A sign welcomes travelers to the Kenai Peninsula. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

A sign welcomes travelers to the Kenai Peninsula. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

State population stagnates; peninsula sees small growth

Population of Alaska remained almost unchanged from July 2021 to July 2022

The population of Alaska remained almost unchanged from July 2021 to July 2022, the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced Thursday.

In a press release, the department said 26 of Alaska’s 30 boroughs and census areas saw a loss in population. The Kenai Peninsula Borough was one of the four that saw growth, with a reported population increase of 909 people, second in growth only to the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, which added 2,666.

Overall, Alaska had a small increase in population, with a gain of 451 people, a 0.06% increase.

Despite that gain, the department noted that net migration, the comparison of people moving to Alaska with those leaving, still results in a loss. Between July 2021 and July 2022, the state lost 2,489 people. In the release, the department said it has reported a net loss each year since 2013, though those losses were slowed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to data accompanying the release, the Kenai Peninsula Borough was reported in the 2020 census to have a population of 58,799. The department estimates that the population has now reached 60,017, due to a net gain in both births and migrants. The average annual growth rate is 1%.

Though the state overall is seeing a steady population, the distribution of ages is trending older. The department reports that the population of those 65 years of age and older grew by 5% from July 2021 to July 2022, while the population between 18 and 64 years of age has declined by 1%.

In January’s issue of Trends, a monthly magazine produced by the department, a study by Karinne Wiebold showed that worker shortages in Alaska would be continuing through 2023 despite strong signs of economic recovery because of the aging population and continued out-migration.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

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