Anchorage, Alaska – Alaska’s population is growing faster than anywhere else in the United States, a new report shows.
Alaska has an estimated population of 6.2 million people and more than 9 million are estimated to be living in poverty, with about 2.5 million of them living in Anchorage alone, according to the most recent Census figures.
That’s up from 1.9 million and 3.4 million in 2015, the previous year.
Alaskans who are living below the poverty line are the most vulnerable to the impact of climate change, said Alaskan King County Executive Dow Constantine, whose county is the largest in the state.
Constantine said climate change is not only making the state less productive and less resilient to storms, but it also makes the poor less likely to be able to afford basic needs, such as food and clothing.
“We are not a high-income state.
We are a high cost state,” Constantine said.
“So this is a situation where we have people who are going to have to do more with less, and we have to keep the cost of living low.”
Alaska’s population grew by almost 3 percent between 2011 and 2017, according a report by the Center for Alaska Policy, a think tank based in Anchorage.
In contrast, population growth in New Mexico, which is also home to the state’s largest city, has slowed.
The report found that the number of people living below $15,000 a year in Anchorage and about two-thirds of the state are at or below that level, compared to more than half of the population of Alaska in 2014.
Albany, New York and California are the only states where more than a quarter of the people living in low-income households are below the federal poverty level.
Alcohol and drugs also are among the top concerns for Anchorage residents, said Helena Shumlin, a professor of public policy at the University of Alaska Anchorage.
Alcohol is a major contributor to homelessness, and prescription drugs are another major contributor.
Alpine communities are especially vulnerable because the land around Anchorage is a popular place to camp, Shumins said.
It is a place where people come to spend time, relax and socialize, she said.
“In my opinion, the more people living at the periphery of Alaska’s economy, the less it is going to be an area that people can go and relax,” Shumlins said.
The latest census also found that Alaska’s median household income is $33,000, up slightly from $32,000 in the previous census.
Alkali’s population growth has slowed from an estimated 8.3 percent in the year 2000 to an estimated 7.5 percent in 2017.
That was the slowest rate since the 1950s.
The country’s population has grown by an average of 5.2 percent a year for the past two decades, according the U.S. Census Bureau.