Alaska’s population is down again, marking a third year of loss

A bar graphic showing population trends in Alaska from 1946-2019.
(Graphic by Department of Labor and Workforce Development Research and Analysis Section)

Alaska’s population declined again in 2019. It’s the third year in a row that’s happened.

“In general it’s pretty rare for Alaska to lose population at all,” said State Demographer David Howell.

“Going back to the mid-1940s — so since World War II basically — Alaska’s population has only declined six years, and three of those years were the most recent years, so it’s definitely notable that it has been declining,” Howell said.

The state’s population was down 0.4% last year.

According to the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the population decreased by around 3,048 people from July 2018 to July 2019. That follows two previous years of population decline.

Howell said it’s unclear why the population keeps dropping.

“The most recent year, the thing that really jumped out to us was the lower number of people moving into the state,” Howell said. “That’s been the case for the past three years as well, so it seems to be that we’re just having less people moving into the state.”

Howell said historically, the number of babies born in Alaska greatly outnumbered the number of deaths. But Alaskans are also having fewer babies.

Howell said net migration tends to fluctuate. So he’s not ready to say the state’s population will likely continue to decline.

As of July 2019, 731,007 people were living in Alaska.

Alaska Public Media

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