence and Types of Internet Subscriptions in Household

    Note: For each geography, we calculate broadband access as Total With an Internet Subscription – Broadband of any Type over Total Population, or (variable B28002_004E)/(variable B28002_001E)

  6. Employment: Table B23025, Employment Status for the Population 16 Years and Over

    Note: We compute the civilian population 16 years old and over by subtracting those in the armed forces (variable B23025_006E) from the total (variable B23025_001E). We use this civilian population as the denominator in the civilian employment population ratio (with civilian employment, variable B23025_004E, as numerator) and the civilian labor force participation rate (with the civilian labor force, variable B23025_003E, as numerator). We compute the civilian unemployment rate as civilians officially unemployed (variable B23025_005E) divided by the civilian labor force (variable B23025_003E), expressed as a percentage.

    Official sources differ on the precise ACS definition of unemployment. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the ACS uses the concept “available to take a job if offered one” to define unemployment. (See Question 10 of the ACS Questions and Answers.) By contrast, the U.S. Census Bureau offers the following definition:

    Unemployed—All civilians 16 years old and over are classified as unemployed if they (1) were neither “at work” nor “with a job but not at work” during the reference week, and (2) were actively looking for work during the last 4 weeks, and (3) were available to start a job. Also included as unemployed are civilians who did not work at all during the reference week, were waiting to be called back to a job from which they had been laid off, and were available for work except for temporary illness. (Source)

  7. Median Household Income: Table B19013 (All) and Table B19013C (AIANa), Median Household Income in the Past 12 Months (in 2014 Inflation-Adjusted Dollars)
  8. Per Capita Income: Tables B19025 (All) and B19025C (AIANa), Aggregate Household Income in the Past 12 Months (in 2014 Inflation-Adjusted Dollars), and Tables B01001 (All) and B01001C (AIANa), Sex by Age

    Note: For each geography, we calculate per capita income as Aggregate Household Income in the Past 12 Months divided by Total Population, or (variable B19025_001E)/(variable B01001_001E) for all households and (variable B19025C_001E)/(variable B01001C_001E) for AIANa households.

  9. Per Capita Income by Source: Tables B19062, Aggregate Wage or Salary Income; B19063, Aggregate Self-Employment Income; B19064, Aggregate Interest, Dividends, or Net Rental Income; B19065, Aggregate Social Security Income; B19066, Aggregate Supplemental Security Income; B19067, Aggregate Public Assistance Income; B19069, Aggregate Retirement Income in the Past 12 Months; and B19070, Aggregate Other Types of Income; in each case for households over the previous 12 months and in 2015 inflation-adjusted dollars.
  10. Poverty Rate and Youth Poverty Rate: Tables B17001 (All) and B17001C (AIANa), Poverty Status in the Past 12 Months by Sex by Age

    Note: According to a U.S. Census Bureau document on ACS data, poverty status is determined by comparing annual income to a set of dollar values called poverty thresholds that vary by family size, number of children, and the age of the householder. If a family’s before-tax money income is less than the dollar value of their threshold, then that family and every individual in it are considered to be in poverty. For people not living in families, poverty status is determined by comparing the individual’s income to his or her poverty threshold. The poverty thresholds are updated annually to allow for changes in the cost of living using the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U). They do not vary geographically.

  11. Homeownership Rate: Tables B25003, Tenure

    Note: The homeownership rate is defined here as the number of owner-occupied housing units (variable B25003_002E) divided by the total number of occupied housing units (variable B25003_001E). It does not necessarily convey the percentage of individuals or the percentage of families who reside in an owner-occupied housing unit. (Source)

  12. Households with High Housing Cost Burden, by Income: Table B25106, Tenure by Housing Costs as a Percentage of Household Income in the Past 12 Months

    Note: High housing cost burden is defined as housing costs of 30 percent of income or more. For owner-occupied housing units, housing cost is defined as:

    … the sum of payments for mortgages, deeds of trust, contracts to purchase, or similar debts on the property (including payments for the first mortgage, second mortgages, home equity loans, and other junior mortgages); real estate taxes; fire, hazard, and flood insurance on the property; utilities (electricity, gas, and water and sewer); and fuels (oil, coal, kerosene, wood, etc.) … [and] also … where appropriate, the monthly condominium fee for condominiums … and mobile home costs … (personal property taxes, site rent, registration fees, and license fees). (Source)

In the figures shown on this site, owner-occupied units occupied by individuals or households with zero or negative income are included in the category of households with income less than $20,000 and housing costs in excess of 30 percent of income.

