Thinking about moving to Anchorage?
You’ve made a bold decision. Alaska certainly isn’t for everyone. The long, dark, cold winters are humbling, and while summers are pleasant and full of sun, they rarely crack 80 degrees. And then there’s the isolation: with over half of Alaska’s population residing in Anchorage’s metro area, there aren’t many other cities to visit, and even Juneau and Fairbanks are far away. And the lower 48: they’re a world — and a long flight — away.
But those very things that dissuade most people from moving to Alaska are what make it appealing to those who live there. To Anchoragites, isolation is freedom, peace, and quiet. It’s access to incredible nature, hiking and hunting and fishing unparalleled elsewhere in the world. And while even most Anchoragites will admit that the winters are tough, the climate also makes it great for winter sports, and the mild winters with their long hours of sunlight make up for it all. Many of those who do choose to live here wouldn’t ever consider moving anywhere else.
And Anchorage is growing. Between 2010 and 2016, more than 6,366 people have moved to Anchorage, an increase of 2.2%. It doesn’t hurt that the government will actually pay you to live in Alaska. Thanks to the Alaska Permanent Fund, each resident of Alaska receives a portion of the taxes paid by oil companies — in 2016, that was $1,022.
Anchorage is home to 298,192 Anchoragites. With an area of 1,704.7 square miles, Anchorage has a population density of 175 persons per square mile, which makes it less dense than many other cities of comparable size.
The Anchorage, AK Metropolitan Statistical Area boasts a population of 402,557 people, of which Anchorage proper’s population makes up 74%.
Anchorage’s isolation comes at a cost: housing is pricey. The median home value in Anchorage is $294,900, 47% above the US median value, according to Zillow. The median price per square foot in Anchorage is $191. Over the past 5 years, home values in Anchorage have increased by 2%.
Renters in Anchorage will also have a hard time finding affordable housing. The median rent in Anchorage is $1,883 per month, which is 32% higher than the US median. Over the past year, rental rates in Anchorage have decreased by 3.5%.
Anchorage’s economy has been a bit sluggish over the past few years. The Anchorage metro area’s GDP remained a steady $29 billion between 2010 and 2015. The metro area has a per capita GDP of $71,731. According to the US Census Bureau, the median household income in Anchorage, AK is $76,917, 33% higher than the national median. Anchorage’s unemployment rate is 6.5%.