The 10 Best Places To Live In Alaska For 2024

The best places to live in Alaska for 2024 are Unalaska, Sitka, and North Pole. Find out where your city or town ranks.

If you’re not taking advantage of fresh fish in Kenai, snow-cream in Fairbanks, and skiing in Anchorage, you’re missing out on some of the best things and places Alaska has to offer.

And these cities aren’t even in the top ten best places in Alaska for 2024.

How’d we determine the best places in Alaska? We used Saturday Night Science to compare 20 cities for important factors like cost of living, crime, unemployment rates, rent, and median home values for every place with over 2,000 residents.

We discovered that there are fantastic places in Alaska for every type of person.

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Table | Map | Methodology | Summary

The 10 Best Places To Live In Alaska For 2024

  1. Unalaska
  2. Sitka
  3. North Pole
  4. Ketchikan
  5. Valdez
  6. Kodiak
  7. Juneau
  8. Nome
  9. Seward
  10. Cordova

What’s the best place to live in Alaska for 2024? The best place to live in Alaska is Unalaska based on the most recent Census data.

Ask any Alaskan, and they will tell you that their corner of The Last Frontier is the best. And while that might be true for many, the Alaskans living in our top ten best places for 2024 are the winners.

For more reading, check out:

The 10 Best Places To Live In Alaska For 2024

Best Places To Live In Alaska Map

Unalaska, AK

Source: Public domain
Stat Unalaska Alaska
Population 4,342 734,821
Rank Last Year 3
Median Home Value $477,285 $349,554
Median Income $104,706 $86,370
Unemployment Rate 3.3% 6.4%
Crime Per Capita 0.0055 0.0308

More on Unalaska: Data | Crime | Real Estate

Unalaska is the chief economic hub of the Aleutian Islands well-known for its strong fishing industry thanks to being featured on Deadliest Catch. By volume of seafood caught, Unalaska typically ranks as the most productive port in America. This massive boon to the economy is one reason we named Unalaska the richest place in Alaska. The median household income in Unalaska is $104,706/year, which ranks as the highest in the state.

It’s not like the 1% make out like bandits while regular folks struggle either, because Unalaska has the lowest unemployment rate and 8th lowest poverty level in Alaska at 3.3% and 8.0% respectively. If you’re part of the mega-majority of employed residents, having the 1st shortest commute in the state at 6 minutes is a nice perk. For those moving with a family, Unalaska has a low student-teacher ratio and GreatSchools gave the district an average score of 7.5/10. You won’t have to worry about crime in Unalaska either, because the crime rate here is the 5th lowest in Alaska.

To discover more about the region’s distant past and its impact on the present, the Museum of the Aleutians is a great place to start. World War II buffs will also want to pay a visit to the Aleutian Islands WWII National Historic Area.

Sitka, AK

Source: Wikipedia User | CC BY-SA 2.0
Stat Sitka Alaska
Population 8,462 734,821
Rank Last Year 5
Median Home Value $499,205 $349,554
Median Income $95,261 $86,370
Unemployment Rate 5.0% 6.4%
Crime Per Capita 0.0052 0.0308

More on Sitka: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Located on the west side of Baranof island off the Alaska Panhandle, Sitka comes in as the 2nd best place in Alaska. We ought to get the awkward part out of the way first: Sitka isn’t cheap. Homes are the most expensive in the state, with a median price tag of $499,205 and the cost of living is roughly 35% higher than the national average. That’s why we named Sitka one of the most expensive cities in Alaska.

All that money buys you a quality home, though. Sitka has the 6th lowest poverty level and 7th lowest unemployment rate in Alaska. It also buys you a school district that GreatSchools gave an average score of 7/10, in part because of the low student-teacher ratio.

Last but not least, you get easy access to some of America’s most iconic wildlife in Sitka. Between hanging out with bald eagles at the Alaska Raptor Center or watching grizzly bears romp around at the Fortress of the Bear, any animal-lover will find plenty to love in Sitka.

