The 10 Best Places To Retire In Alaska For 2019


We analyzed over 20 places in Alaska to identify the ones that offer the most to retirees.

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Editor’s Note: Data has been updated for 2019. This is our fourth time ranking the best places to retire in Alaska.

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When most people think of calling it quits on a career, they immediately think of a move to Florida.

But not not everyone wants to spend their golden years in Florida; some of us want to stay close to friends and family and within the great state of Alaska.

Where exactly in Alaska is the best place to retire? Well, there’s only one place to go for the answer — data — which returns Wrangell as the best place to hang up your cleats.

To that end, we have tried to identify the places in Alaska that are safe, affordable, and have plenty of things to keep you busy well into retirement.

What did we find after pouring through all the data? Let’s just say we hope folks in Wrangell don’t mind us spreading the word.

Why did Wrangell take the top spot? And where are Fairbanks and Juneau?

Read on to see see all the golden parachute level details.

For Alaska state reading:

Wrangell, AK

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 2,401
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 12)
Median Rent: $759
Distance to Closest Airport: 58 miles
More on Wrangell: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The City and Borough of Wrangell is a borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. As of the 2010 census the population was 2,369. Incorporated as a Unified Home Rule Borough on May 30, 2008, Wrangell was previously a city in the Wrangell-Petersburg Census Area.

The primary industry of the city is fishing, and it is a tourist destination. The former large wood processing factory in Wrangell closed down some time ago.

Seward, AK

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 2,714
Rank Last Year: 18 (Up 16)
Median Rent: $729
Distance to Closest Airport: 75 miles
More on Seward: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Seward is a city in Kenai Peninsula Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. According to 2014 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 2,528. It was named after William H. Seward, United States Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. In 1867, he fought for the U.S. purchase of Alaska which he finally negotiated to acquire from Russia.

Mile 0 of the historic Iditarod Trail is at Seward. In the early 1900s the trail was blazed in order to transport people and goods to and from the port of Seward to interior Alaska.

Cordova, AK

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 3,047
Rank Last Year: 26 (Up 23)
Median Rent: $873
Distance to Closest Airport: 153 miles
More on Cordova: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Cordova is a small town located near the mouth of the Copper River in the Valdez-Cordova Census Area, Alaska, United States, at the head of Orca Inlet on the east side of Prince William Sound. The population was 2,239 at the 2010 census. Cordova was named Puerto Cordova by Spanish explorer Salvador Fidalgo in 1790. No roads connect Cordova to other Alaskan towns, so a plane or ferry is required to travel there. In the Exxon Valdez oil spill of March 1989, an oil tanker ran aground northwest of Cordova, heavily damaging ecology and fishing.

Homer, AK

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 5,418
Rank Last Year: 25 (Up 21)
Median Rent: $970
Distance to Closest Airport: 117 miles
More on Homer: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Homer is a city located in Kenai Peninsula Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. It is two hundred and eighteen miles southwest of Anchorage. According to the 2010 Census, the population is 5,003. Long known as The “Halibut Fishing Capital of the World.” Homer is also nicknamed “the end of the road,” and more recently, “the cosmic hamlet by the sea.”

Palmer, AK

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 6,572
Rank Last Year: 19 (Up 14)
Median Rent: $943
Distance to Closest Airport: 41 miles
More on Palmer: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Palmer is a city in and the borough seat of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. It is part of the Anchorage Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 5,937.

Sitka, AK

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 8,921
Rank Last Year: 28 (Up 22)
Median Rent: $1,019
Distance to Closest Airport: 85 miles
More on Sitka: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The City and Borough of Sitka, formerly Novo-Arkhangelsk, or New Archangel under Russian rule, is a unified city-borough located on Baranof Island and the southern half of Chichagof Island in the Alexander Archipelago of the Pacific Ocean, in the U.S. state of Alaska. As of the 2010 census, the population was 8,881. In terms of land area, it is the largest city-borough in the U.S., with a land area of 2,870.3 square miles and a total area of 4,811.4 square miles ; however, it is the smallest of Alaska’s boroughs. Urban Sitka, the part that is usually thought of as the “city” of Sitka, is on the west side of Baranof Island.

