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Home  >  Know Alaska  >  Alaska Geography  >  People
Alaska’s Population

How many people live in the big state of Alaska?


The U.S. Census Bureau says that about 686,293 people lived in Alaska in 2008. How does this relate to the rest of the United States?

  • Alaskans are just 2% of all the people in the United States. The only states with fewer people are Wyoming, Vermont, and North Dakota.
  • If you gave each Alaskan an equal share of the land, each person would get 531 acres, or a little less than one square mile. Most people live in urban areas. [link to Alaska History: Lands section]
  • More caribou than people live in Alaska. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game says more than one million caribou live here.
  • If Alaska were a city, it would rank 17th out of the 50 largest cities in the United States. It would be right between Memphis, Tennessee and Austin, Texas.
  • More people live in town of Columbus, Ohio, than live in Alaska.

Who lives in Alaska?


Alaskans are younger and have a more diverse background than the rest of the United States.

According to the U.S. Census:

  • We don't have as many older people living in Alaska as you'd find in the rest of the United States. Only 7% of the people here are older than 65. In the rest of the country, almost 13% are 65 or older.
  • If you come to Alaska, you'll see all kinds of people from all around the world. More than 90 different languages are spoken in the Anchorage School District.
  • More people are American Indian or Alaska Native in Alaska than in the rest of the country (15% of Alaskans vs 1% of the rest of the country).
  • More men live in Alaska than women. In the rest of the country, there are more women than men.

Who are the Alaska Native people?


People have lived in Alaska for at least 15,000 years. These first Alaskans spread out over Alaska and formed three main groups. These are Eskimos, Indians and Aleuts. These groups shared customs and lived in the same general areas. Like families, they split into several smaller branches. Tlingit (pronounced klink-it), Tsimshian (shim-she-an), and Haida (hi-da) Indians live in Southeast Alaska. Athabaskan Indians live in the Interior. Among the Eskimos, there are the Yupik (pronounced you-pik) Eskimos of Southwestern Alaska and Inupiat (pronounced i-noo-pee-ak) Eskimos of the far north. Today about 105,000 Alaska Natives still call Alaska home.

Where does everyone live?


Most people (two-thirds of all Alaskans) in live in communities found along the 484-mile stretch of highway and railway between Seward on the Kenai Peninsula and Fairbanks. This area is commonly called the Railbelt.

  • Alaska's biggest city, Anchorage, is home to 279,243 people (U.S. Census Bureau estimate 2008). That is 40% of all Alaskans. The area is huge. The entire municipality stretches 59 miles, from Chugiak to the North and Girdwood to the South. It is bigger than the state of Rhode Island.
  • Nearly 98,000 people call the Fairbanks North Star Borough home.
  • More than 85,000 live in the Mat-Su Valley (the area around Wasilla and Palmer).
  • More than 70,000 people live in Southeast Alaska. About half of these live in Juneau, Alaska's capital city.
  • The rest of Alaska's 154,000 people live in small towns in areas you can't reach by car.

Note: The 2010 Census was not complete when this information was compiled.

The Native People of Alaska, Steve J. Langdon, Greatland Graphics, 1989

Gallery of Images

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Alaska Northwest Books and the map is used with permission of Alaska Northwest Books, an imprint of Graphic Arts Books, P.O. Box 56118, Portland, Oregon 97238-6118

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A volunteer marching band in the annual 4th of July Parade in Anchorage.

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The World-Eskimo Olympics is held annually in Fairbanks.

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About 40% of all Alaskans live in Anchorage.

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In more remote areas of Alaska, small planes are the fastest way to get around.

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This statute in the Golden Heart Plaza in Fairbanks is a tribute to the Native peoples of Alaska.

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Alaskans like to get outside. This group is headed for a hike in Wrangell St. Elias National Park.

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Juneau, the capital of Alaska, is the largest city in Southeast.

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This small log cabin is a typical home or second home in more remote areas of the state.

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The Matanuska River in southcentral Alaska is a popular place for people to raft.

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