According to the 2000 national census, Alaska had a population of 626,932, an increase of 14 percent over the 1990 population of 550,043. In 2000 Alaska ranked 48th among the states in population, ahead of Vermont and Wyoming.
Alaska is still the most sparsely populated state, and had just 0.5 person per sq km (1.2 per sq mi) of land in 2006. Most of the people live along the coasts and the river valleys. Some sections of the Interior and Arctic Slope regions remain uninhabited. In 2000 some 66 percent of all Alaskans lived in areas classified as urban, where the population is increasing much faster than in the rural areas. Since the early days of settlement, the cities and towns of Alaska have attracted comparatively more immigrants than the rural areas.
Whites make up 69.3 percent of the population of Alaska. The largest other group is composed of descendants of the state’s original inhabitants–the Eskimo (also known as the Inuit), the Aleut, and other indigenous peoples–who account for 15.6 percent of the total. The state’s population also includes Asians, who are 4 percent of the total; blacks, with 3.5 percent of the total; Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, with 0.5 percent; and those of mixed heritage or not reporting race, at 7 percent. Hispanics, who may be of any race, are 4.1 percent of the people.
The population of Alaska is relatively young. At the time of the census in 2000, 30 percent of the population was less than 18 years old.
Since 1867 the populations of the main communities in Alaska have fluctuated considerably. In 1890, settlement was almost entirely along the coast, and the only sizable community was Juneau. By 1900, when the gold rush was under way, Nome had become the largest population center. Ten years later, it had shrunk to one-tenth its former size, and many other gold-mining centers had disappeared altogether. However, the Panhandle communities of Juneau, Ketchikan, Petersburg, and Wrangell had maintained their size, and Fairbanks, Kodiak, and the community of Kenai had begun to develop.
By the 1930s, Anchorage had grown to become one of the largest communities in the territory. Most of Alaska’s population increase after World War II has been concentrated in the Anchorage area and in other parts of south central Alaska.
Between 1940 and 1960 the total population of south central Alaska, the focus of military activity in the state, tripled in size to about 155,000. Southeastern Alaska grew steadily, but not spectacularly. Fairbanks developed as the hub of the Interior and occupies a central position in highway and air transportation. The remaining sections of the state still have by far the smallest populations. "USA" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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