Article Title

Sense and Census Building: Capturing Tribal Realities in the U.S. Census

Publication Title

Washington University Journal of Law & Policy


As the 2020 Census approaches, citizens of American Indian and Alaska Native tribes face the failure of the census to adequately capture the realities of Indian Country. Historically, one of the most undercounted groups, American Indian and Alaska Native tribes, face larger problems than just the methodologies. Geographic entities used by the U.S. Census Bureau are not only at odds with traditional cultural understandings, but in some areas with realities of migration, services, and community affiliation. This Note argues that to better represent Indian Country, the U.S. Census Bureau must work with tribal communities to redefine all as Tribal Designated Statistical Areas, which would eliminate the distinction between those tribes with land bases and those without.