The answer is a little of both. There were less-populated areas in Alaska that saw positive growth from 2010-2019. And in terms of the state population, Alaska did grow 3.17% from 2010-2019.v However, that doesn’t nearly compare to the U.S. population which increased 6.3%.
Even though Alaska’s population saw a moderate increase in the last 10 years, it lagged behind U.S. trends as a whole. If you’re the kind of person who wants to move to Alaska to get away from it all, you might think this is a good thing!
Now, let’s open our scope a little and take in Alaska trends beyond its biggest cities.
The Fastest-Growing Cities with 2,000+ Residents
If we want to get a broader picture of where people are moving in Alaska, we’ll need to change our criteria. After all, only Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau had a population of more than 10,000 in 2010. As any Alaskan will tell you, if you only consider those three cities, you’ll miss a lot about Alaska.
Instead, if we look at incorporated areas with a population of 2,000+ in 2010, the following 12 reveal themselves as the fastest-growing cities:
You’ll still see Juneau on this list, holding strong at #12. However, by taking a look at Alaska’s smaller population centers, we’ve added 11 more contenders to the list. What’s bringing people to these areas? And what’s it like to live in them? Let’s run through the top six:
1- Wasilla: For many, Wasilla offers the best of both worlds: amenities like a Walmart, a movie theater, and grocery stores, alongside the charm and camaraderie of a small-town setting. Wasilla is also only about an hour from Anchorage, so residents still have easy access to all that the city has to offer.
2- Palmer: Located just a few miles from Wasilla, Palmer offers similarly easy access to Anchorage within a smaller community setting. Local stores dominate Palmer’s landscape, while Wasilla is home to the larger big box stores. Because the areas share many similarities, oftentimes people house hunt in both areas and decide based on which home they like better.
3- Homer: If gorgeous scenery, great people watching, and plentiful fishing sound appealing, Homer could be the spot for you. Homer is also known as “the end of the road” since it lies at the very end of the U.S. highway system in Alaska. Although many people in Alaska are comfortable living in a place that’s only accessible by plane or boat, if living in a place that’s accessible by car is important to you, take a look at Homer.
4- Soldotna & 5- Kenai: If Homer feels a little too remote, you might take a look at Soldotna and Kenai. The two cities are just 11 miles apart in the heart of the Kenai peninsula, about 150 miles from Anchorage. On the Kenai, you’ll find an outdoor paradise. If you love the outdoors—and fishing in particular—you’ll find yourself right at home in Soldotna or Kenai. In addition to these two hubs, you’ll also find Kasilof, Sterling, and Nikiski in the surrounding area. Each of these hubs offers its own advantages, so make sure you explore the whole area so you can find the right fit.
6- Bethel: And now for something completely different! You’ll find Bethel more than 400 miles from Anchorage, and it’s only accessible by boat or plane. It also held the distinction of being the area with the most cabs per capita in the U.S.,viii which is understandable given how difficult it is to get private cars to the area. If you’ve always wanted to live in a place where living off the land is a real possibility—and you’re thrilled by the idea of a community where everyone knows each other—Bethel could be the right home for you.
Maybe one of these six areas sounds like a place you’d like to hang your hat, or perhaps you’re looking for something a little different. Either way, the question you’ll want to ask yourself is…
What Do You Want From Your Alaska Lifestyle?
Alaska is one of those rare places where you’ll find a wide variety of lifestyles to enjoy. You’ve got a sizeable city in Anchorage, which allows you to enjoy all of the amenities of urban life. On the other end of the spectrum, you’ve also got plenty of opportunities for making a bush move, where you can relish complete peace and serenity. And, as this list proves, you’ll find plenty of places that fall in between, with access both to the state’s unspoiled beauty as well as modern conveniences.
In other words, your ideal Alaska lifestyle is just a few decisions away. Chances are, you’ll be able to find a perfect match in the Last Frontier.
Need some help making the move? We’ve done relocations all over the state, including remote and bush moves. Just let us know where you’re headed, and we’ll put together a custom plan, tailored to you. Get in touch today for a complimentary quote.