Division of Economic Development | (928) 871-6544

2024—2029 Navajo Nation Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy


The DED will submit the CEDS to the U.S. Economic Development Administration to fulfill its requirement to become eligible to apply for federal/state grant funding for regional economic development projects on Navajo.
This report serves as a snapshot of the Navajo Nation’s current economic status and highlights areas of opportunity. The Nation is in a position to approach new and creative solutions to help rebuild its economy after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additionally, “many of our entrepreneurs, businesses located on the Navajo Nation, community leaders, and decision-makers depend on this informative regional planning document to ensure proper placement and allocation of our resources toward economic development projects that create positive changes for our Navajo communities,” states Division Director Tony Skrelunas

Key Takeaways

  • Navajo Nation Office of Vital Records reports 415,863 enrolled tribal members.
  • S. Census Bureau reports approximately 143,400 enrolled Navajo members occupy within the Navajo Nation reservation boundaries.
  • Employment in utilities, healthcare, and the arts/entertainment/recreation industries are strongly represented on the Navajo Nation.
  • To combat economic leakage, the Navajo Nation is in position, with a great opportunity, to create, train and hire for manufacturing, wholesale/retail trade, transportation, finance, professional services, and food services.
  • The Navajo Nation has a large youth and young adult population.
  • The Division of Economic Development selected 9 priorities to focus on to address socioeconomic disparities at the local level, as well as at the regional economy level.
    • Tourism
    • Employment
    • Small Business and entrepreneurs
    • Commercial development and retail
    • Laws and policies
    • Infrastructure
    • Data-based decisions
    • Small business funding and financing
  • The Division of Economic Development indicates the following communities as “growth areas”
    • Chinle
    • Crownpoint
    • Defiance
    • Kayenta
    • Shiprock
    • Michaels
    • Tuba City
    • Window Rock

Additional Comments

The DED and FWDG utilized publicly available data to complete this CEDS. However, the DED is moving toward establishing new data collection, management, and reporting mechanisms to expand capacities to analyze more accurate data to support positive and impactful changes on the Navajo Nation.

The knowledge and experience of the Navajo business community and the expertise of the DED staff contributed to the information in this report. Ahéhee’.

The DED would also like to thank Fourth World Design Group for working on this project. FWDG is a Navajo-women-owned Priority-1 business. Ahéhee’.