Table of contents
Updated February 16, 2024 | Infoplease Staff
Alaska flag

Capital: Juneau


Official Name: The State of Alaska

Organized as territory: May 11, 1912

Entered Union (rank): January 3, 1959 (49th)

Present constitution adopted: 1956

State abbreviation/Postal code: AK

State Area Codes: 907

Fun Facts About Alaska

Nickname: The Last Frontier

Origin of name: The name Alaska is derived from the Aleut word "Alyeska," meaning "great land."

Motto: “North to the Future”

Slogan: "Beyond Your Dreams, Within Your Reach"

State symbols

Flower: Forget-me-not (1959)

Tree: Sitka Spruce (1962)

Animal: Moose (1998)

Bird: Willow Ptarmigan (1955)

Fish: King Salmon (1962)

Gem: Jade (1968)

Colors: Blue and Gold (1959)

Song: "Alaska's Flag" (1959)

Grass: Bluebunch Wheatgrass (2003)

Fossil: Woolly Mammoth (1986)

Insect: Four-spot Skimmer Dragonfly (1995)


Governor: Mike Dunleavy, R (to Jan. 2023)

Lieut. Governor: Kevin Meyer, R (to Jan. 2023)

Secy. of State: N/A

General Treasurer: N/A

Atty. General: Treg Taylor, R (Acting to Jun. 2022)

U.S. Representatives: 1

Senators: Lisa Murkowski, R (to Jan. 2027); Dan Sullivan, R (to Jan. 2027)

Official Website:


Residents: Alaskans

Resident population: 731,545 (48th Largest State, 2019)

10 largest cities (2019): Anchorage, 288,000; Fairbanks, 31,516; Juneau, 31,974; Sitka, 8,493; Ketchikan, 8,289; Wasilla, 10,838; Kenai, 7,800; Kodiak, 6,130; Bethel, 6,519; Palmer, 7,306.


Religion: Protestant (37%); Catholic (14%); Orthodox (12%); Other Christian (3%); Buddhist (1%); Hindu (<1%); Muslim (<1%); Unaffiliated (38%); Don't Know (3%).

Race/Ethnicity: White (65.3%); American Indian and Alaska Native (14.8%); Asian (6.5%); Black or African American (3.6%); Hispanic or Latino (7%); Two or More Races (7.3%); Some Other Race (1.3%).

Sex: Male: 365,025 (49.9%); Female: 366,520 (50.1%).

Age: Under 18: 190,700 (26.1%); 18-64: 470,125 (64.3%); 65 and over: 70,720 (9.7%).

Median Age: 34.6.


GDP: $54 billion dollars (Rank 46 in U.S., 2020)

Unemployment: 6.6% (2021)


Land area: 570,641 sq mi. (1,477,953 sq km)

Geographic center: In the Denali Borough, 60 miles NW of Mt. McKinley

Number of counties: 29

Largest county by population and area: Anchorage, 291,538 (2019); Yukon-Koyukuk, 147,805 sq mi.

State forests: 2

State parks/recreation areas: 156

See additional census data

Area codes

Tourism office


The State of Alaska, also known as "The Last Frontier", is the largest state in the United States in terms of land area and the 49th state to join the Union. Its capital is Juneau while its largest city is Anchorage. Known for its majestic natural beauty, Alaska boasts a diverse population, a unique geographical landscape, and a rich cultural heritage.

Alaska Geography

Home to the highest peak in North America, Denali, Alaska's geography is characterized by a plethora of breathtaking landscapes. These include the Arctic tundra up north, the lush forests of Interior Alaska, and the Aleutian Islands in the Bering Sea. The Chukchi Sea on the west and the Yukon River, one of the longest rivers in North America, add to the state's natural beauty. The vast wilderness of the Denali National Park and the refuges for wildlife like the caribou enhance the state's biodiversity.

Alaska People & Population

The Alaskan population is a diverse mix of native cultures and immigrant communities. Alaska Natives, including the Aleut and Unangax peoples, form a significant part of the population. The state has an almost equal gender distribution, and a relatively young median age of 34.6. Religion is diverse, with Protestantism being the most common. A high percentage of residents in Alaska remain unaffiliated with any religion.

Alaska Government

The Government of the State of Alaska operates under the guidance of Governor Mike Dunleavy. The state aligns with a Republican standpoint, with both U.S. Senators - Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan - representing the Republican Party. The Alaska Department of Health and the Department of Labor and Workforce Development are key state departments working for public health and workforce development respectively.

Alaska Economy

Alaska's economy is fueled by a number of industries including oil production, fishing, tourism, and mining. The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System carries oil from the Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, playing a crucial role in the state's economy. Despite its resource-rich landscape, Alaska's GDP ranks 46th among all U.S. states.

