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Unalaska, Cordova, Juneau: These cities aren't just some of the best places to live in Alaska. They are also home to some of the richest people in the Last Frontier.
Unalaska in particular houses the richest residents in the state thanks, in part, to a median household income of $92,273 and a ridiculously low poverty rate of 7.207778482350456%.
If you're thinking of moving to one of these towns, you'll probably need to start saving. The richest places in Alaska share common characteristics such as having a genius level populous, sky high home prices, and a Pleasantville level of married couples.
How did we come up with these mega wealthy cities? We analyzed Census data from the 2014-2018 American Community Survey for the 22 places in Alaska with more than 2,000 people.
At the end of the day, here's the set of the 10 richest places in Alaska for 2020:
- Unalaska (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Cordova (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Juneau (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Soldotna (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Sitka (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Anchorage (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Valdez (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- North Pole (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Kodiak (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Wrangell (Photos | Homes For Sale)
For more on how we calculated the top ten, read on or skip to the end for the full list of the richest cities in Alaska.
Rich people not your cup of tea? Feel free to check out some more reading about Alaska:
The 10 Richest Cities In Alaska For 2020
Unalaska is the largest city of the Aleutian Islands. The city is in the Aleutians West Census Area, a regional component of the Unorganized Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. Unalaska is located on Unalaska Island and neighboring Amaknak Island in the Aleutian Islands off mainland Alaska. The population was 4,376 at the 2010 census, which is 79% of the entire Aleutians West Census Area. Unalaska is the second largest city in the Unorganized Borough, behind Bethel.
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.
The City and Borough of Juneau, 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.
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.
Anchorage 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.
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.
The city is a summertime attraction for tourists visiting nearby Fairbanks and, due to its location on the Richardson Highway, those traveling to and from the Alaska Highway and Valdez. North Pole is home to two oil refineries, the town's major industry aside from tourism. The larger refinery, operated by Flint Hills Resources, is a major source of jet fuel for Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. Tanker car traffic on the Alaska Railroad, entering and leaving the refinery, frequently bisects the city.
Kodiak 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.
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.
How We Determined The Richest Places In Alaska For 2020
The first thing that comes to most people's minds when they think about determining the richest places is to simply identify personal incomes. After all, rich people have really high salaries.
However, we don't believe that one statistic wholly encompasses what it means to be one of the "richest places". So we looked at this set of criteria from the newly released 2014-2018 American Community Survey:
- Poverty Level
- Median Household Income
- Unemployment Rate
Median household income is the most digestible way to understand how rich a place really is. The unemployment rate tries to capture the prospects for more people to become rich. If more people are employed, the richer the future looks.
After we collected the data for all 22 places with more than 2,000 people in Alaska, we ranked each place from 1 to 22 for each of the criteria, with 1 being the richest.
We then averaged all the rankings for a place into a "Rich Score" with the place having the lowest overall Rich Score, Unalaska, crowned the "Richest City In Alaska For 2020". You can download the data here.
You can learn more about the top ten below or skip to the end to see the rankings for all 22 places.
There You Have It - The Wealthiest Places In Alaska For 2020
Like we said earlier, when we set out to identify the richest places in Alaska, we weren't sure what we'd encounter, but it ended up being some of the best places to live in Alaska.
When you look at the data, the cities and places mentioned above meet the criteria for being at the very top of the income ladder for everyone that lives there.
If you're curious enough, here are the poorest cities in Alaska, according to data:
2nd Poorest: Palmer
3rd Poorest: Kenai
For more Alaska reading, check out:
Detailed List Of The Richest Cities In Alaska