Things to Know Before Moving to Alaska

Things to Know Before Moving to Alaska

Are you mulling over moving to Alaska?

Alaska, the last frontier, is a postcard state drenched in serene beauty. ‘Getting close to nature’ takes on a whole new meaning when you are here. Living in Alaska is wholly different from anywhere you’ve lived before.

To help you out, we’ve got a few things you need to know before moving to Alaska.

Quick facts of Alaska

  • Area: 663,268 sq mi 
  • Capital: Juneau
  • Largest city: Anchorage
  • Population: 736,081
  • Density: 1.26/sq mi
  • Major cities: Anchorage, Juneau, Fairbanks, Badger, Knik-Fairview
  • Nickname: The Last Frontier
  • Demonym: Alaskan

How is the weather in Alaska?

While it is true that Alaska’s climate is a little unpredictable, summer (May – September) is warm and milder where temperatures range from 55°F – 70°F. However, you may feel the days warmer due to long hours of sunlight. And the evenings can still be cooler in summer. In winter (November to March), Alaska freezes down and the temperatures will be between 0°F and -30°F. 

While it rains throughout the summer, May is the driest and September is the wettest month in Alaska. 

What are the things to know before moving to Alaska?

There is no doubt about Alaska’s serene settings and blissful wildlife. However, Alaska is much more than that and it is good to know more about Alaska before you move there.

We’ve compiled a few things that may help you know the Last Frontier pretty well. 

  • Alaska has one of the largest bear populations in the US.
  • The cost of living is high here.
  • You get paid to live in Alaska.
  • There is a rich and diverse native heritage.
  • Wildlife encounters are pretty common.
  • Most Alaskans have flying licenses.
  • Craft beer culture is strong in Alaska.
  • There’s a strict regulation on alcohol.
  • It’s either really light or really dark.
  • The food scene is amazing in Alaska.
  • Alaska is highly dog-friendly.

What are the attractions in Alaska?

Alaska is not just big in size but it is also packed with prettiness. The Last Frontier is in the bucket list of many people for its unlimited outdoor attractions. Hiking, paddling, fishing, boating, swimming, snorkelling – Alaska has everything you ask for. The state and national parks in Alaska are some of the largest in the US, leaving you massive space to entertain. 

Here is a list of some of the best attractions in Alaska

  • Denali National Park
  • Tracy Arm Fjord
  • Kenai Fjords National Park
  • Alaska Highway
  • University of Alaska Museum of the North
  • Inside Passage
  • Dalton Highway
  • Alaska Native Heritage Center
  • Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve
  • Iditarod National Historic Trail
  • Glacier Bay National Park
  • Chugach State Park
  • Totem Bight State Historic Park
  • Mendenhall Glacier
  • Alaska Railroad

How much does it cost to live in Alaska?

If you assume to save much by living in Alaska, you would be disheartened to know that the state is one of the most expensive in the US. The average cost of living in Alaska is 125.8, much higher than the national average of 100. 

As you’re serious about moving here, check out the various items that make up the cost of living in the state:

Cost of livingAlaskaUnited States
Overall125.8100
Grocery141.7100
Health113100
Housing134.3100
Median home cost$310,600$231,200
Utilities169.8100
Transportation98.2100
Miscellaneous119.5100

How much does it cost for a house in Alaska?

If you have a plan to buy a home in Alaska, you need to know that housing costs are extremely high in the Frontier State. The median home cost in Alaska is $310,600, much higher than the national median cost of $231,200. 

Even the home rental is higher than the US average in Alaska. The average rent for a studio apartment is $891 while this touches $2,136 for a 4-bedroom apartment. 

Despite the extreme home prices, it is interesting to note that about 65% of Alaskans are homeowners. Check to know more about the housing market in Alaska

What are the things you need to buy before moving to Alaska?

You may normally ask why buy things before moving to Alaska when you can get everything there. Though it is true that you may get things there, the options are limited to what’s available locally and it likely costs more.  

Here is a list of things to buy before moving to Alaska.

  • Outdoor furniture
  • Couches
  • Large playsets or swing sets
  • Lithium batteries and aerosols
  • Vehicles
  • Fitness equipment

Usually, people pack winter gear and outdoor gear to Alaska but that’s not required as Alaska has it pretty well covered when it comes to winter clothing. You don’t need to carry winter clothing unless you are reaching the state amidst the winter. 

