Moving to Alaska takes courage. So, if you’ve decided to take the leap and explore the not so populated, filled with fresh air, territories of America’s Last Frontier, then cheers to you!
Most people who move to Alaska prefer to be away from the city noise, crowds, and complications. A simpler and less stressful life is what many of us want. But not everyone can handle The Last Frontier, especially if it comes with 6 months of freezing darkness or endless days without a setting sun.
No doubt that living in Alaska is adventurous, but it could be stressful at times, (remember our friend THE BEAR). You have to prepare well to enter a new, different way of living.
Before moving to Alaska
What do you need to know before moving to Alaska? It really depends on your goals. For instance, if you are looking for solitary life up North, i.e. being a Bushman, then you should learn how to hunt (even better if you get licensed), build a house from scratch, and ration your supplies well, because you can only get what you need a few times a year.
Alaska is the least populated state in America for its size (570, 640.95 square miles) – 737,438 residents, according to the 2018 Census, with a population density of 1.26 per square mile. So if your goal is to get away from people – you are on the right track.
If you happen to be interested in modern life, rich in outdoor experiences Alaska can offer that too. In this case, you might want to go for one of the bigger cities – Anchorage, Fairbanks, or Juneau. These three cities also offer a lot of career opportunities. The fact that Alaska is being targeted by so many big companies nowadays, finding a job shouldn’t be hard.
Alaska is the only state that does not collect state sales tax or levy an individual income tax on earned or unearned personal income (only some cities do). On top of that, every Alaskan receives a yearly payment from the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation. Every resident can apply online to receive the Permanent Fund Dividend.
The absence of personal income tax may be very appealing, but the weather may still be your concern. The good news is that you shouldn’t worry about it. Although it does get very cold in the winter, up to -65 F in some regions, the summer can be very pleasant with temperatures varying between 60 – 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Finding a place to live in Alaska
- The City of Sitka, situated on the West side of Baranof Island, is one of the safest cities in Alaska, with a crime rate of 2, 379 crimes per 100, 000 people. It is well known for its high median real estate price of $384,500. Sitka has incredible air quality (one of the lowest pollution rates -> 13) and an average summer temperature of 55F. If you consider going to a university or expanding your career, this might be the place for you – the city is famous for its university and the Baranof Island Brewing Company.
- Anchorage is a dream come true. It has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, standing at 5.1%, a huge amount of career opportunities, no sales tax, and an average summer temperature of 56 degrees. You can expect a bit more expensive homes and the rent is a bit higher too. However, the median household income stands higher as well.
Photo credit to packca.files.wordpress.com
- Juneau means the great quality of life, 4.6% unemployment, comes with all the amenities you might need. Of course, the real estate is on the higher end, however, the median household income is 20% higher than the rest of the state. Alaska’s capital is not to be overlooked. But make sure to have a job before you move; unless your relocation is temporary and you are ok with a seasonal gig.
Photo credit to wickershamsconscience.files.wordpress.com
- Fairbanks. There’s very little chance you haven’t heard of the University of Alaska Fairbanks and its Museum. And in terms of quality of life and access to amenities, the city stands right behind Juneau. If you want to move to Alaska, but the cold is not really your cup of tea, then you should go straight for Fairbanks. With an average summer temperature of 60 degrees, it is one of the warmest places to live in Alaska.
The above-mentioned cities are barely the tip of the iceberg. There are so many wonderful places and cities to check out. If you love winter sports, go to Bethel. If low taxes are your priority – well, that’s not hard to find in Alaska. And if safety is your main concern, the crime rate in Alaska’s major cities is incredibly low – Wrangell standing at 1, 410 crimes per 100, 000 people.
In terms of business opportunities, Alaska is becoming more and more popular in the technology and healthcare sectors. And as in every other state, the bigger the city, the more chances you have for career advancement. However, if this is not your priority or you are happy with hospitality or a fishing job, then any city in Alaska would suit you.
Curious facts about Alaska
- Out of the 20 highest peaks in the US, 17 are located in Alaska. Denali (The Great One) equals 20, 320ft above the sea level and is the highest peak in North America
- Alaska has enormous storage of water. There are more than 3 000 rivers and over 3 million lakes only in the state of Alaska
- Alaska has the highest number of active glaciers, equaling 5% of the state’s surface. In total, the state has around 100, 000 glaciers
- The state also has more than 70 potentially active volcanoes, which is not great considering that Alaska gets approximately 5 000 earthquakes each year
And of course, you can explore all of the National Parks in Alaska. But let’s face it – any place in Alaska looks and feels like a National Park.