Alaska is home to slightly over 732,000 people while having a land mass that is more than 600,000 square miles in size. Despite having a small population, the state has seen substantial population growth in the last 50 years. Discover five reasons why people adore the Last Frontier and the reasons why tourists are drawn to Alaska by reading on.
Alaska Natives have lived in the area’s immense wilderness for thousands of years. In order to survive in the isolated environments of the area, these societies have turned to traditional fishing and hunting techniques. Alaska Natives and American Indians comprised 18% of the state’s population as of the 2014 census.
Gold Rush Growth Through WWII
Alaska was a United States territory until 1959, when it was admitted as a state. Incomplete attempts were made to document the territory’s population throughout the middle to late 1800s, but Alaska’s first census, carried out in 1880, showed 33,426 residents.
The southern part of the state saw an influx of miners and prospectors during the 1896–1897 gold rush in Alaska. The influx of people to Alaska fueled development in towns like Haines and Skagway. Alaska’s population has nearly doubled to 63,592 in 20 years, according to the 1900 census.
The state’s population remained constant at 60,000 until the end of World War II, following the tail end of the gold rush. Once the Alaska-Canadian Highway (ALCAN) was finished during the war, there was still another spurt of rapid expansion. Alaska saw 25,000 new residents between 1951 and 1952, with notable increases in Fairbanks and Anchorage.
Rapid Growth in the 1970s and 1980s
The completion of the Trans-Alaska pipeline by engineers in the middle of the 1970s contributed to an increase in Alaska’s population. The pipeline, which was 800 miles long, carried oil from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez. Despite a large exodus of labourers following the completion of the pipeline, the state’s population increased by about 40% between 1970 and 1980.
Alaska had the second-fastest rate of population growth in the nation between 1980 and 1989, with a nearly 32% rise over that time. The state grew at an average annual rate of 5% between 1980 and 1985, but when the energy sector shrank, that number sharply dropped between 1985 and 1989.
The bulk of Alaska’s population growth in the 1980s came from migrant labourers and their families. The state’s migration ranking in that decade was 17th in the country.
Most Populated Places in Alaska
The southern and central parts of Alaska are home to the majority of the state’s population, despite its 19 boroughs and one unorganised borough.
Anchorage, with around 300,000 inhabitants, is the most populous city in Alaska. Anchorage, which lies in the southern part of the state, has the Chugach National Forest to its east and Cook Inlet to its west. Furthermore, Anchorage has the highest GDP of any city in Alaska, primarily due to the petroleum, transportation, and tourist industries.
With around 33,000 citizens, Fairbanks is the second most populous city in Alaska and is situated in the Interior area. The University of Alaska, which employs people and brings in students, is located in Fairbanks. Fairbanks benefits from a more humid climate due to the Tanana River running south of the city, which causes extremely harsh winters.
Juneau, the capital of Alaska, is located in the Southeast and has a population of about 32,000, making it the third most populated city in the state. Located beside the Glastineau Channel, Juneau was established during the gold rush in Alaska. The Tongass National Forest, a nearly 17 million-acre rainforest, includes a large portion of this area.
5 Reasons People Love the Last Frontier
If you’re looking for space to explore, snowy winters, and outdoor activities, Alaska has a lot to offer. These are the top five attractions in the biggest state in the union.
Natural Beauty: Locations like Chugach National Forest and Denali National Park protect the state’s expansive valleys and high mountains.
Economic Opportunity: The state has long been a popular destination for miners, construction workers, and oil workers due to its abundance of natural resources.
Low Population Density: There are typically fewer than 1,000 people living in each square mile of Alaskan cities.
Small-Town Living: Alaska offers a number of smaller towns with distinctive histories, cultures, and tourist destinations in addition to its bigger cities.
Tasty Local Foods: Regional cuisine, such as muktuk and meals cooked with yak meat, showcases the culture of Alaska Natives.