THE 10 BEST Places To Live In Alaska For 2020


These are the cream of the crop when it comes to places to live in the Last Frontier.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the best places to live in Alaska.

If you're not taking advantage of fresh fish in Kenai all year, snow-cream for most of the year in Fairbanks, and skiing in Anchorage, you're missing out on some of the best things and places Alaska has to offer.

And, folks, these cities aren't even on the top ten best places to live in Alaska for 2020. That's because the places on HomeSnacks best places list house superstars like Santa Claus, the state's capital, and the Alaska Raptor Center.

How'd we determine the best places in Alaska? We consulted the numbers. In total, we analyzed 21 cities. We looked at important factors like cost of living, crime, unemployment rates, rent and median home values for every place with over 2,000 residents. We discovered that there are awesome places in Alaska for every type of person. There's Haines for really, really love the snow, Ketchikan for the outdoorsy type, and make sure to give Homer a second look if you're into that whole "sittin' by the dock of the bay" vibe.

Alaska is so great that the state gives its residents a check in September every year as part of the Alaska Permanent Fund. It's the trickle down effect: the more money Alaskans have in their pockets, the more money they are able to five back to their communities.

So where are these amazing places in Alaska where homes are affordable, jobs are plentiful, and neighborhoods are safe? Read on.

Ask any Alaskan and they will tell you that their corner of The Last Frontier is the best. And while that might be true for many, the Alaskan that live in our top ten best places for 2020 are truly the winners.

What's the best place to live in alaska for 2020? The best place to live in Alaska is Cordova based on the most recent Census data.

To see how your city compared, take a look at the list below. And if you don't find your favorite there, head on down to the bottom.

If you're looking for something more national, check out the best states in America or the best places to live in America.

For more Alaska reading, check out:

The 10 Best Places To Live In Alaska For 2020

Cordova, AK

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 3,055
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $316,200 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.5% (2nd best)
More on Cordova: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Let's just put this to rest right now. No matter how passionate you are about where you live in Alaska, Cordova is by far the best place to live. At least according to science.

The residents of Cordova are some of the wealthiest, most employed, and just about safest of anyone in the state. Plus, their kids go to some of the best-funded schools.

You know what they say: Money doesn't buy happiness. But, in this case, it buys safety and peace of mind.

If you live here, you probably won't brag about this ranking because you want to keep Cordova a secret.

Unalaska, AK

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 4,781
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $342,600 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.8% (1st best)
More on Unalaska: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The crime rate is much lower here than in the rest of Alaska, as there were only 17 violent crimes in the city limits last year. The unemployment rate is the lowest in Alaska (1.8%), and the public schools are ranked 3rd in the state in terms of spending per student.

Additionally, homes are the 3rd most expensive in Unalaska ($342,600), meaning a lot of people want to live there.

Plus, the residents earn a really great salary: $92,273 a year.

Valdez, AK

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 3,870
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $189,700 (20th best)
Unemployment Rate: 8.6% (14th best)
More on Valdez: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Valdez has a long and illustrious history and its ranking in the top ten of our best places to live is just another notch in its belt.\n\Valdez had the highest household median income adjusted for cost of living at $95,847.

Not to mention that its residents have plenty to do on the weekends.

Soldotna, AK

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 4,589
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 6)
Median Home Value: $210,800 (17th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.3% (4th best)
More on Soldotna: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Known for its low unemployment rates and great education, Soldotna is a wonderful place to live in this state.

The relatively stable household incomes and below average crime rates don't hurt either!

While it may not be as great as some other places on this list, Soldotna still holds its own in in Alaska.

Homer, AK

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 5,607
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $273,300 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.6% (7th best)
More on Homer: Real Estate | Data | Photos

At an unemployment rate of 5.6%, everyone who wants a job can get one in Homer. And the residents command high salaries ($59,837 a year combined income), and live in big fancy homes ($273,300 each).

We're not saying money is why these cities are the 'best' in Alaska. What we're implying is that money means safety and peace of mind. And there's nothing wrong with that.

North Pole, AK

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 2,660
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $222,100 (14th best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.3% (9th best)
More on North Pole: Real Estate | Data | Photos

You might be surprised to see the Town of North Pole so high on the list. Unless you live in North Pole.

The unemployment rate here is really low, and at 6.3%, North Pole residents are some of the hardest working in the state of Alaska. When you factor in high home prices, high incomes and low crime, North Pole is doing quite well.

Let's be honest -- North Pole is the kind of place you brag to your friends on Facebook about.

Seward, AK

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 2,770
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 3)
Median Home Value: $235,000 (12th best)
Unemployment Rate: 7.6% (11th best)
More on Seward: Real Estate | Data | Photos

There's two types of people who live in Seward. Either the old hold outs who have lived there forever and are watching their home values skyrocket, or those d who can afford to buy a $235,000 home there.

