State population slips for second year - Must Read Alaska
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Wednesday, October 27, 2021
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State population slips for second year

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(1.5-minute read) 2,386 PEOPLE LEFT ANCHORAGE LAST YEAR

For the second year in a row, Alaska’ population has slumped. Some 1,608 people left the state in 2018, according to new numbers from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

But the trend is flattening. The previous year, 7,577 Alaskans packed up and hit the road for somewhere else.

Anchorage lost the most, with a drop of 2,386 city residents. The previous year, 4,821 people had parted ways with the state’s biggest (and only) metropolis.

According to Anchorage School District charts, the Anchorage schools lost 1,556 students between the fall of 2016 and the fall of 2018.

Some of the people exiting Anchorage moved to the Mat-Su Borough, the only area of the state experiencing noticeable growth, adding nearly 2,000 residents in 2017 and 2018 combined.

As of July, 2018, Alaska’s total population was 736,239, down from the peak of 739,676 in 2016.

Net migration— people moving in minus people moving out of state — accounted for a loss of 7,577 people between 2017 and 2018, while natural increase, or births minus deaths, added 5,969 people. All six regions of the state showed net migration losses.

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough grew, gaining 1,355 people.

But Yakutat lost the most people proportionally, at 3.7 percent last year and 2.8 percent the year before. Lake and Peninsula Borough’s population shrunk 3.6 percent and Prince of Wales Island’s population dropped 2.4 percent.

Alaska’s under-18 and 18-to-64-year-old populations each declined 0.9 percent, but the 65-and-older cohort grew more than 5 percent.

The Kusilvak Census Area (formerly known as Wade Hampton Census Area) median age was 24.1. Haines Borough’s median age was the state’s older at nearly 49.

The Department of Labor Research and Analysis Section website has more detail.

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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

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  • So we have that dividend going for us, which is nice.

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