Palmer is a city in and the borough seat of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. It is part of the Anchorage Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 5,937.
Palmer is located at 61°36′7″N 149°7′2″W / 61.60194°N 149.11722°W / 61.60194; -149.11722 (61.601879, −149.117351).
Palmer is 42 miles (68 km) northeast of Anchorage on the Glenn Highway. It lies on the north shore of the Matanuska River, not far above tidewater, in a wide valley between the Talkeetna Mountains to the north and the Chugach Mountains to the south and east. Pioneer Peak rises over 6,000 feet (1,800 m) above the town, just a few miles south. East of Palmer is Lazy Mountain, and standing behind that is Matanuska Peak. Lazy Mountain, Matanuska Peak, and Pioneer Peak are all a part of the Chugach Range. North of Palmer are the Talkeetna Mountains. Hatcher Pass, a local favorite for hiking, skiing and other recreational activities, is located in this mountain range about 22 mi (35 km) from Palmer.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.8 square miles (9.8 km), all of it land.
Palmer and Wasilla are the two major old-town cores of the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. Population of the area has grown dramatically in the past decade; Borough officials estimate the local population at 8,000.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 5,937 people, 1,472 households, and 1,058 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,206.3 people per square mile (465.5/km²). There were 1,555 housing units at an average density of 413.8 per square mile (159.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 80.94% White, 2.05% Black or African American, 8.18% Native American, 1.06% Asian, 0.33% Pacific Islander, 1.15% from other races, and 6.29% from two or more races. 3.51% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 14.9% were of German, 10.5% United States or American, 8.9% Irish and 8.7% English ancestry according to Census 2000.
There were 1,472 households out of which 47.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.3% were married couples living together, 16.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.1% were non-families. 23.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.81 and the average family size was 3.29.
In the city, the age distribution of the population shows 33.6% under the age of 18, 11.8% from 18 to 24, 28.7% from 25 to 44, 16.8% from 45 to 64, and 9.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $45,571, and the median income for a family was $53,164. Males had a median income of $44,716 versus $25,221 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,203. About 6.0% of families and 12.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.6% of those under age 18 and 4.2% of those age 65 or over.