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Ketchikan, Alaska

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Census Data for Ketchikan ...

Population ...

The most recent Census Estimate<1> was for 2015 and it gives Ketchikan a population of 8,197 people.

The last Decennial Census<2> was in 2010, giving Ketchikan a population of 8,050 people.

The 2010 Census gave Alaska had a population of 710,231 people, meaning that Ketchikan had 1.13% of the total population of Alaska - making it the state's 5th most populous community.

Area ...

When the Census Bureau conducts a census for a city like Ketchikan, they draw a boundary around the area in which they are going to conduct their count - this is called a sampling area (or a polygon). The shape of the sampling area can be quite complex and it's important to keep in mind that the boundaries of the sampling area may or may not match the recognized boundaries of the city.

Things like the population, area and housing for Ketchikan reflect the sampling area. Since the shape of the sampling area and the actual boundaries of&$160;Ketchikan might be slightly different, it's best to check with the U.S. Census Bureau if you need precision.

The 2010 Census shows that the sample polygon for Ketchikan has a total area of 5.9 square miles [15.3 km²]. Of this total, 4.35 square miles [11.3 km²] is land, with the balance (26.2%) being water (1.54 square miles [4 km²]).

Not only does the sampling area define boundaries, it also has a GPS location (latitude & longitude) that indicates a point within the sampling area (usually at the center of the polygon). At the time of the 2010 Census, the sampling area was located at:

Lat:   55° 20' 51"   (or 55.3°)

Lon:   -131° 39' 51"   (or -131.66°)

More information on this topic and the changes between the 2000 Census and the 2010 Census can be found in the section for our Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Population Density ...

Using the population (8,050 people) and land area (4.35 square miles [11.3 km²]) values from the 2010 Census, Ketchikan had a population density of 1,364 people per square mile [526 people/km²].

In comparison, the 2000 Census shows Ketchikan had a population of 7,922 people and a land area of 3.37 square miles [8.7 km²]. This gives a population density of 1,912 people per square mile [738 people/km²]

NOTE: Be aware that when comparing population density between the 2000 and the 2010 Census, there were changes in the sampling area for Ketchikan. You need to be careful when making such a comparison, the differences are likely to lead to a misleading comparison. More information about these differences can be found in the section Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Housing Units ...

At the time of the 2010 Census, Ketchikan had 3,731 Housing Units<3> and with its population of 8,050 people, this averages 2.16 people per Housing Unit.

The 2010 Census shows Ketchikan had a land area of 4.35 square miles [11.3 km²]. This translates to 632 Housing Units per square mile [244.2 housing units/km²].

From the Census of 2000: Ketchikan had 3,645 Housing Units, a population of 7,922 people and a land area of 3.37 square miles [8.7 km²]. This gives a density of 2.17 people per Housing Unit and 880 Housing Units per square mile [339.8 housing units/km²].

NOTE: Repeating the caution above (under Population Density), be aware that when comparing Housing Units between the 2000 Census and the 2010 Census, there were changes in the sampling area for Ketchikan and you need to be careful when comparing results between the censuses. More information about these differences can be found in the section called Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Population Rings for Ketchikan ...

To help identify the number of people who live in Ketchikan and the surrounding area, we have drawn concentric rings centered on Ketchikan. We counted the number of communities within each ring and summed their populations.<4>

RadiusNo of
Since 2010
5 mi [8 km]28,614+1.81%
30 mi [48 km]28,614+1.81%

US Census QuickFacts ...

The Census Bureau has created documents containing demographic information called QuickFacts. Although they don't create QuickFacts for all communities, they do have one for Ketchikan. Not only does the QuickFact have details about Ketchikan, it also contains a comparison between Ketchikan and the state of Alaska.

Click here for the Ketchikan QuickFact (QF-0238970).

Census-to-Census Observations ...

Introduction ...

