Anchorage, Alaska is a consolidated city-borough (officially called the Municipality of Anchorage) in the U.S. state of Alaska. It is the largest city in the state of Alaska, with 275,043 residents, comprising more than two-fifths (with its metropolitan area, over 50%) of the state's total population.
Anchorage has a subarctic climate (the Köppen climate classification is Dfc) due to its short, cool summers. Average daytime summer temperatures range from approximately 55 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit (13 to 26 degrees Celsius); average daytime winter temperatures are about 5 to 30 degrees (-15 to -1 degrees Celsius).
Average January low and high temperatures at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (PANC) are 9 °F/22 °F (-13 °C/-5 °C) with an average winter snowfall of 70.60 inches (179.3 cm).
The weather on any given day and indeed for entire seasons can be very unpredictable. Some winters feature several feet of snow and cold temperatures, while others, just a foot or two of snow and frequent thaws, which put dangerous ice on the streets.
On March 17, 2002, a record (St. Patrick's Day) snow storm dumped 28.6 inches (72.6 cm) of snow on the Anchorage area in 24 hours, closing schools for the next two days. The storm broke the city record for a 24-hour snowfall and the most snowfall in a single day.
The storm, which started the evening of March 16, easily surpassed the old record of 15.6 inches (39.6 cm) recorded on 28 December and 29 December 1955. On March 17, 24.6 inches (62.5 cm) were measured by the National Weather Service, topping the old record of 15.6 inches (39.6 cm) set on 29 December 1955.The 1954-1955 winter had 132.8 inches (337.3 cm), which made it the snowiest winter on record. The coldest temperature ever recorded at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport was -38 °F (-38.8 °C) on February 3, 1948.
Summers are typically mild (although cool compared to the contiguous US and even interior Alaska), though it can rain frequently. There isn't any beach-bathing in Anchorage, except at a few local lakes on the warmest summer days, when those lakeside beaches can be extremely popular. Average July low and high temperatures are 52 °F/66 °F (11 °C/19 °C) and the hottest reading ever recorded was 92 °F (33.3 °C) on June 25, 1953. The average annual precipitation at the airport is 16.07 inches (408 mm).
Because of Anchorage's latitude, summer days are very long and winter days are very short. In addition, Anchorage is often very cloudy during the winter, which decreases the amount of sunlight experienced by residents.
Anchorage was laid out by city planners in 1914, originally as a railroad construction port for the Alaska Railroad, which was built between 1915 and 1923. Ship Creek Landing, where the railroad headquarters was located, quickly became a tent city; Anchorage was incorporated on November 23, 1920. The city's economy in the 1920s centered around the railroad. Between the 1930s and the 1950s, the city experienced massive growth as air transportation and the military became increasingly important. Merrill Field opened in 1930, and Anchorage International Airport opened in 1951. Elmendorf Air Force Base and Fort Richardson were constructed in the 1940s.
On March 27, 1964, Anchorage was hit by the magnitude 9.2 Good Friday Earthquake, which killed 115 Alaskans and caused $1.8 billion in damage (2007 U.S. dollars). Rebuilding dominated the city in the late 1960s.
In 1968, oil was discovered in Prudhoe Bay, and the resulting oil boom spurred further growth in Anchorage. In 1975, Anchorage merged with Eagle River, Girdwood, Glen Alps, and several other communities. The merger expanded the city, known officially as the Municipality of Anchorage. The city continued to grow in the 1980s, and capital projects and an aggressive beautification campaign took place.
As of the 2000 census, there were 260,283 people, 94 822 households and 64 099 families residing in the municipality; all in all, the Anchorage Municipality is home to almost two-fifths of Alaska's population. The population density was 59.2/km² (153.4/mi²). There were 100,368 housing units at an average density of 22.8/km² (59.1/mi²). Anchorage is also the most ethnically diverse city in Alaska: the racial makeup of the municipality is approximately 72.23% White, 7.28% (apx. 19,000) Alaska Natives and American Indians, 5.55% (approximately 14,500 people) Asian Americans, 5.84% (apx. 15,200) African Americans, 0.93% Pacific Islanders, 2.19% are from other races, and 5.98% were from two or more races. 5.69% were Hispanic Americans or Latinos of any race. 4.00% reported speaking Spanish at home, while 1.49% speak Tagalog and 1.44% Korean.
There were 94,822 households out of which 38.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.1% were married couples living together, 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.4% were non-families. 23.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.67 and the average family size was 3.19.
In the city the population was spread out with 29.1% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 33.9% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 5.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 101.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.4 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $55,546, and the median income for a family is $63,682. Males have a median income of $41,267 versus $31,747 for females. The per capita income for the city is $25,287. 5.1% of families and 7.3% of the population are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 8.8% of those under the age of 18 and 6.4% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
As of September 7, 2006, 94 languages were spoken by students in the Anchorage School District.
