Where are the best places in the state of Alaska?
To the untrained eye they are the places that have awesome economies. They’re the places in Last Frontier where people have the best jobs, residents are all above average, and the sun shines the most.
However, here at HomeSnacks, we don’t trust the untrained eye and instead look to data to understand the best places to call home in Alaska.
There might be some surprises on this list, but when you look at the unbiased data, it’s hard to argue against.
After analyzing 22 places in Alaska, we came up with this list of the best places:
- Sitka (Photos)
- Juneau (Photos)
- Homer (Photos)
- North Pole
Follow along as we provide more insight into how we reached our overall best 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 32,524 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 22 cities, 45 towns, and 285 small towns.
We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best places have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 2,000 people to truly be ‘the best’.
You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.
How We Calculated The Best Place 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 22, 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
- Education Levels
- Health Insurance Coverage
- Poverty rates
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 Unalaska at the end of the cul-de-sac.
Population: 4,710Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Home Values: $339,900 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 0.9% (1st best)
Unalaska had the 1st lowest unemployment of any place in our research (0.9%) and the 2nd lowest crime rate. However, the relative lack of population density and long commute times held it back from being higher on our list.
Unalaska is home to an exceptional Volunteer Fire Department that represents so much about what it’s like to live there.
Population: 3,047Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Home Values: $299,500 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.3% (3rd best)
Cordova is a short drive from everything, but who would want to leave the 2nd best place in Alaska?
Homes are priced around $299,500 and residents have the 13th shortest commute in Alaska.
Population: 8,921Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 2)
Home Values: $341,600 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.5% (4th best)
Sitka ranks 3rd on our list of best places to live in Alaska thanks to its low unemployment and high adjusted median income.
Additionally, its crime rate ranks in the lowest 10% of all places in Alaska that we examined.
People have been flocking to Sitka over the past years. Goes to show that everyone wants in on this great community.
Population: 3,930Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Home Values: $189,000 (19th best)
Unemployment Rate: 10.7% (18th best)
Valdez makes a case for being one of the best places to live in Alaska mainly because of a low crime rate and a higher than average household income level.
And when school spending is higher than the national average and only 10.7% of folks are jobless, you can bet Valdez residents are glad to live where they do.
Population: 32,524Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 3)
Home Values: $329,500 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.9% (6th best)
Now, we come to Juneau. For a city with such a large population, Juneau has a noticeably low crime rate, good schools and low commute times. And an argument can be made that there’s probably lots more to do in Juneau than other places on the list as well.
Add that all up and Juneau places 5th in our ranking of the best places to live in Alaska for 2018.
Population: 2,714Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 5)
Home Values: $192,500 (18th best)
Unemployment Rate: 8.0% (10th best)
Seward is another great city in Alaska with a low unemployment rate and where residents earn high salaries.
Said one reviewer on City-Data.com: ” We feel incredibly safe in Seward. The houses and neighborhoods are beautiful, the people are friendly, and it’s wonderful to have such good neighbors. People watch out for each other here, they teach their children to be respectful of others and things.”
Population: 5,418Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 3)
Home Values: $269,200 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 7.4% (9th best)
Homer is feeling the love as it ranks as the 7th best city to live in Alaska for 2015.
It ranked highly because of its high incomes (18th overall) and low crime (8th overall and one of the best in the top ten).
We think the city should probably change its motto at this point to something like “The Place To Be In Alaska”.
Population: 2,296 Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 5)
Home Values: $255,500 (6th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.8% (5th best)
Looks like little Dillingham might be a hidden gem in Alaska. The population is shrinking a bit, despite the fact that home values are still rising ($255,500) and crime is really low (13th lowest in the state).
Perhaps the cat’s now out of the bag — quick better move in before prices go up more.
9. North Pole
Population: 2,300Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 2)
Home Values: $217,000 (12th best)
Unemployment Rate: 7.1% (7th best)
The Town of North Pole might be a bit of a surprise to some in terms of how well it ranks according to science.
The crime rate in North Pole isn’t amazing, but it’s far below the state average. The homes are valued at $217,000 here, and the schools get some of the most funding in Alaska.
If North Pole can get some more of their residents to work, things will look even rosier here. The unemployment rate (7.1% is the 7th highest in the state.
Population: 4,471Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Home Values: $223,000 (11th best)
Unemployment Rate: 9.2% (13th best)
Soldotna is by far one of the best places to live in Alaska: the math proves it! This city has the 13th lowest unemployment rate and the 14th highest median income in all of Alaska.
\nPlus, the median home values are the 11th highest in the state. And if all of that isn’t enough to convince you, then check this out: their crime rate is the 19th lowest in the state, making Soldotna a safe and great place to live.
Wrapping Up The Best Of The Best 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.
Unalaska made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for 2018.
Best Towns To Live In Alaska
- Farmers Loop (Pop. 4,517)
- Prudhoe Bay (Pop. 2,530)
- Kodiak Station (Pop. 1,353)
- Haines (Pop. 1,838)
- Goldstream (Pop. 3,960)
- Cordova (Pop. 3,047)
- Eielson AFB (Pop. 2,826)
- Farm Loop (Pop. 1,119)
- Unalaska (Pop. 4,710)
- Diamond Ridge (Pop. 1,201)
Best Small Towns To Live In Alaska
- Bettles (Pop. 36)
- Fox (Pop. 403)
- Halibut Cove (Pop. 36)
- Sunrise (Pop. 53)
- Mud Bay (Pop. 197)
- Skagway (Pop. 972)
- Four Mile Road (Pop. 4)
- Port Alsworth (Pop. 156)
- Elfin Cove (Pop. 26)
- Hope (Pop. 55)
If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Alaska:
- Houston (Pop. 2,028)
- Kotzebue (Pop. 3,288)
- Barrow (Pop. 4,316)
For more Alaska reading , check out:
- 10 Small Towns In Alaska Where You’d Never Want To Live
- These Are The 10 Most Redneck Cities In Alaska
- If You’re From Alaska This Will Be The Most Jaw-Dropping Thing You See Today. Guaranteed.
Detailed List Of The Best Cities In Alaska