Census data for the state shows population gains and losses
ANCHORAGE — The borough of Matanuska-Susitna north of Anchorage has gained the most people over the past decade, according to U.S. Census data released Thursday.
The sprawling borough nearly the same size as Ireland and anchored by the communities of Wasilla and Palmer gained 18,086 residents between 2010 and 2020, a growth rate of just over 20%, according to figures from the census. Figures show the borough with 107,081 residents, and it is only the second largest borough or municipality in Alaska with over 100,000 residents.
The municipality of Anchorage remains the largest in the state with 291,247 residents. Anchorage had 579 fewer residents than in the 2010 census, or 0.2%.
Juneau’s population saw a slight increase over the decade, according to census data. In April 2010, the population of the city and borough of Juneau was 31,275. As of July 2020, 32,255 Juneau residents have been counted. That’s a gain of 980, or just over 3%.
By percentage, the Mat-Su wasn’t the state’s biggest winner. The addition of 272 residents of the municipality of Skagway compared to 2010 equates to a growth rate of 28%, according to the figures.
The Fairbanks North Star Borough has lost the most people over the past decade, nearly 2,000 residents, or 2% of its population. It has 95,655 inhabitants.
The Borough of Haines lost the highest percentage of residents at 17%, caused by a decrease in population of 428 people.
The release of redistricting data from the 2020 census was more than four months later than expected due to delays caused by the pandemic. The redistricting numbers that states use to redraw congressional and legislative districts show where white, Asian, black and Hispanic communities have grown over the past decade. It also shows which areas have aged or rejuvenated and the number of people living in dormitories, prisons and nursing homes. The data covers geographic areas as small as neighborhoods and as large as states.
An earlier dataset released in April provided state population figures and showed the United States had 331 million people last year, a 7.4% increase from 2010.
Alaska’s population grew to 733,391, an increase of 3.3% from the 2010 census.
The Alaska Redistricting Board announced in April that the target population for each of Alaska’s 40 districts would be 18,335.
The board, in a statement, said it received redistricting data from the US Census Bureau on Thursday.
“Our staff is working with experts from the Department of Labor to import the data so that we can begin work on drawing new Alaska legislative districts as soon as possible,” council chairman John Binkley said in the statement.
The state Department of Labor plans to notify board members of the demographic changes on August 23.
• Ben Hohenstatt contributed reporting for this article.