Chapter 2 summarized the major historical events affecting American Indians and tribal areas in the United States. This chapter presents a profile of the American Indian population nationwide, including population distribution and socioeconomic characteristics. (Chapter 4 focuses specifically on tribal areas.) Each of these topics has been the subject of a vast literature; the objective of this chapter is merely to present an overview of important characteristics. Together with chapter 2, this chapter sets the context for subsequent chapters, which present a contemporary profile of tribal area demographic, housing, and economic characteristics, as well as housing and economic development constraints and strategies in Indian country.