Is being in an area that’s growing quickly a good thing or a bad thing?
Depends on who you ask. Some want bigger, more exciting cities like Anchorage and Fairbanks, while others want peace and quiet like in Homer and Kodiak, thank you very much.
But today we’re going to put opinions aside and just look at the cold hard facts — over the past five years, which cities in Alaska have the grown the fastest.
After getting knee deep in the Census’s American Community Survey, we emerged with this set of cities in the Last Frontier that have people climbing over each other to get in.
These are the 10 fastest growing cities in Alaska for 2018 according to the most recent census data:
- Wasilla (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Palmer (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Homer (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Kenai (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Bethel (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Anchorage (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Juneau (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Fairbanks (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Kodiak (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Ketchikan (Photos | Homes For Sale)
If you happen to be a resident of Wasilla, you’re probably not too surprised to find it on our list.
If you’re surprised–and you’re wondering why these places are kind of a big deal–keep reading. We’ll tell you what makes each of these 10 places in Alaska are growing like weeds–but first, a bit about our methodology.
How We Measured The Fastest Growing Cities In Last Frontier
To figure out which cities are growing the most, we simply had to look at the growth rates for cities sine the begining of the decade, according to the American Community Survey put out by the census every year. Specifically:
- Population in 2016
- Population in 2010
- Growth rate from 2010 to 2016 (The latest available data which came out in Dec 2017)
We ranked all 11 Alaska cities with a population over 5,000 people from highest growth rate to lowest.
The city with the highest growth rate during this time was crowned the fastest growing city in the Last Frontier.
And for those of you who are a little rusty with their statistics, you can calculate the growth rate by the following formula:
[Population 2016 – Population 2010] / [Population 2010]
Population: 8,972 Population 2010: 7,488
Growth Rate: 19.82%
Absolute Growth: 1,484
More on Wasilla: Homes For Sale | Data
Wasilla is a city in Matanuska-Susitna Borough, United States and the sixth-largest city in Alaska. It is located on the northern point of Cook Inlet in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley of the southcentral part of the state. The city’s population was 7,831 at the 2010 census. Estimates in 2013 put the population at roughly 8,621. Wasilla is the largest city in the borough and a part of the Anchorage metropolitan area, which had an estimated population of 396,142 in 2013.
Population: 6,572 Population 2010: 5,762
Growth Rate: 14.06%
Absolute Growth: 810
More on Palmer: Homes For Sale | Data
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.
Population: 5,418 Population 2010: 4,969
Growth Rate: 9.04%
Absolute Growth: 449
More on Homer: Homes For Sale | Data
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.”
Population: 7,551 Population 2010: 7,004
Growth Rate: 7.81%
Absolute Growth: 547
More on Kenai: Homes For Sale | Data
Kenai (/kina/, KEY-nigh) (Dena’ina: Shk’ituk’t) 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.
Population: 6,365 Population 2010: 5,971
Growth Rate: 6.6%
Absolute Growth: 394
More on Bethel: Homes For Sale | Data
Bethel (Mamterilleq in Central Alaskan Yup’ik) is a city located near the west coast of the U.S. state of Alaska, approximately 400 miles (640 km) west of Anchorage, in the Bethel Census Area. Accessible only by air and river, Bethel is the main port on the Kuskokwim River and is an administrative and transportation hub for the 56 villages in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.
Population: 299,321 Population 2010: 284,267
Growth Rate: 5.3%
Absolute Growth: 15,054
More on Anchorage: Homes For Sale | Data
Anchorage (officially called the Municipality of Anchorage) (Dena’ina Athabascan: Dgheyaytnu) is a unified home rule municipality in the U.S. state of Alaska. With an estimated 298,192 residents in 2016, it is Alaska’s most populous city and contains more than 40 percent of the state’s total population; among the 50 states, only New York has a higher percentage of residents who live in its most populous city. All together, the Anchorage metropolitan area, which combines Anchorage with the neighboring Matanuska-Susitna Borough, had a population of 401,635 in 2016, which accounts for more than half of the state’s population.
Population: 32,524 Population 2010: 30,975
Growth Rate: 5.0%
Absolute Growth: 1,549
More on Juneau: Homes For Sale | Data
The City and Borough of Juneau (/duno/ JOO-noh; Tlingit: Dzánti K’ihéeni [tsántì kìhínì]), commonly known as Juneau, is the capital city of Alaska. It is a unified municipality located on the Gastineau Channel in the Alaskan panhandle, and it is the second largest city in the United States by area. Juneau has been the capital of Alaska since 1906, when the government of what was then the District of Alaska was moved from Sitka as dictated by the U.S. Congress in 1900. The municipality unified on July 1, 1970, when the city of Juneau merged with the city of Douglas and the surrounding Greater Juneau Borough to form the current municipality, which is larger by area than both Rhode Island and Delaware.
Population: 32,578 Population 2010: 31,178
Growth Rate: 4.49%
Absolute Growth: 1,400
More on Fairbanks: Homes For Sale | Data
Fairbanks /frbæks/ is a home rule city and the borough seat of the Fairbanks North Star Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska.
Population: 6,272 Population 2010: 6,023
Growth Rate: 4.13%
Absolute Growth: 249
More on Kodiak: Homes For Sale | Data
Kodiak (Alutiiq: Sun’aq; Russian: , tr. Kadyak) is one of seven communities and the main city on Kodiak Island, Kodiak Island Borough, in the U.S. state of Alaska. All commercial transportation between the entire island and the outside world goes through this city either via ferryboat or airline. The population was 6,130 as of the 2010 census. 2014 estimates put the population at 6,304.
These Places Grew Up So Fast, You Know?
So there you have it, the fastest growing cities in Alaska are led by Wasilla which has been growing at a blistering pace this decade relative to other cities and towns around the state.
It’ll be interesting to see if these places can keep growing at the same rate over the next couple of years. We’ll be here to let you know!
For more Alaska reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Alaska
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Alaska
- 10 Most Diverse Cities In Alaska
Detailed List Of Fastest Growing Places In Alaska