North Pole, AK

Source: Wikipedia User Dylan Avery | CC BY-SA 4.0
Stat North Pole Alaska
Population 2,816 734,821
Rank Last Year 4
Median Home Value $302,858 $349,554
Median Income $91,583 $86,370
Unemployment Rate 3.8% 6.4%
Crime Per Capita 0.0199 0.0308

More on North Pole: Data | Crime | Real Estate

It turns out old Kris Kringle did his research before settling down in North Pole because it’s the 3rd best place in Alaska. Located just 15 minutes southeast of Fairbanks, North Pole has a lot going for it. It’s the youngest city we’ll be covering on this list, with a median age of 28. Evidently, kids are moving here in droves to make sure their letters to Santa don’t get lost in the mail. Speaking of which, North Pole’s Santa Clause House is a place you must visit even if you’re just passing through.

you’ll notice an abundance of Christmas decorations year-round in North Pole, so if you just can’t get enough of the holiday spirit, you’ll have no trouble falling in love with the city. Top-notch schools, safe streets, and low rates of poverty and unemployment will also help keep you happy in the long-term. You won’t have to ask Santa for help with medical bills here anyway, because at 93.6%, North Pole has the highest rate of residents with health insurance in the state.

Ketchikan, AK

Source: Wikipedia User | CC BY-SA 2.0
Stat Ketchikan Alaska
Population 8,168 734,821
Rank Last Year 8
Median Home Value $380,964 $349,554
Median Income $73,512 $86,370
Unemployment Rate 5.1% 6.4%
Crime Per Capita 0.0107 0.0308

More on Ketchikan: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Ketchikan, the 4th best place to live in Alaska, offers a unique blend of natural beauty and urban conveniences. Located in the state’s southeastern part, this city is known for its breathtaking scenery and outdoor recreational opportunities. Ketchikan enjoys a low cost of living compared to other areas in Alaska. The median home price is $380,964, making it an affordable option for settling down.

Ketchikan provides a picturesque backdrop for residents, located on the Tongass Narrows channel and surrounded by lush forests and majestic mountains. The city’s mild maritime climate brings abundant rainfall throughout the year, earning it the nickname “Rain Capital of Alaska.” Despite the weather, Ketchikan’s charm and natural beauty make it one of the best places to live in Alaska for those seeking a balance between small-town living and access to modern amenities.

Valdez, AK

Source: Wikipedia User Joseph from Cabin On The Road, USA | CC BY-SA 2.0
Stat Valdez Alaska
Population 3,935 734,821
Rank Last Year 2
Median Home Value $291,208 $349,554
Median Income $89,255 $86,370
Unemployment Rate 6.5% 6.4%
Crime Per Capita 0.0046 0.0308

More on Valdez: Data | Crime | Real Estate

Valdez is a city of 3,935 located at the head of a fjord on the eastern side of Prince William Sound. We probably won’t have to try very hard to convince an outdoorsman or woman that Valdez is an amazing place to settle down. From the moment you drive into town through Keystone Canyon, you know you’re in for something special. Between five nearby glaciers to explore, all the epic kayaking and rafting adventures on Prince William Sound, and countless day-hikes, we can safely guarantee that you’ll never be bored in Valdez.

you’ll also have some pretty smart company, seeing as around 20% of the adult population has a master’s degree or higher. Seeing as Valdez also has the 2nd lowest high school dropout rate as well, we think the love of learning here transcends generations. Having a 12:1 student-teacher ratio (40% better than the statewide average) also plays a big role in educational success.

But wait, there’s more: Valdez is also one of the most affordable places in Alaska, thanks to a median household income of $89,255/year (the 9th highest in Alaska and low home prices. And with the 12th highest rate of residents with health insurance in the state, 86.6%, unwelcome medical surprises won’t break the bank here either.

Kodiak, AK

Source: Wikipedia User Katie Walker | CC BY 2.0
Stat Kodiak Alaska
Population 5,584 734,821
Rank Last Year 6
Median Home Value $419,391 $349,554
Median Income $76,765 $86,370
Unemployment Rate 4.8% 6.4%
Crime Per Capita 0.0109 0.0308

More on Kodiak: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Kodiak, Alaska, has a long history as a fishing and trading center. Before becoming part of the U.S. in the 1860s, it was already an important regional commercial center for Russian settlers and, stretching even further back, a long-established home for the local Alutiiq tribe. Nowadays, it ranks as the number 6 best place to live in Alaska.

Kodiak provides the key population center for its namesake Kodiak Island, located off the southern coast of the mainland. With 5,584 inhabitants, the city still hosts a thriving commercial fishing industry. This helps keep the economic gears humming in the area. Kodiak has an unemployment rate of 4.8, the 5th in Alaska.

The median income stands at 76,765, while the median home value hovers at $419,391.

