Data collected during the 2020 census show that Alaska had the least amount of population growth since statehood. That’s according to the Alaska Economic Trends Magazine’s December 2021 edition, which explored Alaska-specific census results in depth.
Alaska’s population grew by about 23,000 people — or 3.3% — between the 2010 and 2020 census. That’s compared to decades like the 1980s, when Alaska’s population grew by nearly 150,000 people — or by 36.9%. The Kenai Peninsula Borough’s population grew by about 5,700 people between the 2000 and the 2010 census, compared to a growth of about 3,400 people between the 2010 and 2020 census.
“Population growth during the 2010s was the lowest since territorial days,” the article states. “The state added the smallest number of people since the 1930s and grew at the slowest rate since the 1910s.”
The Municipality of Anchorage remains the state’s most populated area, with about 291,247 people — about 39.7% of the state’s total population of about 733,391 people. It’s almost triple the population of the next highest region — the Matanuska-Susitna Borough with about 107,081. The Mat-Su, however, saw the most population growth over the past 10 years — about 20.3%.
Central peninsula cities have also slipped in the ranks of largest Alaska cities. Kenai, for example, was the eighth-largest city in Alaska in 1980, with roughly 4,324 people, but fell to the 14th-largest city after the 2020 census. Of 29 geographies, 15 saw population growth, while 14 saw population loss. Sterling and Kalifornsky saw population growth over the last decade and were in the top 20 most populous Alaska geographies.
Data from the 2020 census shifted some of the peninsula’s state legislative boundaries under the once-in-a-decade redistricting process, which wrapped up last month. Seward will vote with Kodiak, not Nikiski, under redistricting plans adopted by the Alaska Redistricting Board during a public hearing on Nov. 5.
The full December issue of Trends can be found on the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development website at labor.alaska.gov/trends/home.htm.
Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at firstname.lastname@example.org.