So, you are looking to move to Alaska and wondering whether it is a good place to live?
Here are some pros and cons to look at when considering relocation to Alaska.
- Is Alaska a Good Place to Live?
- Pros of Living in Alaska
- Unique Wildlife
- Activities to Do Outside
- Breathtaking Views of the Area
- Local Cuisine
- A Plentiful Supply of Natural Resources
- Active and Engaging Arts and Culture
- Acceptable Overall Cost of Living
- Education of Good Quality
- Communities with a Warm Welcome
- Cons of Living in Alaska
- Long Dark Winters
- Lack of Diverse Job Opportunities
- Limited Public Transportation
- The Bottom Line
Is Alaska a Good Place to Live?
Alaska is one of those places you either love or just can’t handle. It’s huge – over 663,000 square miles, in fact – and each part of the state has its own flavor.
Imagine looking out your window and seeing breathtaking mountains or maybe even the northern lights. If you’re into skiing or other winter sports, Alaska might be your paradise.
People here are friendly, and you’ll find an unexpected love for art and music, along with some tasty spots to eat.
There’s even a farmers market full of fresh, local goodies. And, who wouldn’t love getting a check just for living somewhere?
But let’s be real: Alaska isn’t cheap.
The cost of living can be about 28% higher than the U.S. average, depending on where you live. Groceries, gas, utilities – it all adds up.
And the weather? It’s as harsh as it is beautiful. You need a reliable car, and maintaining it isn’t cheap.
Summers can surprise you by heating up to 97 degrees F, while winters are filled with bone-chilling cold and darkness.
It’s not always easy living up here. Seasonal depression hits hard, in some places, internet can be a headache and if you order anything online, be prepared to wait; shipping takes a while.
So, is Alaska a good place to live?
Let’s dive into all the pros and cons of living in Alaska.
Pros of Living in Alaska
Some of the most fascinating and one-of-a-kind animals may be found in their natural habitat in Alaska.
A wide variety of animals, ranging from the imposing moose to the amusing sea otter, are fascinating to see in their natural environments.
There are more than 500 different kinds of birds that may be found in Alaska. Some of these birds include ospreys, puffins, and bald eagles.
Bears, caribou, foxes, wolves, and whales may all be found living in the area’s lush woods, tundra, and coastal waters, respectively.
Activities to Do Outside
For those who like being outside, Alaska is a dream destination. The vastness of the wilderness makes it feasible to discover a wide range of activities suited to a person’s particular interests and degree of expertise.
Learning what the great outdoors has to offer is easy because of the abundance of outdoor activities available, including but not limited to skiing, kayaking, fishing, and hiking.
Many national parks and wildlife regions provide even more options for those who like being outside.
Breathtaking Views of the Area
The stunning natural scenery of Alaska never ceases to awe and amaze.
The landscape is breathtaking; it has everything from snow-capped mountains and glaciers to peaceful coves and spectacular fjords.
The darkest winter months are the best times to see the northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis.
The summer months usher in an abundance of colorful wildflowers and beautiful light displays.
Alaskan food is unique and excellent. A wide variety of delectable foods is available, ranging from wild game like caribou and moose to exquisite fish and seafood like salmon and halibut.
Additionally, the area is well-known for the quality of its berries, particularly its blueberries and cranberries.
During the warmer months, a plethora of fresh fruits and vegetables are available for purchase.
A Plentiful Supply of Natural Resources
The state of Alaska is well endowed with a variety of natural resources.
Gold, silver, coal and a variety of other minerals have been discovered by miners in this region to large oil reserves and abundant fisheries.
Also, it is a major seafood producer and is home to some of the world’s best wood.
Active and Engaging Arts and Culture
Alaska is home to a varied and rich culture in its traditions.
This state has much to offer everyone, from the thriving Native American tribes to the flourishing artistic community it is home to.
There are quite a few theaters, museums, art galleries and music events.
Each year the state plays home to the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics a competition that honors the history and culture of Native Americans.
Acceptable Overall Cost of Living
The cost of living in Alaska is lower than the average for the rest of the country, making it one of the cheapest states in the United States.
This results from the available reasonably priced housing, transportation, and utility options. There is no sales tax in the state, and therefore it is already relatively inexpensive to live there.