Are there any tips while moving to Alaska?

For many people, Alaska is a mysterious land. And moving here is an escape from the hustle and bustle of life to an adventurous and relaxed one. Is this completely true? 

We’ve got a few tips for those moving to Alaska.

  • Some of the towns in Alaska are so remote and you’ll soon be a survivalist after living here. 
  • Alaska has the largest bear population and bear attacks are common in Alaska.
  • You’ll learn how to ice kayak here.
  • It’s either too much sunlight or too much darkness year around. 
  • Alaskans are proud of their heritage and never offend it.

How is the job market in Alaska?

Alaska has a rich economy and oil & natural gas is the major contributor. About 85% of the state’s economy is dependent upon crude oil and seafood is the next biggest contributor. Agriculture represents a smaller portion of the economy. Tourism is another major source of income. 

As a result, most jobs in Alaska are based on the energy sector, processed seafood, and tourism. However, this doesn’t mean that jobs are restricted to just these sectors. Medical , airline and federal jobs are also plentiful in Alaska.

What is the median salary in Alaska?

Alaska is one of the few states in the US where the average hourly wage is higher than the national average. The average hourly rate for the average job in Alaska is $33.53 an hour. The minimum wage is 10.34 per hour while the federal minimum wage is 7.15 per hour. 

What are the top career options in Alaska? 

As you plan to move to Alaska, you would be interested in knowing the highest paying jobs here. To help you, we’ve got a list of options with what you can expect as a paycheque in Alaska.

RankJob titleAverage salaryEntry-level salary
1General internal medicine physicians$282,730$145,250
2Physicians, all other; and ophthalmologists, except paediatric$266,200$124,470
3Family medicine physicians$264,010$157,240
4Paediatricians, general$263,390$148,030
5Dentists, general$242,850$137,940
6Airline pilots, co-pilots, and flight engineers$180,100$65,190
7Chief executives$166,360$66,800
8Psychiatrists$166,180$53,150
9Judges, magistrate judges, and magistrates$153,880$91,210
10Physician assistants$150,430$100,890

What are your chances after moving to Alaska without a job?

As Alaska’s economy is booming, you have higher chances of grabbing a job. But the opportunities will be higher in sectors associated with oil & natural gas, tourism, and seafood processing. Know about jobs in Alaska

How are taxes in Alaska?

Alaska has one of the lowest taxes in the US. It is the only state that does not collect state sales tax or levies an individual income tax. Though there is no sales tax, the state imposes a vehicle rental tax (10% on passenger vehicles; 3% on RVs), as well as an excise tax of $34.50 per voyage on passengers travelling on commercial vessels overnight accommodations while in Alaska waters.

In Alaska, property tax is the major income of the state, which is 1.18%. 

What are the incentives for moving to Alaska?

It is true that Alaska pays its citizens for living there. Every year, the state through its established Permanent Fund Dividend Program pays royalties to full-time residents. The royalty can be somewhere between $800 to $1,100 and the purpose of the payment is to benefit new generations of Alaskans and promote newcomers to the state. This royalty is a major pulling force to move to Alaska. 

Will I be able to move with my pets to Alaska? 

The state permits moving the pets if it is not affected by an infectious or communicable disease. Legally, you need to have a current Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) or Health Certificate for the pet to enter Alaska. 

The cats, dogs, and ferrets require a current rabies vaccination if three months of age or older, and a small animal health certificate issued within 30 days of import. Animals that are over 12 weeks of age and cannot be vaccinated for rabies due to a medical condition need to have an Exemption From Rabies Vaccination Form (PDF 33K) signed by the examining veterinarian, signed by the owner and approved by the State of Alaska prior to entry.

Alaska requires a special import permit for specific types of animals, obtained by the veterinarian issuing the health certificate that can be applied online. 

What are the pros and cons of moving to Alaska?

Alaska is a place where millions love to call their home. The scenic beauty, unlimited fun activities, clean air & water, and an enticing climate contribute to this belief. But is Alaska the same as we see from outside? If you are thinking about living in Alaska sometime in the future, here are some pros and cons to consider before you finalize that decision. 