Alaska Interesting Facts

Beyond its breathtaking landscapes, Alaska is renowned for its unique cultural blend and rich history. From the native Alutiiq's mask-making tradition to the modern Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, the state is a cultural melting pot. The annual Seward’s Day and the AVTEC - Alaska's Institute of Technology, are other distinct cultural highlights of Alaska.

Alutiiq Mask Making Tradition

The Alutiiq people have a rich tradition of mask-making. Crafted from wood, feathers, and paint, these masks are more than art - they are tools for teaching, celebration, and storytelling.

Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race

Celebrating Alaska's history and the role of sled dogs in the state, the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race draws teams from around the world each year. The race tests endurance and offers a glimpse into Alaska's past.

Seward’s Day and AVTEC

Seward’s Day commemorates the signing of the treaty by which the United States bought Alaska from Russia, while the AVTEC reflects Alaska's commitment to vocational training and development.

Alaska History

Alaska's history is as vast and diverse as its landscape. From the earliest inhabitants to its status as a U.S. state, Alaska has a rich and eventful history.

Pre-Colonial History

The first inhabitants of Alaska were native peoples who crossed the Bering Land Bridge from Asia. These tribes, including the Aleut, Athabascan, Inuit, Yupik, Tlingit, and Haida, lived off the land, hunting, fishing, and gathering.

Colonial History

Alaska was discovered by Europeans in 1741 when Vitus Bering, a Danish navigator serving Russia, sighted it. The Russians settled Alaska and exploited its fur resources until 1867 when they sold it to the U.S.

Pre-Civil War History

After its purchase by the U.S., Alaska was largely overlooked until gold was discovered in the late 1800s. The subsequent gold rushes brought a wave of settlers and infrastructure to the region.

Post-Civil War History

In the post-Civil War period, Alaska continued to grow and develop. The discovery of oil in the early 20th century brought wealth and an economic boom to the state.

Modern History

In the post-World War II era, Alaska became the 49th state of the United States in 1959. Today, despite its remote location and challenging weather, Alaska remains a land of opportunity and adventure. From the Prudhoe Bay oil fields to the salmon-filled rivers, Alaska thrives in its diversity and resilience.

People Also Ask…

If you are interested in more information about Alaska, then keep reading — we have compiled answers to the most common questions below. Plus, test your newfound state knowledge by taking our quiz, Alaska State Quiz!

What is Alaska famous for?

Alaska is famous for its stunning scenery, including vast wilderness areas, towering mountains, and beautiful coastlines. It is well known for its wildlife, the Northern Lights, and the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. It's also famous for its rich history of gold mining and its significant oil production.

Is Alaska bigger than Texas?

Yes, Alaska is indeed bigger than Texas. In fact, it is the largest state in the U.S. by land area. If Alaska were to be cut in half, each half would still be larger than any other state in the U.S., including Texas.

What is the population of Alaska?

As of 2019, the estimated population of Alaska was 731,545. This makes it the 48th most populous state in the U.S.

How does Alaska's economy work?

Alaska's economy is largely resource-based. The state is rich in natural resources like oil, natural gas, fish, and gold. Oil production is the largest sector, followed by fishing, mining, and tourism.

Is Alaska dark for 6 months?

While it's true that some parts of Alaska—specifically those above the Arctic Circle—can have nearly 24 hours of darkness in the winter, it's not accurate that the state is dark for six months straight. The amount of daylight varies greatly depending on the time of year and the latitude.

See more on Alaska:
Encyclopedia: Alaska.
Encyclopedia: Land and People
Encyclopedia: Economy
Encyclopedia: Government
Encyclopedia: History
Monthly Temperature Extremes

Selected famous natives and residents:

  • Clarence L. Andrews author;
  • Aleksandr Baranov first governor of Russian America;
  • Irene Bedard singer/actor;
  • Margaret Elizabeth Bell author;
  • Benny Benson designed state flag at age 13;
  • Vitus Bering explorer;
  • Charles E. Bunnell educator;
  • Susan Butcher sled-dog racer;
  • William A. Egan first state governor;
  • Carl Ben Eielson pioneer pilot;
  • Scott Gomez hockey player;
  • Henry E. Gruennig political leader;
  • B. Frank Heintzleman territorial governor;
  • Walter J. Hickel governor;
  • Sheldon Jackson educator and missionary;
  • Joe Juneau prospector;
  • Austin Lathrop industrialist;
  • Sydney Lawrence painter;
  • Ray Mala actor;
  • Sarah Palin politician;
  • Virgil F. Partch cartoonist;
  • Joe Redington, Sr. sled-dog musher and promoter;
  • Peter Trinble Rowe first Episcopal bishop;
  • Ivan Popov-Veniaminov (St. Innocent) Russian Orthodox missionary;
  • Ferdinand Wrangel educator;
  • Samuel Hall Young founder of first American church.


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