For renter-occupied housing units, the housing cost is gross rent, defined as “… the contract rent plus the estimated average monthly cost of utilities (electricity, gas, and water and sewer) and fuels (oil, coal, kerosene, wood, etc.) if these are paid by the renter (or paid for the renter by someone else)” (Source). In the figures shown on this site, rental units occupied by individuals or households with zero or negative income are included in the category of households with income less than $20,000 and housing costs in excess of 30 percent of income.

About the HMDA data

The HMDA was enacted by Congress in 1975 and implemented by the Federal Reserve Board’s Regulation C. In 2011, the rule-writing authority of Regulation C was transferred to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). This regulation applies to certain financial institutions, including banks, savings associations, credit unions, and other mortgage lending institutions.

Data on home-loan applications and outcomes are collected under Regulation C and provide the public information that can be used to assist in:

  • Assessing whether financial institutions are serving the housing needs of their communities;

  • Distributing public-sector investments so as to attract private investment to areas where it is needed; and

  • Identifying possible discriminatory lending patterns.

According to Bhutta, Laufer, and Ringo (2017),

The HMDA data are the most comprehensive source of publicly available information on the U.S. mortgage market, providing unique details on…the disposition of each application for mortgage credit; the type, purpose, and characteristics of each home mortgage that lenders originate or purchase during the calendar year; the census-tract designations of the properties related to those loans; loan pricing information; personal demographic and other information about loan applicants, including their race or ethnicity and income; and information about loan sales.

However, Bhutta, Laufer, and Ringo note that, for two main reasons, “…the HMDA data do not provide universal coverage of residential mortgage lending in the United States.” The first reason is that

…not all lenders are required to report data. Among deposit-taking institutions like banks, the smallest institutions as well as institutions without any branches in a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) do not have to report data. Among institutions that take no deposits, nonprofits, smaller institutions, and those that operate entirely outside of an MSA also do not have to report data.2

The second reason is that not all types of mortgage originations were reported under the rules applying before 2018.3 Before that year, lenders did not report mortgages that were not for the purpose of purchasing a residential property, refinancing an outstanding mortgage, or making home improvements. For example, home equity lines of credit and mortgages taken out solely to finance education expenses were not reported before 2018.

Despite these omissions, Bhutta, Laufer, and Ringo used data from a major credit bureau to estimate that “the number of first-lien home-purchase and refinance loans in the HMDA data is approximately 90 percent of the number reported in consumer credit files.”4 In some rural areas, however, HMDA’s coverage of mortgage applications may be lower. (Williams 2015).

For more information about the HMDA data, see the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council’s HMDA-related web pages titled “Background and Purpose” and “A Guide to HMDA Reporting: Getting It Right!

About the HMDA statistics in the Reservation Profiles

The most detailed spatial data included in the loan records collected under HMDA is the census tract of the property to be financed.5 Because census tract boundaries frequently do not align with reservation boundaries, we are unable to compute HMDA statistics that exactly correspond to each reservation’s area. Instead, for each profiled reservation, we report statistics for all of the census tracts that overlap the reservation and have certain types of HMDA-reported loan application activity (see below) in calendar years 2013-2017. In most cases, the statistics reflect both activity on the specified reservation and activity nearby but in the off-reservation parts of census tracts that lie both on and off the reservation.

The HMDA figures in the Reservation Profiles are based solely on HMDA-reported loan applications for first-lien, home-purchase loans on owner-occupied properties. Applications for home improvements or to refinance an existing mortgage are not included. The included applications cover both manufactured homes and site-built (i.e., not manufactured) homes, as indicated in the figures.6 HMDA data on multifamily homes (five or more units) are not included.

Furthermore, only three possible application outcomes are considered: “Loan originated,” or a loan application that results in a loan being made; “Denied,” or an application that the lender turns down; and “Not accepted,” or a loan application approved by the lender but not accepted by the borrower. Other outcomes reported in the HMDA data, such as applications that are incomplete or withdrawn, are omitted. The loan denial rates shown are based on “Denied” divided by the sum of “Denied” plus “Loan Originated” plus “Not Accepted.”

Also shown are loan numbers broken out by the federal agency that guarantees them—the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the Rural Housing Service (RHS), the Veterans Administration (VA), or Other. Other includes loans guaranteed by other federal agencies (for example, HUD 184 mortgages extended to tribal members), non-federally-guaranteed mortgages,7 and non-mortgage home loans (for example, the personal property, or chattel, loans used to finance many manufactured-home purchases).