Ketchikan, AK

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 8,189
Rank Last Year: 17 (Up 10)
Median Rent: $1,032
Distance to Closest Airport: 1 miles
More on Ketchikan: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Ketchikan is a city in the Ketchikan Gateway Borough, Alaska, United States, the southeasternmost city in Alaska. With a population at the 2010 census of 8,050, it is the fifth-most populous city in the state, and tenth-most populous community when census-designated places are included.

Review Of Ketchikan by HomeSnacks User

I love this place. It’s a safe place to raise your children.

The prices of groceries is pretty high. Even though the cost of living is high, it’s awesome to live here.

Valdez, AK

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 3,930
Rank Last Year: 24 (Up 16)
Median Rent: $1,085
Distance to Closest Airport: 122 miles
More on Valdez: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Valdez is a city in Valdez-Cordova Census Area in the U.S. state of Alaska. According to the 2010 US Census, the population of the city is 3,976. The city was named in 1790 after the Spanish Navy Minister Antonio Valds y Fernndez Bazn. A former Gold Rush town, it is located at the head of a fjord on the eastern side of Prince William Sound. The port did not flourish until after the road link to Fairbanks was constructed in 1899. It suffered huge damage during the 1964 Alaska earthquake, and is located near the site of the disastrous 1989 Exxon Valdez oil tanker spill. Today it is one of the most important ports in Alaska, a commercial fishing port as well as a freight terminal.

Soldotna, AK

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 4,471
Rank Last Year: 20 (Up 11)
Median Rent: $1,019
Distance to Closest Airport: 59 miles
More on Soldotna: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Kenai, AK

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 7,551
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Median Rent: $899
Distance to Closest Airport: 58 miles
More on Kenai: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Kenai is a city in the Kenai Peninsula Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. The population was 7,100 as of the 2010 census.

How We Determined The Best Places To Retire In the Last Frontier for 2019

To create our list of the best places in Alaska to retire, we first used Census data to find all places in the Last Frontier — 333 cities and towns.

We then narrowed it down to places with at least 2,000 people that weren’t townships. This left us with 20 places from across the state.

For these 20, we looked at the following criteria taken from the Census, the FBI’s Crime Report, National Weather Service, and OpenFlights:

  • Low cost of living as measured by rent
  • Low crime
  • Things to do (Museums, Colleges, and Libraries in town)
  • Nice weather
  • Distance to the closest international airport
  • Other retirees (High median age)

We then ranked each of these places for each criteria from one to 20, with the lowest number being the best.

Finally, we took the average rank across these criteria. The place, in this case Wrangell, with the lowest average rank was crowned the best of the best, a place for you to start your second careers.

Maybe You’re Not Ready To Retire In Alaska Yet…

So there you have it, the best place to retire in Alaska goes to Wrangell.

If you’re not ready to hang up your office apparel yet, then these places might be up your alley:

  1. Bethel
  2. Kotzebue
  3. Nome

For more Alaska reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Retire In Alaska?

Rank City Population Median Rent
1 Wrangell 2,401 $759
2 Seward 2,714 $729
3 Cordova 3,047 $873
4 Homer 5,418 $970
5 Palmer 6,572 $943
6 Sitka 8,921 $1,019
7 Ketchikan 8,189 $1,032
8 Valdez 3,930 $1,085
9 Soldotna 4,471 $1,019
10 Kenai 7,551 $899

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One thought on “The 10 Best Places To Retire In Alaska For 2019

  1. I think whoever did this survey needs to go back and redo it again.. I am looking up important things like crime rate/dangerous cities/safe cities/ best cities/ expensive cities/best places to retire/miserable places/redneck places/poorest/ richest place..
    My question is this how can a city/town be on the most dangerous place to live and then also be on the best place to live /best place to retire. If it is such a dangerous place to live then why would it be on the other two list.. it does not make any sense.

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