Alaska is a Migratory State
Every year Alaska has one of the highest rates of people moving in and out of the state
ALASKA – Every year Alaska has one of the highest rates of people moving in and out of the state.
The State Department of Labor just issued a report looking at migratory patterns from 2000 to 2010.
Alaska averages only one percent in population growth per year, but that statistic belies the fact that there's plenty of movement in and out of the state all the time.
"By definition, Alaska is a migratory state,” said economist Neal Fried. He said up to 30,000 people move in or out of Alaska each year.
A large influence of that number has to do with the strong military presence in the state. "But even without the military – obviously, the military is by definition migratory – you know Alaska has the most seasonal economy in the country."
The state population is pretty steady at 720,000 people, the comings and goings are changing things, Fried said. "Alaska is becoming more and more diverse over time, and this is a very diverse state and a lot of that diversity is coming from somewhere else."
"We have a disproportionate amount of people that are migrating to Alaska, in the last 10 years, that may be of Asian descent or may be of Hispanic descent."
There's also the widespread impression that people arrive or are slow to leave because of the Permanent Fund dividend.
"There might be effect, but no one's really looked at it,” said Fried. "People sort of guess about it, but it's hard to say that is specifically attracting or retaining a certain percent of the population."
For one woman, the decision to remain in Alaska was simple.
“When I first stepped off the plane and I felt the cold and the air, and the air was so clean, you know compared to other states I've been in,” said Easter Houser, who moved to Alaska 10 years ago, “and that instantly made me fall in love with Alaska and I decided I'm going to stay here."
Fried said Alaska's population is slowly starting to age, but we remain the second or third youngest state in the country.