Anchorage (officially called the Municipality of Anchorage; Dena’ina: Dgheyaytnu) is a unified home rule municipality in the U.S. state of Alaska, on the West Coast of the United States. With an estimated 291,538 residents in 2018, it is Alaska’s most populous city and contains more than 40% of the state’s population; among the 50 states, only New York has a higher percentage of residents who live in its most populous city. The Anchorage metropolitan area, which includes Anchorage and the neighboring Matanuska-Susitna Borough, had a population of 399,148 in 2018, accounting for more than half the state’s population. At 1,706 square miles (4,420 km) of land area, the city is the fourth-largest by area in the United States and larger than the smallest state, Rhode Island, which has 1,212 square miles (3,140 km).
Anchorage is in Southcentral Alaska. At 61 degrees north, it lies slightly farther north than Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki and Saint Petersburg, but not as far north as Reykjavík or Murmansk. It is northeast of the Alaska Peninsula, Kodiak Island, and Cook Inlet, due north of the Kenai Peninsula, northwest of Prince William Sound and the Alaska Panhandle, and nearly due south of Denali.
The city is on a strip of coastal lowland and extends up the lower alpine slopes of the Chugach Mountains. Point Campbell, the westernmost point of Anchorage on the mainland, juts out into Cook Inlet near its northern end, at which point it splits into two arms. To the south is Turnagain Arm, a fjord that has some of the world’s highest tides. Knik Arm, another tidal inlet, lies to the west and north. The Chugach Mountains on the east form a boundary to development, but not to the city limits, which encompass part of the wild alpine territory of Chugach State Park.
The city’s sea coast consists mostly of treacherous mudflats. Newcomers and tourists are warned not to walk in this area because of extreme tidal changes and the very fine glacial silt. Unwary victims have walked onto the solid seeming silt revealed when the tide is out and have become stuck in the mud. The two recorded instances of this occurred in 1961 and 1988.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the municipality has an area of 1,961.1 square miles (5,079.2 km); 1,697.2 square miles (4,395.8 km) of which is land and 263.9 square miles (683.4 km) of it is water. The total area is 13.46% water.
Boroughs and census areas next to the Municipality of Anchorage are Matanuska-Susitna Borough to the north, Kenai Peninsula Borough to the south and Valdez-Cordova Census Area to the east. The Chugach National Forest, a national protected area, extends into the southern part of the municipality, near Girdwood and Portage.
Anchorage first appeared on the 1920 U.S. Census. It incorporated that same year. In 1975, it consolidated with its borough.
According to the 2010 census, Anchorage had a population of 291,826 and its racial and ethnic composition was as follows:
According to the 2010 census, the largest national ancestry groups were as follows: 17.3% German, 10.8% Irish, 9.1% English, 6.9% Scandinavian (3.6% Norwegian, 2.2% Swedish, 0.6% Danish) and 5.6% French/French Canadian ancestry.
According to the 2010 American Community Survey, approximately 82.3% of residents over the age of five spoke only English at home. Spanish was spoken by 3.8% of the population; speakers of other Indo-European languages made up 3.0% of the population; those who spoke Asian and Pacific Islander languages at home were 9.1%; and speakers of other languages made up 1.8%.
In 2010, there were 291,826 people, 107,332 households and 70,544 families residing in the municipality. The population density was 171.2 per square mile (59.2/km). There were 113,032 housing units at an average density of 59.1 per square mile (22.8/km). There were 107,332 households out of which 33.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.4% were married couples living together, 11.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 34.3% were non-families. 24.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.19. The age distribution was 26.0% under 18, 11.2% from 18 to 24, 29.0% from 25 to 44, 26.6% from 45 to 64, and 7.2% who were 65 or older. The median age was 32.9 years. 50.8% of the population was male and 49.2% were female.
The median income for a household in the municipality was $73,004, and the median income for a family was $85,829. The per capita income for the municipality was $34,678. About 5.1% of families and 7.9% of the population were below the poverty line. Of the city’s population over the age of 25, 33.7% held a bachelor’s degree or higher, and 92.1% had a high school diploma or equivalent.
In 2010, 83.7% (220,304) of Anchorage residents aged five and older spoke only English at home, while 4.47% (11,769) spoke Spanish, 2.53% (6,654) Tagalog, 1.56% (4,108) various Pacific Island languages, 1.38% (3,636) various Native American/Alaska Native languages, 1.14% (2,994) Korean, 0.63% (1,646) German, 0.57% (1,502) Hmong, 0.50% (1,307) Russian, and Japanese was spoken as a main language by 0.45% (1,185) of the population over the age of five. In total, 16.33% (43,010) of Anchorage’s population aged five and older spoke a mother language other than English.
As of September 7, 2006, 94 languages were spoken by students in the Anchorage School District.