Native Migration: In Search of the Missing Cohorts. American Indian and Alaska Native Migration and the loss of Caregivers in Native Communities





Using 2000 US Census data, the demographic makeup of 345 Native communities was examined to identify those communities with a deficit of potential caregivers. The Caregiver Ratio Index (CRI) was developed as an index of the number of potential caregivers divided by the number of potential frail elders. The variability in the CRI indicated that some Native communities have experienced dramatic outward migration, resulting in “missing cohorts” of potential caregivers. The purpose of this study was to examine the 2000 US Census data on migration of Native people out of their communities and to chart where these missing cohorts might have migrated. Unique patterns of migration exist for American Indian and Alaska Natives (AIANs) and Native Hawaiians. From US Census 2000 data, AIANs migrated primarily to the West, which was losing other ethnic populations. In contrast, those Native communities with a low Caregiver Ratio Index (CRI)

showed migration to the South, reflecting national trends and probably motivated by the search for employment. We identify and discuss factors that may affect migration among Native people. Those communities that have the lowest CRI — reflecting higher outmigration — also have higher unemployment. This migration pattern of Native areas with high unemployment shedding populations to the South is new for Native communities.

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