Valdez (/vælˈdiːz, vəlˈdɛz/; Alutiiq: Suacit) is a city in Valdez-Cordova Census Area in the U.S. state of Alaska. According to the 2010 US Census, the population of the city is 3,976, down from 4,036 in 2000. The city was named in 1790 after the Spanish Navy Minister Antonio Valdés y Fernández Bazán. A former Gold Rush town, it is located at the head of a fjord on the eastern side of Prince William Sound. The port did not flourish until after the road link to Fairbanks was constructed in 1899. It suffered catastrophic damage during the 1964 Alaska earthquake, and is located near the site of the disastrous 1989 Exxon Valdez oil tanker spill. Today it is one of the most important ports in Alaska, a commercial fishing port as well as a freight terminal.
Valdez is located at 61°7′51″N 146°20′54″W / 61.13083°N 146.34833°W / 61.13083; -146.34833. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 277.1 square miles (718 km), of which, 222.0 square miles (575 km) is land and 55.1 square miles (143 km) (19.88%) is water.
Valdez is located near the head of a deep fjord in the Prince William Sound in Alaska. It is surrounded by the Chugach Mountains, which are heavily glaciated. Valdez is the northernmost port in North America that is ice-free year-round. The northernmost point of the coastal Pacific temperate rain forest is in Valdez, on Blueberry Hill.
Valdez first appeared on the 1900 U.S. Census as the unincorporated village of “Valdes.” It formally incorporated as Valdez in 1901, and has reported in every successive census. The original townsite was relocated in 1967 from the east side to the north side of Port Valdez after the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake, but still lays within the present city limits.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 3,976 people residing in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 78.6% White, 0.6% Black, 7.6% Native American, 1.9% Asian, 0.8% Pacific Islander and 5.8% from two or more races. 4.7% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
As of the census of 2000, there were 4,036 people, 1,494 households, and 1,042 families residing in the city. The population density was 18.2 people per square mile (7.0/km²). There were 1,645 housing units at an average density of 7.4 per square mile (2.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 83.62% White, 0.42% Black or African American, 7.19% Native American, 2.18% Asian, 0.45% Pacific Islander, 1.41% from other races, and 4.73% from two or more races. 3.96% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 1,494 households out of which 41.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.4% were married couples living together, 8.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.2% were non-families. 21.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 2.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.66 and the average family size was 3.15.
In the city, the age distribution of the population shows 29.7% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 33.2% from 25 to 44, 26.4% from 45 to 64, and 3.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 107.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 107.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $66,532, and the median income for a family was $74,188. Males had a median income of $56,932 versus $31,855 for females. The per capita income for the city was $27,341. About 5.0% of families and 6.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.3% of those under age 18 and 11.4% of those age 65 or over.