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Alaska is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent. Bordering the state to the east is the Canadian territory of Yukon and the Canadian province of British Columbia, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia (specifically, Chukotka Autonomous Okrug and Kamchatka Krai) further west across the Bering Strait. Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area, the 4th least populous and the least densely populated of the 50 United States. Approximately half of Alaska's 735,132 residents live within the Anchorage metropolitan area. Alaska's economy is dominated by the oilnatural gas, and fishing industries, resources which it has in abundance. Tourism is also a significant part of the economy.

Although it had been occupied for thousands of years by indigenous peoples, from the 18th century onward, European powers considered the territory of Alaska ripe for exploitation and trade. The United States purchased Alaska from the Russian Empire on March 30, 1867, for 7.2 million U.S. dollars at approximately two cents per acre ($4.74/km2). The area went through several administrative changes before becoming organized as a territory on May 11, 1912. It was admitted as the 49th state of the U.S. on January 3, 1959.


Wrangell-St.Elias National Park, the largest national park in the United States

Unimak Island, one of the Aleutian Islands

The Alaska State Capitol building in Juneau, AK. It is often considered to be one of the ugliest state capitol buildings.

A map showing Alaska's climate zones


Population Statistics

Census Counts (April 1)
2010710,231470.23 %308,745,538
2000626,932480.22 %281,421,906
1990550,043500.22 %248,790,925
1980401,851510.18 %226,545,805
2000 to 2010 % change13.3 %149.7 %
1990 to 2010 % change29.1 %1724.1 %
1980 to 2010 % change76.7 %636.3 %

Components of Population Change in 2014NumberRankPercent of U.S.U.S.
Net Domestic Migration-10,13738
Net International Migration2,115420.21 %995,944
Natural Increase (births minus deaths)6,976390.51 %1,363,581
Births11,221450.28 %3,957,577
Deaths4,245510.16 %2,593,996

Economy Statistics

Real Gross Domestic Product by State over Time (millions of chained 2009 dollars)Adj. Amount
RankChange Index
(YR 2009=100)
Change 2010 to 2014198480.398

Per Capita Personal IncomeNumberRankPercent of U.S.
Per Capita Income - 2014$52,90110114.7 %
Per Capita Income - 2004 (adj. for inflation)$44,76215104.1 %
Per Capita Income - 1994 (adj. for inflation)$40,2327113.0 %
Per Capita Income - 1984 (adj. for inflation)$44,1911140.5 %
10-Year % Change18.2 %4
20-Year % Change31.5 %28
30-Year % Change19.7 %51