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Anchorage’s population declines by 1.8%

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(The Center Square) – Alaska’s largest cities and towns have lost residents since 2020, but some smaller cities have gained new people, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The bureau’s latest report shows population shifts across the country over the last few years. Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau all showed declines.

From April 2020 to July 2023, Anchorage lost 5,169 residents, according to the report, dropping from 291,244 residents to 286,075 – a decline of 1.8%.

Fairbanks saw its population shrink by 2%, losing 656 residents. Juneau also saw a 2% decrease, falling from 32,512 residents to 31,856 – a loss of 656 people, the report showed.

While Alaska’s larger areas saw declines, some smaller parts of Alaska experienced increases between 2022 and 2023.

Homer gained 178 additional residents, Palmer gained 116 more, and Soldotna grew by 53.

The latest data shows that the majority of the U.S. population lives in smaller communities, with just 39% living in cities of 50,000 or more people.

“On average, these small towns experienced uneven population change across the U.S. regions,” the report said. “In particular, small towns in the Midwest and Northeast experienced lower rates of decline in 2023, decreasing by an average of 0.3% and 0.1%, respectively, compared to 0.4% and 0.2%, respectively, in 2022.”

Alaska was also among the states with the slowest rates of housing growth. Housing was up by 0.1%, the report said. Other states with the slowest growth rate were Rhode Island and Illinois, both at 0.2%.

As of 2023, Alaska is estimated to have 329,699 housing units, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the second-smallest number of units in the country. Wyoming has the smallest number of units at 280,121. California, Texas and Florida rounded out the top three for the most housing units, according to the bureau.

From 2022 to 2023, the housing stock across the U.S. grew by 1.6 million units, 1.1%.

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