Pros of living in AlaskaCons of living in Alaska
The landscapes are pretty alwaysAlaska is highly expensive
There are a lot of outdoor activitiesThe crime rate is too high
Life tends to move a lot slower in AlaskaWinters are extremely cold here
Even the cities have small-town charmFuel costs are high in Alaska
No state can match the summers in AlaskaBear attacks are common in Alaska
You get paid to live hereEarthquakes are normal in Alaska
The job market is boomingIt is too far from the rest of the country

How is the crime rate in Alaska?

Alaska reports the second largest crime rate in the US. Violent crimes, especially gun violence, and property crimes in Alaska are extremely higher than the national average.

The violent crime rate in Alaska is 42.4, which is much higher than the national average of 22.7. 

While moving to Alaska, you would be curious to know the safest cities in the state to live in. Knowing this, we’ve got a list of the top 4 safest cities in Alaska in 2021

CityPopulationTotal crimesCrime rate per 1,000Violent crimes per 1,000Property crimes per 1,000Law enforcement per 1,000
1Wasilla10,52269866.345.8060.545.51
2Juneau31,9221,81456.838.2748.562.38
3Fairbanks31,6351,54748.906.1042.801.36
4Anchorage291,99218,21362.3713.1049.281.97

What are the best places to live in Alaska?

If you are serious about moving to Alaska, you need to know the best places to live in. To help you, we have compiled the 10 top places in Alaska after looking at the cost of living, crime, unemployment rates, rent, and median home values.

RankingCityPopulationMedian home valueUnemployment rateCrime per 100k people
1Cordova2,829$330,6002.2%325.6
2Unalaska4,724$368,0001.9%1,019.3
3Valdez3,849$168,6001.9%1,179.2
4Juneau32,227$345,900 4.6%4,970.1
5Sitka8,640$358,6005.0%2,161.7
6North Pole2,740$226,0006.2%4,500.2
7Homer5,709$282,4004.6%2,672.1
8Soldotna4,649$211,4002.8%3,259.0
9Nome3,850$258,1009.6%4,103.6
10Kodiak6,022$255,0003.6%4,018.8

What are the best schools and colleges in Alaska?

You may know Alaska as a splendid state drenched in scenic beauty but it may also surprise you that the state is also home to some of the best universities in the US. 

We’ve got a list of the best schools and universities in the state to give you a head start. This will help while you move to Alaska. Source Greatschools

Best elementary schools in Alaska

  • Hydaburg School
    Hydaburg City School District, Public, PK-12 | 93 students, Rating: 10/10
  • Nuniwarmiut School
    Lower Kuskokwim School District, Public, PK-12 | 51 students, Rating: 10/10
  • Nanwalek School
    Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, Public, PK-12 | 75 students, Rating: 10/10
  • Hope School
    Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, Public, PK-12 | 17 students, Rating: 10/10
  • Susan B English School
    Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, Public, PK-12 | 32 students, Rating: 10/10

Best middle schools in Alaska

  • Hydaburg School
    Hydaburg City School District, Public, PK-12 | 93 students, Rating: 10/10
  • Nuniwarmiut School
    Lower Kuskokwim School District, Public, PK-12 | 51 students, Rating: 10/10
  • Nanwalek School
    Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, Public, PK-12 | 75 students, Rating: 10/10
  • Hope School
    Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, Public, PK-12 | 17 students, Rating: 10/10
  • Susan B English School
    Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, Public, PK-12 | 32 students, Rating: 10/10

Best high schools in Alaska

  • Hydaburg School
    Hydaburg City School District, Public, PK-12 | 93 students, Rating: 10/10
  • Nuniwarmiut School
    Lower Kuskokwim School District, Public, PK-12 | 51 students, Rating: 10/10
  • Nanwalek School
    Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, Public, PK-12 | 75 students, Rating: 10/10
  • Hope School
    Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, Public, PK-12 | 17 students, Rating: 10/10
  • Susan B English School
    Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, Public, PK-12 | 32 students, Rating: 10/10

Best colleges and universities in Alaska

  • University of Alaska Fairbanks – Fairbanks
  • University of Alaska Anchorage – Anchorage
  • Alaska Pacific University – Anchorage
  • University of Alaska Southeast – Juneau
  • Alaska Bible College – Palmer

We believe this guide will be helpful in deciding whether to pack your bags to the Frontier State.

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