Alaskans are a hardy bunch. They endure long, dark winters and enjoy the short but glorious summers with an enthusiasm that is infectious. And they do it all in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Now you can experience this wonder firsthand by relocating to Alaska! Alaskan culture has been shaped by its isolation from other parts of America and has created a unique identity for itself. But there’s more than just great scenery to love about living in Alaska; this article will offer you some of the pros and cons of living in our 49th state!
1. Where Is Alaska?
The state of Alaska is the largest in the United States and shares a border with Canada. It has a coastline that extends for thousands of miles. The Gulf of Alaska is on its southwest coast, while the Bering Sea is to its east. To its south are many islands, including parts of Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula and Japan’s Kuril Islands. In addition to being one of America’s youngest states (it was admitted as an American territory in 1959), it also has some other distinctions: it’s home to Denali National Park, which includes North America’s tallest mountain; more than half of all Americans live within 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) or so from this state, and few Americans know how to pronounce its name.
The state is named after the massive river that runs through it. The “A” in Alaska comes from Aleut Alaska, meaning “great land.” The second part of the word comes from a Russian term that refers to an area that was settled by indigenous people. The name’s pronunciation has long been the subject of argument. It’s an odd combination of letters, and not everyone agrees on how it should be said.
2. Pros of Living in Alaska
Some people might consider the following to be pros of living in Alaska:
-The scenery is beautiful, and there are many opportunities for outdoor activities especially hunting and fishing.
-There are lots of open jobs for people willing to work with their hands or in the Alaska oil industry.
-The cost of living is generally cheaper than living in most cities with a comparable climate (which would probably be somewhere in Canada)
-Alaska was rated #1 for quality of life by the United Health Foundation in 2014.
-The people are friendly and laid back.
-The crime rate is relatively low compared to other states.
-Public education standards are high, and college tuition is generally affordable for most people.
-The state of Alaska has no income tax.
3. Cons of Living in Alaska
Many people might consider the following to be cons of living in Alaska:
-The winter is long, dark, and extremely cold with little sunlight-and the summers are short and cool.
-The road system is poor-and many towns are not accessible by road at all.
-Marionettes (such as TV, internet, or radio) don’t reach some parts of Alaska -so if you want to watch regular TV, you will probably need a dish.
-There is a high crime rate, and Alaska has one of the highest rates for rape in the US.
-It is difficult to get anywhere from Anchorage without a car, and there aren’t many buses or trains.
-There are very few shopping malls or places to spend your spare time.
-The schools are ranked as one of the worst in the nation.
-It is difficult to find work outside of large cities like Anchorage and Fairbanks, although there are some opportunities in rural villages.
4. Cost of Living in Alaska
It’s not just the price of groceries that are high in Alaska; it’s the cost of everything. The average house price is $303,000, and a gallon of gas will set you back about $2.80 to start with. The median household income is only $65,000, which won’t go far with the current cost of living.
Alaska is the only state that was not in the top 10 for income, but it is ranked number 5 when it comes to the cost of living.
It’s no wonder so many people are feeling poor these days. The idea of being ‘well off’ has become a thing of the past. Researchers say the time needed to pay off all of one’s debts is more than twice as long as it was a quarter-century ago.
5. Career Opportunities in Alaska
Oil is the main reason that Alaska has a booming economy. The state produces more oil than any other state in America, and this fact alone has made it one of the wealthiest states in the country. It’s also why so many people move to Alaska every year as well, looking for work or to start their own business. Working remotely is not a very common career path to take, but a few companies have been able to take advantage of this movement and become global businesses from their headquarters in Alaska.
Mead Johnson Nutrition is a perfect example of what you can do with a company that loves Alaska as much as its employees. In 2017 the company was ranked at number 11 on Fortune’s list of most admired companies in the world, which is no easy feat. Mead Johnson Nutrition has spent a lot of time and resources investing in its employees by providing safe workspaces with great views, the latest technology equipment for manufacturing, and opportunities to attend online classes that have helped many of their employees move up within the company.
This thriving economy provides so many opportunities for people with different types of career backgrounds.
6. Weather in Alaska
The weather in Alaska is very diverse. The climate of the state ranges from subarctic to subtropical, and temperatures in some regions may vary by as much as 50 °F (28 °C) throughout the year. One reason for this variability is that there are three separate air masses present during any given day, each with its own source of heat or cold. These three competing air masses are from what meteorologists call the “triple point.” If one mass prevails over another, then certain parts of Alaska will be hotter or colder for a period of time. This fact also helps create many microclimates in different parts of the state where residents can find a more temperate version of their normal climate within just a few miles (kilometers) of home. The prevailing winds that affect Alaska most are the “pampero” wind, which blows out of the south in the summer months, and the “northwestern,” which comes from the north.
Alaska’s temperatures vary depending on location, elevation, latitude, and distance from an ocean or watercourse. On average, the highest temperature recorded is 90 °F (32 °C) in Fort Yukon, and the lowest is −80 °F (−62 °C), west of McGrath. The length of a day varies from more than 17 hours around midsummer to just over 6 hours in midwinter. The average window for freezing temperatures is September 26 thru May 18.
7. Regions of Alaska
Alaska is a land with such large distances that it is broken into regions just for the purposes of describing areas and locations. Some regions span multiple time zones. The map on this page shows most major cities, highways, rivers, and mountain ranges of Alaska’s regions as they are grouped or related by geography and, in some cases, by time zone.
Some of the most prominent regions in Alaska:
Western Alaska is an area that stretches from Prince William Sound to Bristol Bay and surrounding areas. It has a number of coastal towns but is also home to major oil and natural gas fields such as Cook Inlet, Point Thomson, and Prudhoe Bay. Western Alaska is separated from the Eastern Gulf of Alaska by the Shelikof Strait and Kodiak Island, thus making these regions geographically distinct.
The Southcentral region contains most of the state’s population and its largest city, Anchorage. This area also hosts an oil and natural gas field and a major terminus for rail traffic. The Railbelt is the heavily populated area surrounding the city of Anchorage and including Southcentral Alaska but excludes the Kenai Peninsula.
The Interior is somewhat of a misnomer; it is not truly interior in relation to, for example, Canada. However, its usage probably derives from the fact that it is a high mountainous region less accessible by road than other parts of the state.
The Southeast is the panhandle and also includes Prince William Sound. It has a very distinct climate which borders on humid continental in the Southeast and subarctic oceanic in the northern part of that region.
- Eastern Gulf of Alaska – Chugach National Forest
- Western Alaska – Copper River Delta
- Central Alaska – Denali National Park
- Southcentral – Anchorage and Matanuska-Susitna Valley.
- The Railbelt (South-central) – Eagle River, Girdwood, and Whittier.
- Southeast – Sitka, Juneau, and Ketchikan.
- Northern Alaska/ Brooks Range – Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
- Arctic Alaska – The North Slope and the Northwest Arctic Borough.
Alaska is a place where you can live in peace and solitude, surrounded by the beautiful natural world. You also get to enjoy all of the wildlife that comes with it as well as abundant fishing opportunities. If you’re looking for an escape from the everyday hustle and bustle of big city life, Alaska may be just what you’re looking for! The downside? Those same vast spaces make it more difficult than most states to connect on a regular basis with family members or friends who don’t share your lifestyle choice.