You can only access Kodiak Island by ferry or plane. That makes it difficult to travel to places like Anchorage, 400 miles away on the mainland. Still, being Alaska, there is plenty of outdoor activities on the island, including a visit to Fort Abercrombie State Historic Park. There’s also a bridge to the aptly named Near Island, where you can visit the Kodiak Maritime Museum.

Juneau, AK

Source: Wikipedia User Mark Hogan | CC BY-SA 2.0
Stat Juneau Alaska
Population 32,108 734,821
Rank Last Year 7
Median Home Value $465,706 $349,554
Median Income $95,711 $86,370
Unemployment Rate 4.5% 6.4%
Crime Per Capita 0.0233 0.0308

More on Juneau: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Alaska’s capital city of Juneau also ranks as the 7th best place to live in the state. There are too many epic outdoors adventures in and around Juneau to cover them all here, but some highlights include exploring Mendenhall Glacier, taking a boat trip down Tracy Arm Fjord, and an easy trek to Nugget Falls.

Juneau is on the expensive side, with a cost of living about 5% higher than the Alaskan average and home prices around $465,706, the 3rd costliest in the state. But there’s also big opportunities here, as evidenced by Juneau’s median household income of $95,711/year, the 5th highest in Alaska.

While poverty and unemployment are somewhat low in Juneau, the city does suffer from a crime rate about twice as high as the national average, so be sure to do your research before choosing what neighborhood you’ll reside in.

Nome, AK

Source: Wikipedia User ra64 from nome, usa | CC BY-SA 2.0
Stat Nome Alaska
Population 3,710 734,821
Rank Last Year 10
Median Home Value $366,373 $349,554
Median Income $103,542 $86,370
Unemployment Rate 8.4% 6.4%
Crime Per Capita 0.0243 0.0308

More on Nome: Data | Crime | Real Estate

Last up on our tour of the best places to live in Alaska is Nome, a city of 3,710 in the western part of the state on the Bering Sea. Nome is known for being the final destination of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, which considerably increases the population annually. The student-teacher ratio in Nome is 30% better than the statewide average, meaning every child gets the attention they need here.

You may want to have a job lined up before moving to Nome because at 8.4%, it has the highest unemployment rate of places featured on this list. If you do land a job in Nome, know that the median household income here is the 2nd highest in Alaska at $103,542/year. And you won’t have far to travel to work, because Nome residents have the 2nd shortest commute in the state at just 6 minutes.

There’s lots of fun things to do year-round in Nome, but we recommend visiting the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve for a truly special outdoors experience.

Seward, AK

Source: Public domain
Stat Seward Alaska
Population 2,768 734,821
Rank Last Year 15
Median Home Value $340,623 $349,554
Median Income $77,850 $86,370
Unemployment Rate 4.8% 6.4%
Crime Per Capita 0.0191 0.0308

More on Seward: Data | Crime | Real Estate

Our third and final representative of Kenai Peninsula Borough, Seward ranks as the 9th best place to call home in Alaska. Seward is a dream city for anyone who likes to spend most of their time outdoors, with plenty of adventures, both big and small, to keep you busy. One that you absolutely can’t miss, though, is Kenai Fjords National Park. It’s truly one of the most unique and spectacular destinations that America has to offer.

On top of being out-of-this-world gorgeous, Seward is also the best family city in Alaska thanks in part to all the family-friendly activities around. Compared to most places in Alaska, you don’t have to travel far for work in Seward. The average commute time is around 9 minutes, the 7th shortest in the state. The housing and job market in Seward are also both solid, so you should have no trouble finding your feet here.

Cordova, AK

Source: Wikipedia User FlickreviewR 2 | CC BY 2.0
Stat Cordova Alaska
Population 2,507 734,821
Rank Last Year 1
Median Home Value $342,401 $349,554
Median Income $79,526 $86,370
Unemployment Rate 12.1% 6.4%
Crime Per Capita 0.0040 0.0308

More on Cordova: Data | Crime | Real Estate

Welcome to Cordova, the best place to call home in Alaska for the second year running. You can forget about renting a U-Haul to move to Cordova because no roads link this city to other Alaskan towns; you’ll need a place on a ferry to get there. While Cordova was damaged by the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989, the city has bounced back and is better than ever. We named it one of the safest places in Alaska with a crime rate roughly 70% lower than the national average and 80% lower than the Alaskan average.

