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State Facts

  • Abbreviation: AK
  • Admitted to the Union: January 3, 1959 (49)
  • Population (2000): 626,932 (48)
  • Population (2008): 686,293 (47) - (+ 9.47%)
  • Capital: Juneau
  • Largest City: Anchorage
  • State Bird: Willow Ptarmigan
  • State Flower: Forget-Me-Not
  • State Nicknames: Land of the Midnight Sun – The Last Frontier – Seward’s Folly
  • State Motto: North to the Future

Largest Cities

  • Anchorage (279,671)
  • Fairbanks (34,540)
  • Juneau (30,690)
  • Wasilla (9,780)
  • Sitka (8,874)
  • Kenai (7,686)
  • Ketchikan (7,368)
  • Bethel (6,431)
  • Kodiak (6,182)
  • Barrow (3,928)

Racial Composition

  • Caucasian/White: 463,815 (68.5%)
  • Native American: 90,702 (13.4%)
  • Two or More Races: 49,039 (7.2%)
  • Hispanic/Latino: 37,280 (5.5%)
  • Asian: 31,165 (4.6%)
  • African American/Black: 25,429 (3.8%)
  • Some Other Race: 12,982 (1.9%)
  • Pacific Islander: 3,646 (0.5%)


Alaska was purchased from Russia in 1868 for $7.2 million. Russia had held the territory since 1741, but found little use for it. A gold rush in 1896 began to prove Alaska's value as an addition to the territory of the United States. The later discovery of oil reserves furthered its strategic and economic importance. It became the 49th state in 1959.

A common misconception is that all residents of Alaska receive welfare. This is false. After a resident has lived in the state for a full calendar year, he or she becomes eligible to receive payments from the Alaska Permanent Fund. According to state law, the fund is constructed like so:

"At least 25 percent of all mineral lease rentals, royalties, royalty sales proceeds, federal mineral revenue-sharing payments and bonuses received by the state be placed in a permanent fund, the principal of which may only be used for income-producing investments."

The dividends from these investments are collected and averaged over 5-year periods, and used to provide dividend checks to the residents. In 2004, every qualifying man, woman, and child received $919.84 from the fund, which was its lowest payout in ten years.

To reiterate: the Alaska Permanent Fund is not a welfare program. It is an incentive program to attract new residents and reward existing ones. Due to Alaska's high cost of living (as compared to the contiguous 48 states), the fund is helpful to residents attempting to offset higher expenses.

Politically, Alaskans are largely Republican, reflecting their desire to fully exploit the natural resources Alaska has to offer. They are also socially conservative, especially in rural areas. A significant problem facing Alaskan politics is the low turnout of native voters. As a result, native interests are underrepresented.

In presidential elections, the state's Electoral College votes have been most often won by a Republican nominee. Only once has Alaska supported a Democratic nominee (Lyndon B. Johnson in the landslide year of 1964), although the 1960 and 1968 elections were close. No state has voted for a Democratic presidential candidate fewer times. President George W. Bush won the state's electoral votes in 2004 by a margin of 25 percentage points with 61.1% of the vote. Democrats often do best in Juneau.

Alaska Congressional Delegation

Alaska State Government

  • Executive Branch
    • Governor: Sean Parnell (R)
    • Lieutenant Governor/Secretary of State: Mead Treadwell (R)
    • Attorney General: Dan Sullivan (R)
    • State Treasurer: Jerry Burnett (R)
    • State Auditor: Pat Davidson (R)
  • Alaska State Constitution
    • Alaska Constitution

Alaska Boroughs

  • interactive map (U.S. Census Bureau)
  • Alaska boroughs (National Association of Counties)
  • Local Government > Alaska (
  • Alaska boroughs (epodunk)

Alaska Elections

Progressive organizations, news, radio

Political Blogs

See also

Personal tools