LISTEN: Alaska’s population keeps shrinking

The streets of downtown Anchorage were uncharacteristically empty on Thursday, March 19, 2020. Earlier in the week, the city saw the first mandated closure of dine-in service at restaurants, bars and breweries. Gyms, theaters and bingo halls were also closed as the state tried to curb the spread of coronavirus. (Abbey Collins/Alaska Public Media)

Alaska’s population continues to decline, according to the state’s most recent estimate.

The estimate says Anchorage lost about 3,000 residents from July 2019 to July 2020, while Fairbanks gained about a thousand people, associated with a buildup related to F-35 fighter jets stationed nearby. And the Matanuska-Susitna Borough continued its long-term, steady increase with about 520 new residents.

State Demographer David Howell helps put together the population estimate. Howell told Alaska Public Media’s Casey Grove he can’t point to any one reason for the overall statewide decline of about a half a percent, but he said there are some interesting things about the trends.