When the economy is as solid as it is in Cordova, there’s really not much reason for crime to happen. Cordova has the lowest poverty level and 20th lowest unemployment rate in the state for 2024, sitting at 2.5% and 12.1% respectively. The median home price in Cordova is $342,401 and your average household pulls in about $79,526/year, the 10th highest in Alaska. One thing to note is that, at 36, Cordova is the oldest city we’ll be covering here, which can be good or bad depending on your preference.

One thing that’s definitely good is having Mt. Eyak Ski Area right in your backyard, so you’ll never have far to go for winter sports. And if you’re trying to get a feel for your new city, definitely check out the Cordova Historical Museum.

Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in Alaska

Best Places To Live In Alaska Size Requirement

Before we even started to collect data on the best places to live in Alaska, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Juneau, with a population of 32,108, against places with a population of 18?

We firmly decided no, that just isn’t fair.

So, to create our ranking, we broke the best places to live into three tiers:

  • Cities — Populations over 2,000
  • Towns — Populations between 1,000 and 2,000
  • Small Towns — Populations below 1,000

This filter left 20 cities, 42 towns, and 192 small towns.

We then decided no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best cities to live in Alaska have more of everything, and therefore, you need over 2,000 people to truly be ‘the best.’

Methodology: How We Calculated The Best Cities To Live In Alaska

Now that we had our set of the best possible cities, it was time to rank them using Saturday Night Science.

We ranked each place in Alaska across a number of criteria from one to 20, with one being the best.

We then took the average rank across all criteria, crowning the city posting the lowest overall score, the “Best Place To Live In Alaska.”

The criteria we looked to determine the best places were:

  • Median Home Values
  • Median Income
  • Population Density (Higher is better)
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Commute Time
  • Crime
  • Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty rates

Sources of criteria include the New Census Data, FBI Crime Data, and Zillow. We updated this article for 2024. This report is our tenth time ranking Alaska’s best places to live.

If your city or town isn’t among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in Alaska. Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Unalaska at the end of the cul-de-sac.

Summary: The Best Places In Alaska

If you’re looking at areas in Alaska with the best economic situations, where there’s lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

The best places to live in Alaska are Unalaska, Sitka, North Pole, Ketchikan, Valdez, Kodiak, Juneau, Nome, Seward, and Cordova.

Unalaska made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in Alaska for 2024.

If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Alaska according to the data:

  1. Dillingham (Pop. 2,175)
  2. Kotzebue (Pop. 3,088)
  3. Wasilla (Pop. 9,267)

For more Alaska reading, check out:

Best Places To Live In Alaska Table

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value Median Income Rent Crime Per Capita
1 Unalaska 4,342 3.3% $477,285 $104,706 $1,732 0.0055
2 Sitka 8,462 5.0% $499,205 $95,261 $1,309 0.0052
3 North Pole 2,816 3.8% $302,858 $91,583 $1,382 0.0199
4 Ketchikan 8,168 5.1% $380,964 $73,512 $1,214 0.0107
5 Valdez 3,935 6.5% $291,208 $89,255 $1,408 0.0046
6 Kodiak 5,584 4.8% $419,391 $76,765 $1,348 0.0109
7 Juneau 32,108 4.5% $465,706 $95,711 $1,464 0.0233
8 Nome 3,710 8.4% $366,373 $103,542 $1,626 0.0243
9 Seward 2,768 4.8% $340,623 $77,850 $1,125 0.0191
10 Cordova 2,507 12.1% $342,401 $79,526 $1,375 0.0040
11 Bethel 6,312 8.9% $373,847 $100,852 $1,546 0.0151
12 Homer 5,623 9.0% $369,327 $69,757 $1,180 0.0174
13 Palmer 6,091 9.6% $384,706 $68,929 $1,101 0.0213
14 Soldotna 4,394 5.6% $325,383 $67,365 $1,013 0.0212
15 Wrangell 2,134 3.4% $277,682 $61,000 $966 0.0047
16 Kenai 7,477 8.6% $304,984 $77,335 $1,114 0.0238
17 Fairbanks 32,496 7.0% $281,546 $69,914 $1,404 0.0516
18 Dillingham 2,175 7.1% $316,028 $92,578 $1,235 0.0216
19 Kotzebue 3,088 5.7% $276,895 $101,071 $1,633 0.0246
20 Wasilla 9,267 9.7% $363,621 $69,534 $1,105 0.0381

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.