If you are interested here is the list of the most affordable places to live in Alaska.
Education of Good Quality
The education system in Alaska is one of the best in the country, both in terms of its public and private institutions.
The University of Alaska is widely recognized as one of the best institutions in the United States.
It provides students with several educational opportunities leading to a range of degrees.
There are also a significant number of vocational and technical schools which offer extra educational options to pupils.
Communities with a Warm Welcome
The people of Alaska are well-recognized for their warm and inviting demeanor.
People are attracted to the state because of its laid-back way of life and the intense feeling of community that it cultivates.
There are many tiny safe towns in Alaska, each of which provides a more relaxed pace of life and various chances to get to know one’s, immediate neighbors.
Cons of Living in Alaska
Long Dark Winters
Alaska’s winters are no joke.
The climate here can really mess with you, and those long, dark winters can be too much for some people.
When the sun is only out for 5 hours a day, it can feel endless. Head up north, and it gets even tougher.
The cold bites, the snow piles up, and the wind doesn’t let up.
You have to be ready for anything and know how to handle problems yourself, or have friends who can help you if something goes wrong.
It’s not surprising that many newcomers decide one winter is enough and pack up.
Lack of Diverse Job Opportunities
While there are some unique job opportunities in Alaska due to the nature of the state, such as in oil and gas, overall job opportunities can be limited and highly competitive.
It’s a thin and wide job market, so if you lose a job, sometimes it’s hard to find another one in your field or experience right away in many parts of the state.
Remote jobs offer some flexibility but may not be available in all industries.
Seasonal and hospitality jobs are available but come with their own downsides, such as temporary employment and potentially lower wages.
There’s no real career progression for many fields, contributing to a phenomenon known as ‘brain drain’ where talent leaves the state due to a lack of advanced job opportunities.
Living in Alaska can sometimes feel like you’re on your own little island, even if you’re in one of the bigger cities.
The state is huge, and many parts are remote and hard to get to. This sense of isolation can be both a blessing and a curse.
For some people, solitude is exactly what they’re looking for but isolation has its challenges, too.
It can get lonely, especially in smaller towns or during the long, dark winters.
Friends and family might be thousands of miles away, and getting to them isn’t always easy.
Even just running errands can become an expedition, depending on where you live.
This is a pro and a con of living in Alaska. While many people move to Alaska to experience its natural beauty, nature can be hazardous.
Large animals like bears and moose aren’t just impressive to watch; they can be hazardous if you get too close.
Over the years, there were many reported bear-inflicted injuries and fatalities.
Moose, despite their generally gentle appearance, are responsible for more injuries to people each year.
Alaska’s weather doesn’t let up, even when winter is over.
You might think that summer would bring relief, but for many, it’s just a different kind of challenge.
That endless summer sunlight can be downright annoying. It’s invasive, and it throws your whole sense of time out of whack.
Imagine it’s midnight, and the sun’s still shining like it’s the middle of the afternoon.
It can mess with your sleep, your schedule, and your sanity.
And don’t think that blackout curtains will solve the problem. They might help, but they won’t block 100% of the light.
It seeps around the edges, reminding you that in Alaska, the sun has a mind of its own.
Limited Public Transportation
In many areas, particularly the more remote and less populated regions, public transit options are scarce or even nonexistent.
Even in the more urban areas, such as Anchorage, the public transportation system can be limited, with bus routes often not covering the entire city or running infrequently.
The Bottom Line
Whether or not Alaska is an excellent place to live depends on the individual’s goals and desires.
Alaska offers a variety of options for those who enjoy the outdoors, such as fishing, hunting, hiking, and skiing.
Those who prefer an urban lifestyle may find it challenging to make ends meet due to the cost of living.
However, the beauty of Alaska’s landscape and the tight-knit community of its residents make it a great place to call home.
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Hi, I’m Ashley a freelance writer who’s passionate about personal finance. Ever since I was young, I’ve been fascinated by the power of money and how it can shape our lives. I’ve spent years learning everything I can about budgeting, saving, investing and retirement planning. So if you are looking for tips, advice, or just a little bit of inspiration to help you on your financial journey, you have come to the right place. I am always here to help, and I am excited to share my passion for personal finance with you.