The Demographics of Alaska

By Joseph Kiprop on August 17 2018 in World Facts

People walk down the street in Skagway, Alaska. Editorial credit: CREATISTA /
People walk down the street in Skagway, Alaska. Editorial credit: CREATISTA /

Alaska is home to diverse ethnic communities. The state of Alaska lies to the North West of Canada and occupies a land area of 663,268 square miles making it the largest state in the US. The population was estimated at 739,795 as of 2017. The state is ranked position 48 in population size compared to the rest of the states. The low population can be attributed to the adverse climatic conditions which render most of the landmass unsuitable for habitation.

Ethnic History Of Alaska

A number indigenous people inhabited Alaska before Europeans settled in the area. They included the Yupik, Aleut, Eyak, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, and the Inupiat. Russians settled in the region in the 1780s after the initial expeditions, and the Spanish followed immediately after that. It was not until the half of the19th century when the Russians established a colony. Russia later sold the territory of Alaska to the US in 1867 for a price of $7.2 million. At the time the state had an estimated 33,426 inhabitants. Sitka was retained as the new territory’s capital and was the only settled area until the 1900s when the gold rush led to massive immigration into the area. The state capital was later changed to Juneau via legislation. In 1968, Alaska experienced the beginning of the oil boom which led to great economic activity and with it high immigration to the state.

Race And Ethnicity

In the census, the ethnic composition of Alaska is broken into various groups namely white, black, Asian, Native American (or Alaskan Native), Pacific Islander, two or more races, or other groups. White is the largest ethnic group in Alaska, representing around 66.7% of the population. The next largest group is American or Alaskan Native, at 14.8%. Alaskans of more than one race make up 7.3% of the population, while 5.4% of Alaskans are of Asian descent. 4.6% of Alaska is black, 1.7% is of other race, and 1.0% identifies as Pacific Islander.

Alaska's Ethnic Composition In Comparison To The Rest Of The US

Alaska has the highest Native American population in the country. Alaska is also in the top 10 states with the highest Asian population. The state experienced a growth of 54.2% of its Asian community between the 2000 and 2010 census. The Asian community in Alaska is mainly comprised of those of Filipino heritage, with their history of residence dating back to the 1700s when early Filipinos worked on fur trading and exploration ships.

The Ethnic Composition Of The Population Of Alaska

RankRacePopulation (Percentage, Estimated)
2American or Alaskan Native14.8
3More Than One Race7.3
7Pacific Islander1

More in World Facts