These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In Alaska For 2018


We analyzed every place in Alaska to identify the ones that offer the most to retirees.

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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 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.

But where exactly in Alaska? Well, there’s only one place to go for the answer — data.

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.

Here are our top ten places in the Last Frontier to retire for 2018:

  1. Wrangell (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  2. Seward (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  3. Cordova (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  4. Homer (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  5. Palmer (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  6. Sitka (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  7. Ketchikan (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  8. Valdez (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  9. Soldotna (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  10. Kenai (Photos | Homes For Sale)

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

Read on to see see all the golden parachute level details. Or check out the purely worst and best places to live in Alaska.

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

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.

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1. Wrangell

Wrangell, Alaska

Source: Public domain’

Population: 2,401
Median Rent: $759
Distance to Closest Airport: 58 miles
Crime Per 100k: 874
More on Wrangell: Homes For Sale | Data

2. Seward

Seward, Alaska

Source: Public domain’

Population: 2,714
Median Rent: $729
Distance to Closest Airport: 75 miles
Crime Per 100k: 3,389
More on Seward: Homes For Sale | Data

3. Cordova

Cordova, Alaska

Source: Public domain’

Population: 3,047
Median Rent: $873
Distance to Closest Airport: 153 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,017
More on Cordova: Homes For Sale | Data

4. Homer

Homer, Alaska

Population: 5,418
Median Rent: $970
Distance to Closest Airport: 117 miles
Crime Per 100k: 3,266
More on Homer: Homes For Sale | Data
Tiller digs indicate that early Alutiiq people probably camped in the Homer area although their villages were on the far side of Kachemak Bay.

5. Palmer

Palmer, Alaska

Source: Public domain’

Population: 6,572
Median Rent: $943
Distance to Closest Airport: 41 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,951
More on Palmer: Homes For Sale | Data
The first people to live in the Matanuska Valley, where Palmer is located, were the Dena’ina and Ahtna Athabaskans. They moved throughout the area, living a subsistence lifestyle and trading with other native groups. Their trade routes were along the Matanuska River. Russians came to Alaska in 1741 and brought the Russian Orthodox religious tradition to the indigenous peoples of the region. In the early 1890s, an entrepreneur named George W. Palmer built a trading post on the Matanuska River, near present-day Palmer. The town was later named after Palmer.

6. Sitka

Sitka, Alaska

Population: 8,921
Median Rent: $1,019
Distance to Closest Airport: 85 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,804
More on Sitka: Homes For Sale | Data
The current name Sitka (derived from Sheet?ká, a contraction of the Tlingit Shee At’iká) means “People on the Outside of Baranof Island”, whose Tlingit name is Sheet?-ká X’áat’l (here contracted to Shee).

7. Ketchikan

Ketchikan, Alaska

Population: 8,189
Median Rent: $1,032
Distance to Closest Airport: 1 miles
Crime Per 100k: 3,565
More on Ketchikan: Homes For Sale | Data

8. Valdez

Valdez, Alaska

Population: 3,930
Median Rent: $1,085
Distance to Closest Airport: 122 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,781
More on Valdez: Homes For Sale | Data

9. Soldotna

Soldotna, Alaska

Population: 4,471
Median Rent: $1,019
Distance to Closest Airport: 59 miles
Crime Per 100k: 6,016
More on Soldotna: Homes For Sale | Data

10. Kenai

Kenai, Alaska

Population: 7,551
Median Rent: $899
Distance to Closest Airport: 58 miles
Crime Per 100k: 5,880
More on Kenai: Homes For Sale | Data
The city of Kenai is named after the local Dena’ina (Tanaina) word ‘ken’ or ‘kena’, which means ‘flat, meadow, open area with few trees; base, low ridge’, according to the Dena’ina Topical Dictionary by James Kari, Ph.D., published in 2007. This describes the area along the mouth and portion of the Kenai River near the City of Kenai. Archaeological evidence suggests that the area was first occupied by the Kachemak people from 1000 B.C., until they were displaced by the Dena’ina Athabaskan people around 1000 A.D. Before the arrival of the Russians, Kenai was a Dena’ina village called Shk’ituk’t, meaning “where we slide down.” When Russian fur traders first arrived in 1741, about 1,000 Dena’ina lived in the village. The traders called the people “Kenaitze”, which is a Russian term for “people of the flats”, or “Kenai people”. This name was later adopted when they were incorporated as the Kenaitze Indian Tribe in the early 1970s.

Maybe You’re Not Ready To Retire 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:

  • Bethel
  • Kotzebue
  • Nome

For more Alaska reading , check out:

Detailed List Of Best Places To Retire In Alaska

City Rank Population Median Rent Distane To Airport Crimes per 100k
Wrangell 1 2,401 $759 58 874
Seward 2 2,714 $729 75 3,389
Cordova 3 3,047 $873 153 1,017
Homer 4 5,418 $970 117 3,266
Palmer 5 6,572 $943 41 2,951
Sitka 6 8,921 $1019 85 1,804
Ketchikan 7 8,189 $1032 1 3,565
Valdez 8 3,930 $1085 122 1,781
Soldotna 9 4,471 $1019 59 6,016
Kenai 10 7,551 $899 58 5,880
Kodiak 11 6,272 $939 248 5,229
Wasilla 12 8,972 $994 32 6,074
Juneau 13 32,524 $1184 14 5,771
Unalaska 14 4,710 $1375 787 955
North Pole 15 2,300 $1142 15 4,000
Fairbanks 16 32,578 $1277 6 4,828
Dillingham 17 2,296 $1180 328 4,878
Nome 18 3,782 $1521 517 2,300
Kotzebue 19 3,288 $1430 436 9,641
Bethel 20 6,365 $1373 395 5,624

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