Anchorage is a major port, receiving over 95% of all freight entering Alaska, as well as a hub of the Alaska Railroad. Major industries include government and military, Petroleum, and tourism. There are two U.S. military bases bordering Anchorage on the north: Elmendorf Air Force Base and Fort Richardson. Nearly all Alaska Interior-bound tourists pass through Anchorage at some stage of their journeys in Alaska. Not surprisingly, summer is tourist season, and downtown Anchorage, as well as the highways leading north and south of town, are typically teeming with tourists.
The Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, six miles (10 km) from downtown Anchorage, is the airline hub for the state, served by many national airlines, including Seattle-based Alaska Airlines and a number of international and interstate airlines. The Alaska Railroad offers daily summer service to Seward, Talkeetna, Denali National Park and Fairbanks. These communities are also served by bus line from Anchorage. The Ship Creek Shuttle connects downtown with the Ship Creek area, including stops at the Alaska Railroad Depot.
Anchorage also has a bus system called People Mover, with a central hub in downtown Anchorage and satellite hubs at Dimond Center and Muldoon Mall. People Mover also provides point-to-point van services to seniors and those with disabilities, as well as carpool organization services.
There is one numbered state highway in Anchorage; Alaska Route 1 enters from the south on the Seward Highway and leaves to the east on the Glenn Highway. This route is also eligible for federal funding as part of the Interstate Highway System, carrying Interstate A-1 on the Glenn Highway and Interstate A-3 on the Richardson Highway (both unsigned). A portion of the Seward Highway, approximately 10 miles (20 km) long (known as the New Seward Highway), is built to freeway standards. The six-lane Glenn Highway largely carries commuter traffic to and from Eagle River, Chugiak, and the Matanuska Valley towns of Palmer and Wasilla. The highway becomes four lanes from Eagle River to the junction with the Parks Highway (Alaska Route 3) near Wasilla, where the Route 1 freeway ends.
The Highway to Highway Connection is a $575 million plan for a limited-access highway link between the Glenn and Seward highways, to pass through the Fairview, Mountain View, and Midtown neighborhoods.
Anchorage traffic department websites
Anchorage's leading newspapers are the Anchorage Daily News, a statewide daily newspaper, and the Alaska Star, serving primarily Chugiak and Eagle River. The Anchorage Press is a free weekly covering mainly cultural topics. The Northern Light is the student newspaper of the University of Alaska Anchorage.
Anchorage is also well served by television. Anchorage's major network television affiliates are:
The Alaska Rural Communications Service provides some original programming and also "cherry-picks" retransmissions from among the broadcast stations in Anchorage, though usually not KIMO except in very rare occasions (such as Iditarod coverage), to provide television service to remote areas.
Citywide cable TV and Internet service is provided by General Communication, Inc. (GCI) There is no competing cable service; however, satellite and broadcast TV are widely available. Numerous local and national Internet service providers serve the community.
Providence Alaska Medical Center on Providence Drive in Anchorage is the largest hospital in Alaska and is part of Providence Health & Services in Alaska, Washington, Oregon and California. It features the state's most comprehensive range of services. Providence Health System has a history of serving Alaska, beginning when the Sisters of Providence first brought health care to Nome in 1902. As the territory grew during the following decades, so did efforts to provide care. Hospitals were opened in Fairbanks in 1910 and Anchorage in 1937.
Alaska Regional Hospital on DeBarr Road in Anchorage opened in 1963 as Anchorage Presbyterian Hospital, located at 8th and L Street downtown. This predecessor to Alaska Regional was a joint venture between local physicians and the Presbyterian Church. In 1976 the hospital moved to its present location on DeBarr Road, and is now a 254-bed licensed and accredited facility. Alaska Regional has expanded services and in 1994, Alaska Regional joined with HCA, one of the nation's largest healthcare providers.
Alaska Native Medical Center located on Tudor Road, provides medical care and therapeutic health care to Alaska natives - 229 tribes of Inuit and others - at the Anchorage site and at 15 satellite facilities throughout the state. ANMC specialists also travel to clinics in the Bush to provide care. The 150-bed hospital is also a teaching center for the University of Washington's regional medical education program. ANMC houses an office of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and Southcentral Foundation jointly own and manage ANMC.
Public education in Anchorage, Eagle River, Fort Richardson and Elmendorf Air Force Base is managed by the Anchorage School District, the 81st largest district in the United States, with nearly 50,000 students attending 88 schools. There are also a number of choices in private education, including Anchorage Christian Schools, and Grace Christian School, a K-12 community Christian school in south Anchorage.
Ninety percent of Anchorage's adults have high-school diplomas, 65 percent have attended one to three years of college, and 17 percent hold advanced degrees, placing Anchorage among the top metropolitan cities in educational attainment.
Anchorage has four higher-education facilities that offer bachelor's or master's degrees: the University of Alaska Anchorage, Alaska Pacific University, Charter College, and the Anchorage campus of Texas-based Wayland Baptist University. Other continuing education facilities in Anchorage include the Grainger Leadership Institute, Nine Star Enterprises, CLE International, Nana Worksafe, and PackBear DBA Barr & Co.