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State Information for Alaska

State of Alaska

Attached to the northwest corner of North America, Alaska is the largest state in the United States encompassing 656,425 square miles. It is one fifth the size of the entire lower 48 states, and larger than the next three largest states combined. Alaska holds the record for the coldest temperature in the US: -80F on January 23, 1971 in Prospect Creek, and for the highest point, Mt McKinley, at 20,300 feet above sea level. Alaska is organized into 16 boroughs instead of counties. Remote areas not included in the boroughs are divided into census areas. The capital of Alaska is Juneau. Despite its grand geographical presence, Alaska ranks 48th in population with approximately 670,000 people according to the 2006 U.S. Bureau of the Census Population Estimates Program. While over 40% of the residents live in the largest city of Anchorage, most of the rest of the state is sparsely populated or uninhabited with communities separated by vast distances. 52.3% of the state population lives in frontier areas. Residents are 67% white, 16% Alaska Native and American Indian, 4.6% Asian, and 3.7% African American with 4.7% of the population reporting more than one ethnicity.

The Alaska Native population represents eleven distinct cultures who speak twenty different languages. This diverse Alaska Native population is often organized based on five cultural groupings drawing upon cultural similarities or geographic proximity. The Athabascan live in the interior of Alaska, the Yup'ik/Cup'ik live in western Alaska primarily on the coast, while the Iñupiaq/St. Lawrence Island Yupik live on the north coast. The Aleut and Alutiiq live on the string of islands extending towards Asia; and the Tlingit, Haida & Tsimshian groups live in southeast Alaska bordering British Columbia. Alaska's rugged geography and harsh climate challenges the implementation and maintenance of core services such as health care for these and other groups.

Topics on this page:

Locate Alaska NN/LM Members

The directory of Alaska members of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) includes health libraries, public libraries, and community-based organizations in the state that provide quality health information.

Library and Information Professional Resources

State Health and Statistics Information

State General Information

Special Populations

This section includes groups of individuals who share common characteristics that are distinctive from the general population. These characteristics may include racial and/or ethnic background, socioeconomic status, geographic location, and age. The characteristics of special populations are important to be aware of as they can affect the population's health status.

Medically Underserved Areas/Populations (MUA/Ps)

MUA/Ps are areas or populations designated by the Shortage Designation Branch, part of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) as not having sufficient access to medical care. If an area is designated MUA, then the entire population is covered, if the designation is MUP, only a specific population is. Occasionally, regions receive a designation of GOV, which means that the state governor requested that the area be included due to local barriers and/or health conditions. The MUA/P designation is often important when obtaining grants or other funding. The most accurate and up-to-date source of this information is the HRSA database.

Government Information Resources

  • State Snapshots, from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, provides health care quality information, including strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement. The goal is to help State officials and their public- and private-sector partners better understand health care quality and disparities in their State.
  • FedStats provides access to statistics prepared by over 100 federal agencies. Statistics are available on a state and community level.
  • Google Search <Uncle Sam> searches government information on all levels using the standard Google interface and algorithm.
  • State and Local Government on the Net provides links to government information on a state and local level for the fifty states, as well as selected US territories.
  • provides a search engine and subject indexes for US state and federal information.

Additional Resources