Shishmaref (/ˈʃɪʃmərɛf/ SHISH-mə-ref; Inupiaq: Qigiqtaq, IPA: [qeʁeqtɑq]; Russian: Шишмарёв, IPA: [ʂɨʂmɐˈrʲɵf]) is a city in the Nome Census Area, Alaska, United States. It is located on Sarichef Island in the Chukchi Sea, just north of the Bering Strait and five miles from the mainland. Shishmaref lies within the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve. The population was 563 at the 2010 census, up from 562 in 2000.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.3 square miles (19 km), of which, 2.8 square miles (7.3 km) of it is land and 4.5 square miles (12 km) of it (61.62%) is water.
Shishmaref was named in 1821 by explorer Lt. Otto von Kotzebue, of the Imperial Russian Navy, after Capt. Lt. Gleb Shishmaryov who accompanied him on his exploration.
Sarichef Island (on which Shishmaref is located) is part of a dynamic, 100 km-long barrier island chain that records human and environmental history spanning the past 2000 years; the oldest subaerial evidence for the formation of this system is about 1700 years before present, according to carbon 14 dating (see References, below). Erosion at Shishmaref is unique along the islands because of its fetch exposure and high tidal prism, relatively intense infrastructure development during the 20th century, and multiple shoreline defense structures built beginning in the 1970s.
Shishmaref first appeared on the 1920 U.S. Census as an unincorporated village. It formally incorporated in 1969.
As of the census of 2000, there were 562 people, 142 households, and 110 families residing in the city. The population density was 202.0 people per square mile (78.1/km²). There were 148 housing units at an average density of 53.2 per square mile (20.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 93.24% Native American (mainly Inupiat), 5.34% White, and 1.42% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.53% of the population.
Of the 142 households 52.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.6% were married couples living together, 19.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.5% were non-families. 21.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.96 and the average family size was 4.59.
In the city, the population was spread out with 40.9% under the age of 18, 11.4% from 18 to 24, 29.4% from 25 to 44, 12.6% from 45 to 64, and 5.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 24 years. For every 100 females, there were 125.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 121.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $30,714, and the median income for a family was $29,306. Males had a median income of $35,357 versus $25,000 for females. The per capita income for the city was $10,487. About 16.2% of families and 16.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.2% of those under age 18 and 10.5% of those age 65 or over.
Shishmaref Alaska neighborhoods include: Anchorage, Anchor Point, Chiniak, Chugiak, Clam Gulch, Cooper Landing, Delta Junction, Douglas, Eagle River, Eielson Afb, Elmendorf Afb, Fairbanks, Fort Richardson, Girdwood, Haines, Homer, Indian, Juneau, Kasilof, Kenai, Ketchikan, Kodiak, Metlakatla, Moose Pass, Nikolaevsk, Ninilchik, North Pole, Salcha, Seward, Sitka, Soldotna, Sterling, Tyonek, Wasilla