Following encounters with white settlers moving into their aboriginal lands during a gold rush in 1850, the Yurok were faced with disease and massacres that reduced their population by 75%. In 1855, most of those that remained were forcibly relocated to the Yurok Indian Reservation on the Klamath River.
On November 24 1993, the Yurok wrote a constitution that details the jurisdiction and territory of their lands. The Yurok are currently the largest group of Native Americans in the state of California. The Yurok reservation of 63,035 acres (255 km²) has an 80% poverty rate and 70% of the inhabitants do not have telephone service or electricity, according to the tribe's webpage.
By 1870, the Yurok population had declined to 1,350, according to Cook (1976:237). By 1910 it was reported as 668 or 700 (Cook 1976:237; Kroeber 1925:883).
The US Census for the year 2000 indicates that there were 4, 413 Yurok living in California, combining those of one tribal descent and those with ancestors of several different tribes and groups. There were 5,793 Yurok living in all of the United States.