The HMDA data include detailed reporting options for the ethnicity and race of the primary loan applicant and up to one co-applicant. Ethnicity is classified as either Hispanic or non-Hispanic. Race may be single or multiple, with up to five races (American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black, Pacific Islander, or White). In the Reservation Profile figures, this array of information is reduced to four mutually exclusive categories, defined as follows:

  • American Indian or Alaska Native (AIAN): Includes applications and loans in which

    • The primary applicant is ethnically not Hispanic and racially AIAN only or AIAN and White, and

    • If a co-applicant exists, the co-applicant is ethnically not Hispanic and racially AIAN only or AIAN and White.

  • Non-Hispanic White:

    • The applicant is ethnically not Hispanic and racially White only, and

    • If a co-applicant exists, the co-applicant is ethnically not Hispanic and racially White only.

  • Other:

    • No applicant is racially AIAN (alone or in combination with other races), and

    • At least one applicant is either ethnically Hispanic or racially non-White (alone or in combination with White), or both.

  • AIAN w. Other:

    • All other cases.


Bhutta, Neil, Steven Laufer, and Daniel R. Ringo. 2017. “Residential Mortgage Lending in 2016: Evidence from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act Data.” Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Federal Reserve Bulletin, 103:6 (Nov.).

Williams, Michael. 2015. “HMDA Coverage of the Mortgage Market.” Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy.


1 We do not report results for smaller reservations because ACS statistics for small populations have large margins of error. To conveniently view ACS statistics for a broader set of reservations, see either the ACS Narrative Profiles in the category “American Indian Area/Alaska Native Area/Hawaiian Home Land” or the U.S. Census Bureau’s My Tribal Area tool. The latter site takes the approach of showing both the official estimate and its margin of error. It is important to consider the margins of error in general but especially when looking at results for small populations.

2 Under the rules in force in 2017, depositories with less than $44 million in assets and nondepositories that had less than $10 million in assets and originated fewer than 100 home-purchase and refinance loans in the previous year were not required to report. For additional details, see the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council’s “A Guide to HMDA Reporting: Getting It Right!” web page.

3 A summary, including the new rules taking effect in 2018, is available here.

4 Bhutta, Laufer, and Ringo (2017) state that the “dollar volume of first-lien home-purchase and refinance loans for one- to four-family properties reported under HMDA is about 94 percent of the dollar volume of first-lien home-purchase and refinance originations estimated by Equifax for 2016.”

5 In some cases, lenders are not required to report the census tract of the property securing the loan. (See, for various years, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council’s “A Guide to HMDA Reporting: Getting It Right!”)

The exceptions are generally for certain small lenders (if the property is not in an MSA where it has a home or branch office), properties in counties with population below 30,000, and loans on mobile or manufactured homes when the final location is not available. For the 2012–2016 period, the percentage of HMDA records with missing census data exceeded 10 percent of total records in 145 counties. Fifteen of those counties overlapped a federally recognized Indian reservation. However, the consequences seem at most mildly problematic in all but one case, either because total HMDA-reported loan applications in the county are small (less than 10) or because fewer than 20 percent of the county’s records lack census tract information. The exception is Rio Arriba County in New Mexico, where 51 of 131 (28 percent) of the 2012–2016 HMDA records did not include census tract information. HMDA statistics shown here for the Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo and Jicarilla Apache Indian Reservation, which overlap Rio Arriba County, are potentially affected by this missing census tract information in Rio Arriba County and could be significantly incomplete. The majority of the county’s records with missing tract information were reported by 21st Mortgage, one of the largest manufactured-home loan providers in Indian Country. See Kevin Johnson and Richard M. Todd (2017), “Manufactured-Home Lending to American Indians in Indian Country Remains Highly Concentrated.”

6 Our “site-built” category corresponds to the category “one- to four-family” in the official HMDA data; it includes homes assembled on site using prefabricated panels. We follow the HMDA definition of manufactured homes, which relies on the federal building code for factory-built housing established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The HUD code requires generally that manufactured housing be essentially ready for occupancy upon leaving the factory, which, for example, excludes homes assembled on site from prefabricated panels. HMDA rules also exclude recreational vehicles such as boats or campers, which are not considered as dwellings for purposes of HMDA.

7 Non-federally-guaranteed mortgages are often referred to as conventional mortgages.