Native American communities face significant and unique barriers to accessing economic opportunities. The Joint Economic Committee analyzed available data and trends affecting the Native American community, finding the following:
• Native Americans face barriers to accessing quality education and jobs, reducing economic mobility and leading to disparities in labor participation, educational attainment and income.
• Native American households and businesses struggle to access credit and financing on equal terms with other Americans, hindering the growth in Native enterprises and household wealth.
• Native American communities were particularly hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, exacerbating long-standing health disparities resulting from inadequate funding for Native healthcare infrastructure and major obstacles to care.
More needs to be done to improve economic opportunities for Native American families and communities, and the federal government should do so by working with, and meeting obligations to, tribal governments and Native peoples. The recently enacted bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a step forward and will invest over $11 billion in Native communities, including funding for broadband, water and transportation infrastructure.