Either way, you're set. Your kids go to great schools, there's a ton of things to do, and you earn a great salary. Seward is exactly what you hoped for when you played that board game, LIFE as a kid.

Sitka, AK

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 8,738
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 3)
Median Home Value: $349,300 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.4% (5th best)
More on Sitka: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Who doesn't want to live in Sitka? Because, according to the data, most everyone should want to.

Crime is lower than the state average, and the unemployment rate sits at only 4.4%. The school systems are generally well funded, meaning lots of personal attention for area kids.

Expect to see more of Sitka in the news in the coming months.

Juneau, AK

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 32,330
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $344,000 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.8% (8th best)
More on Juneau: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Juneau has been called one of the best small towns in America. If you live here, you're most likely already aware of how great it is to live there.

Just about everyone who wants a job in Juneau has one; the unemployment rate is hovering at about 5.8% and lowering. And the Juneau police department is doing a solid job, as crime is the 17th lowest in the state here.

Who wouldn't want to live in a place like this?

Nome, AK

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 3,813
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $239,800 (9th best)
Unemployment Rate: 9.5% (17th best)
More on Nome: Real Estate | Data | Photos

When you're looking at the best places you could live in Alaska, Nome came in 10th. Let's see why.

It has a low unemployment rate and high incomes.

Plus, Nome has an impressive history for a place of just over 3,813 people. The median home costs a cool $239,800 and households make $81,449 which is good for 7th in Alaska.

Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in Alaska

The Pressing Question: Size

Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Juneau with a population of 32,330 against places with a population of 18?

We firmly decided no, that just isn't fair.

So to create our ranking, we broke places to live into three tiers:

  • Cities -- Populations over 2,000
  • Towns -- Populations between 1,000 and 2,000
  • Small Towns -- Populations below 1,000

This left us with 21 cities, 42 towns, and 192 small towns.

We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best cities to live in Alaska have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 2,000 people to truly be 'the best'.

Now we also realize that city living might not be your cup of tea, so we ran the following analysis on towns and then again for small towns.

You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.

How We Calculated The Best Cities To Live In Alaska

Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.

We ranked each place in Alaska across a number of criteria from one to 21, with one being the best.

We then took the average rank across all criteria, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title "Best Place To Live In Alaska".

The criteria we looked at were:

  • Median Home Values
  • Median Income
  • Population Density (Higher better)
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Commute Time
  • Crime
  • Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty rates

Sources of criteria include the New Census Data and FBI Crime Data. You can download the data here.

After the dust settled, what was the best place to live in Alaska? That would be Cordova.

If your city or town isn't among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in Alaska.

Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Cordova at the end of the cul-de-sac.

Wrapping Up The Best Places When It Comes To Living In Alaska

If you're looking at areas in Alaska with the best economic situations, where there's lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

Cordova made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in Alaska for 2020.

Best Towns To Live In Alaska

  1. Farmers Loop (Pop. 4,517)
  2. Haines (Pop. 1,838)
  3. Goldstream (Pop. 3,960)
  4. Cordova (Pop. 3,047)
  5. Farm Loop (Pop. 1,119)
  6. Unalaska (Pop. 4,710)
  7. Diamond Ridge (Pop. 1,201)
  8. Healy (Pop. 1,115)
  9. Dillingham (Pop. 2,296)
  10. Ridgeway (Pop. 2,338)

Best Small Towns To Live In Alaska

  1. Skagway (Pop. 972)
  2. Kachemak (Pop. 537)
  3. Port Alsworth (Pop. 156)
  4. Moose Creek (Pop. 739)
  5. Elfin Cove (Pop. 26)
  6. Chignik Lagoon (Pop. 59)
  7. Tenakee Springs (Pop. 172)
  8. Seldovia (Pop. 247)
  9. Crown Point (Pop. 108)
  10. Naknek (Pop. 544)

If you're curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Alaska according to the data:

  1. Kotzebue (Pop. 3,288)
  2. Kenai (Pop. 7,687)
  3. Houston (Pop. 2,172)

For more Alaska reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Live In Alaska?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Cordova 3,055 2.5% $316,200
2 Unalaska 4,781 1.8% $342,600
3 Valdez 3,870 8.6% $189,700
4 Soldotna 4,589 3.3% $210,800
5 Homer 5,607 5.6% $273,300
6 North Pole 2,660 6.3% $222,100
7 Seward 2,770 7.6% $235,000
8 Sitka 8,738 4.4% $349,300
9 Juneau 32,330 5.8% $344,000
10 Nome 3,813 9.5% $239,800

How Is Your Town In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

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