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Alaska

Basic Information

2010 Census Population: 710,231 (47th)
Land Area: 570,641.0 square miles (1st)
Density: 1.2 persons per square mile (50th)
Capital: Juneau
Became a State: January 3, 1959 (49th)
International Border: Canada, Russia
Abbreviation: AK
ANSI Code: 02

History

The United States acquired the area of Alaska by purchase from Russia in 1867, with generally the same boundary as the present state. The formal boundary between the southeastern portion of Alaska and Canada was settled by treaty in 1903. Alaska Territory was organized on August 24, 1912.

Alaska was not enumerated in the 1870 census even though the area was part of the United States. Census data for Alaska are available beginning with the 1880 census.

Data for the legally established state of Alaska are available beginning with the 1960 census.

About the Geographic Areas

AMERICAN INDIAN AREAS

Alaska has one federally recognized American Indian reservation.

ALASKA NATIVE REGIONAL CORPORATIONS/ALASKA NATIVE AREAS

There are 12 Alaska Native Regional Corporations (ANRCs) whose boundaries cover the state outside of the area of the Annette Islands Reserve.  ANRCs were created pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) and organized under the laws of the state of Alaska to conduct both the for-profit and non-profit affairs of Alaska Natives within a defined region of Alaska.  These are considered legal geographic entities by the Census Bureau.  A 13th corporation comprises of Alaska Natives residing outside of the state; however this corporation is not reflected in Census Bureau products because it has no defined geographic extent. Within the corporation boundaries are 220 Alaska Native village statistical areas (ANVSAs).

METROPOLITAN AND MICROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREAS AND RELATED STATISTICAL AREAS

Alaska has two metropolitan statistical areas and three micropolitan statistical areas.

COUNTIES

There are 29 county equivalents in Alaska. 

Most of the land area in Alaska has not been divided into political subdivisions.  Boroughs, cities and boroughs, and municipalities are legal entities. Census areas are statistical entities. In Alaska, there are twelve boroughs, four city and boroughs, and two municipalities (borough equivalent). There are four consolidated governments, Anchorage, Juneau, Sitka, and Wrangell, which are classified as municipal governments.

Alaska has 11 statistical entities called “census areas.” Census areas are statistical areas established in cooperation with state government for reporting data in the portion of the state outside any borough. These areas are sometimes referred to as the “unorganized borough” and are administered by the state.

Boroughs and census areas were first recognized as county equivalent entities for the 1980 Census.  Prior to 1980, the county equivalents used in the census included geographic divisions, geographic districts, judicial districts/divisions, election districts, and census divisions.

COUNTY SUBDIVISIONS

There are 37 county subdivisions known as census subareas in Alaska. Census subareas were first established for the 1980 decennial census.  Prior to 1980, the minor civil divisions used for censuses included census divisions, boroughs, military reservations, an American Indian reservation, and recorder’s or recording districts.

PLACES

Alaska has 355 places; 148 incorporated places and 207 census designated places (CDPs). The incorporated places consist of 144 cities, 3 city and boroughs, and 1 municipality.  There is no minimum population for incorporation in Alaska. 

CENSUS TRACTS/BLOCK GROUPS/BLOCKS

Alaska has 167 census tracts, 534 block groups, and 45,292 census blocks.

CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS

For the 111th Congress (January 2009-January 2011), Alaska had one congressional district. For the 113th Congress (January 2013-January 2015), Alaska continues to have one congressional district as a result of reapportionment based on the 2010 Census.

SCHOOL DISTRICTS

Alaska has 53 unified school districts.

STATE LEGISLATIVE DISTRICTS

There are 20 state senate districts and 40 state house districts in Alaska.

URBAN AREAS

Alaska has 15 urban areas; 2 urbanized areas and 13 urban clusters.

ZIP CODE TABULATION AREAS

There are 238 ZIP Code Tabulation Areas (ZCTAs) in Alaska.

Centers of Population

Year North Latitude West Longitude
20104 61° 23′ 60″ 148° 52′ 26″
20004 61° 17′ 18″ 148° 43′ 01″
19903 61° 11′ 55″ 148° 43′ 57″
19802 61° 22′ 11″ 148° 29′ 07″
19701 61° 08′ 24″ 148° 58′ 47″
19601 61° 12′ 50″ 148° 36′ 10″

1  Source:  U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Centers of Population for States and Counties, 1974
2  Source:  U.S. Census Bureau, Geography Division, recomputation from archived national block group/enumeration area data resulting in a possible error of up to 1,000 feet.
3  Source:  U.S. Census Bureau, Geography Division, recomputation from archived national block group data resulting in a possible error of up to 1,000 feet.
4  Source:  U.S. Census Bureau, computation from national block-level data

Most Populous, Largest, and Dense Areas


Population Land Area
(square miles)
Population Density
(Persons per square mile)

Name Population Name Area Name Density
County Anchorage Municipality 291,826 Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area 145,504.79 Anchorage Municipality 171.2
Place





 - Inc Place Anchorage Municipality 291,826 Sitka city & borough 2,870.34 Kiana city 1,938.4
 - CDP Badger CDP 19,482 Willow CDP 690.90 College CDP 690.3

List of Entities

See the Gazetteer Files for a list of geographic entities. See the Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas page for a list of metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas and related statistical areas.

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