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Labor Department Estimates Alaska's 2003 Population
Ketchikan Gateway Borough experienced an out-migration

January 23, 2004
Friday - 12:55 am

Alaska's statewide population increased by 3.5% or 21,887 persons for the period April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2003, according to new population estimates released Thursday by the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

According to the Alaska Department of Labor, Alaska's growth was slightly faster than the 3.3% growth for the same period for the U.S. as a whole. The number of people living in the state climbed from a population of 626,931 at the census in April of 2000 to a provisional July 1, 2003 estimate of 648,818. The average annual rate of change was 0.8% for the 2000-2001 period, 1.4% for the 2001- 2002 period and 1.1% for the 2002-2003 period. Although growth in the most recent period is down slightly from the 2001-2002 period, it is still above the median growth of 0.89% for the 1990-2002 period (Table 1).

In the 2002-2003 period, in-migration fell by three quarters, to 513, still above the negative numbers for 1999-2000 and 2000-2001. In the recent past, 44 percent of in-migration to Alaska has come from the Pacific and Mountain states and another 27 percent from the South Atlantic and West South Central Regions. The top states that contribute migrants to Alaska are currently: Washington 10.4%, California 9.0%, Texas 7.3%, and Oregon 4.7%.

Table 1 - Annual Components of Population Change for Alaska 1990-2003

Natural increase (births minus deaths) between April 1, 2000 and July 1, 2003, added 22,088 persons to Alaska's population. Net migration (in-migration minus outmigration) accounted for a loss of 117 persons. In the early 1990s Alaska added about 9,600 persons each year through natural increase, while in 2002-2003, Alaska added only 6,800 through natural increase. This continues the trend of lower birth rates and higher death rates as Alaska's baby boomers age. During the last year about 93 percent of our growth was through natural increase and the remainder through in-migration to Alaska, according to information provided by the Alaska Department of Labor.

Population estimates produced by the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development have also been released for Alaska's 27 boroughs and census areas as well as for 354 places located throughout the state.

Since 2000, the Municipality of Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough have accounted for virtually all of the population growth in the state, with Anchorage supplying 62.7% and Mat-Su supplying 37.2%. The increase in both boroughs was due to a mix of natural increase and migration, with most of the migration being from other parts of Alaska.The Matanuska-Susitna Borough was the only area of the state whose growth came

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Table 2
Population of Alaska By Labor Market 1990-2003
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Table 3
Places With More Than 2,000 Persons 2003
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primarily from in-migration. In-migration (mainly from Anchorage) accounted for 6,471 of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough's population increase of 8,151. The Matanuska-Susitna Borough is still the fastest growing area of the state, as it has been since 1990. Since 2000, it has grown at a rate of 4.0%, equal to its growth rate during the 1990s. Most of Alaska's boroughs and census areas have grown slowly or lost population since 2000. (See Table 2.) The largest increases in population occurred in the Municipality of Anchorage (+13,720), Matanuska-Susitna Borough (+8,151), Kenai Peninsula Borough (+1,529), Bethel Census Area (+728) and the Juneau City and Borough (+572).

Population estimates for the Ketchikan Gateway Borough reported 13,548 in 2003; 13,697 in 2002; and 13,851 in 2001. The April 1, 2000 Census reported the KGB population as 14,059. The estimated change in population for the Ketchikan Gateway Borough from 2000 - 2003 was reported as -511 indicating that the Ketchikan Gateway Borough experienced an out-migration.

Most of the other boroughs and census areas experienced out-migration or remained unchanged. The only boroughs to have a noticeable net in-migration were Matanuska-Susitna Borough (+6,471), Anchorage Municipality (+4,095) and Kenai Peninsula Borough (+444). The Southeast region continued to have the largest overall decline, with a natural increase of 1,587 persons, and a net migration of 2,828 persons. Only Juneau and Sitka had small population growth, of 0.6% and 0.2% respectively, primarily through natural increase.

Migration out of Southwestern Alaska (-1,302) was less than the natural increase in this region (+2,001). In the Northern Region, natural increase (+1,253) slightly exceeded migration (1,137). In the Gulf Coast, Kodiak again had more out migration (-676) than natural increase (+574) and Valdez-Cordova gained slightly, due to natural increase (+267) which slightly exceeded net migration (-232).

In the Interior, Fairbanks North Star Borough and the Southeast Fairbanks and Yukon Koyukuk Census Areas all shrank due to net migration. The Denali Borough had a slight increase in population, as natural increase (+54) exceeded net migration (-33).

In 2003, Alaska has 37 places with population over 2,000 (Table 3); 21 of them are incorporated cities or city-boroughs. Thirty-one places in Alaska meet the old definition of urban place, by having a population over 2,500. Anchorage Municipality continues to dominate the state. Its 274,003 population accounts for 42.2% of the states population, up from 41.7% in 2002; the Anchorage/Matsu Region (341,476) accounts for 52.6% of the population. The places with population over 2000 with the highest annual growth rates since the census were: Homer city 6.6%, Wasilla city 6.3%, Palmer city 5.8%, Knik-Fairview CDP (Census Designated Place) 5.7%, Kodiak Station 5.4%, Tanaina CDP 4.8%, Fishhook CDP 4.4%, Butte CDP 4.1%, Meadow Lakes CDP 3.7% and Gateway CDP 3.4%. Homers growth is largely due to its annexation of a substantial part of Diamond Ridge and Miller's Landing.



Source of News Release & Charts:

Alaska Department of Labor & Workforce Development
Web Site


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