Migration Losses Caused Small Population Decline for Alaska in 2017

JUNEAU, Alaska (KINY) Alaska’s population decreased by 2,629 people—about one-third of 1 percent—from July 2016 to July 2017, based on population estimates released today by the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Net migration—in-migration minus out-migration—accounted for a loss of 8,885 people while natural increase, or births minus deaths, added 6,256 people. This was the fifth straight year of net migration losses, the longest stretch on record, but natural increase more than offset those losses until 2017.

Of Alaska’s 29 boroughs and census areas, 20 lost population between 2016 and 2017. The biggest loss was in the Municipality of Anchorage (-1,454), followed by Fairbanks North Star Borough (-1,216). The Matanuska-Susitna Borough grew the most, gaining 1,612 people.

Among the state’s six economic regions, only Anchorage/Mat-Su gained population over the period (+158), while the Interior lost the most (-1,291). Net migration was negative in all six regions.

The working age population (ages 18 to 64) declined by 1.2 percent, a fifth straight year of decline, while the 65-and-older group grew by nearly 5 percent. Alaska’s under-18 population dipped by just 0.4 percent and has changed little over the last two decades.

Haines Borough’s median age was the state’s highest at 49.3, and Kusilvak Census Area’s was lowest at 23.9.

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