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Alaska population at lowest level since 2012, officials say

Published: Jan. 9, 2020 at 3:10 PM AKST
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Alaska’s 2019 population has dipped to its lowest level since 2012 because of a falling birth rate and a decrease in the number of new arrivals to the state, officials said.

The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development said the state had 731,007 residents as of July 1, 2019, The Anchorage Daily News reported Wednesday.

The figure is a decrease of 3,048 residents from the same date in 2018, officials said.

The state Department of Labor estimates population changes between July 1 and June 30 each year and makes the results public in January.

The state saw the birth of fewer babies in 2019 than in any survey period over the past 20 years.

The number of people who moved to Alaska was lower than at any point since 1988, when the state was in the middle of an oil-bust recession.

“We’re just way below our average of in-migrants,” said state demographer David Howell.

The U.S. Census Bureau published slightly different figures in the last week of 2019, but the state demographer’s office has access to Alaska Permanent Fund dividend application data that give more accurate estimates than interim Census Bureau figures.

Only the Census Bureau’s 10-year survey, which will begin Jan. 21 in Toksook Bay, is more accurate, Howell said.

Alaska’s population decline was No. 2 for U.S. states and behind West Virginia, which lost 0.7% of its residents between 2018 and 2019, according to the Census Bureau.

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