When the Census Bureau takes a census count (or enumeration) for Ketchikan, they start by specifying the boundaries of the area to be counted. This area (or sampling area) is a polygon and its shape can be quite complex - it may or may not match the geographical boundaries of Ketchikan. It's important to note that from one Census to the next, the shape and location of the polygon can change. If you need precision or details about the methodology of the Census, you should visit the U.S. Census Bureau for a definitive answer.

Area ...

The sampling area (or polygon) given for the 2010 Census is 42.4% larger than the 2000 Census.

The 2010 Census shows that the total area for Ketchikan was 5.9 square miles [15.3 km²]. Of this total, 4.35 square miles [11.3 km²] is land, with the balance (26.2%) being water (1.54 square miles [4 km²]).

The 2000 Census shows a total area of 4.14 square miles [10.7 km²]. Of this total, 3.37 square miles [8.7 km²] is land, with the balance (13.03%) being water (0.77 square miles [2 km²]).

Location ...

While generally coinciding with the GPS location (latitude/longitude) of Ketchikan, the latitude and longitude given by the Census Bureau actually indicates the GPS location of the polygon for Ketchikan.

For the 2010 Census, the location was given as:

Lat:   55.357695°   (or 55°21'27" N)

Lon:   -131.674712°   (or -131°40'28" W)

For the 2000 Census, the location given was:

Lat:   55.347669°   (or 55°20'51" N)

Lon:   -131.664253°   (or -131°39'51" W)

The difference indicates that the U.S. Census Bureau moved the location of the polygon for the 2010 Census 4,249 feet to the northwest<5> of the location that was used in the 2000 Census.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN) have assigned a unique GNIS identifier (#2419408) to Ketchikan. This identifier also marks a GSP point on the map, and that point lies within the boundaries of Ketchikan. The GNIS point has been mapped to the latitude/longitude:

Lat:   55.348842°   (or 55°20'55" N)

Lon:   -131.652990°   (or -131°39'10" W)

The GSP location given for the 2010 Census lies 5,539 feet to the northwest<6> of the point given by the GNIS for Ketchikan. For more information about this and the relationship of the various Federal Codes, please visit our Misc Page for Ketchikan.

Miscellaneous Information for Ketchikan ...

The Federal government has assigned various identifying codes to each community, county and state. At one time or another, the US Census Bureau has referenced one (or more) of the following identifiers when referring to either or the city of Ketchikan:

The GNIS Codes ...

The current system of identification is called the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS). The following GNIS codes relate to Ketchikan:

GNIS ID for Ketchikan: 2419408

GNIS ID for Alaska: 1785533

The FIPS Codes ...

An earlier (and largely obsolete) identification method was called the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS):

State Code: 02 (Alaska)

Place Code: 38970 (Ketchikan)

State & Place Code: 02/38970 (Alaska / Ketchikan)

Misc. Census Codes ...

Ketchikan is located in Census Region #4 (the West Region) and Division #9 (the Pacific Division).

US Postal Service ZIP Codes ...

While some people have used ZIP codes to identify a community, the ZIP codes were actually created to make mail delivery more efficient by grouping addresses together. Although a ZIP Code doesn't specifically identify a city like Ketchikan, they do identify addresses that are in (or near) the city. It's important to remember that the boundaries of the ZIP Code can be changed, re-assigned, eliminated or overlapped with other ZIP Codes.

Our list of ZIP codes for Ketchikan :  & .<7>

Census ZCTA Codes ...

The US Census Bureau created statistical entities that they call ZIP Code Tabulation Areas (ZCTAs) and these ZCTAs are frequently confused with the ZIP codes that come from the US Postal Service (USPS).

ZCTAs were first created for the 2000 Census and at that time, they were based upon the USPS ZIP codes. While largely covering the same areas, the boundaries of a ZCTA do not necessarily match the boundaries of a postal ZIP code with the same number. For example, while a postal ZIP code can cross a county or state line, a Census ZCTA can not. They should be treated as separate entities with no correlation between them.

For more information about the various Federal identification codes, please visit our Misc Page for Ketchikan.

Other Roadside Stops ...

Find a Community in Alaska

About Alaska

Off-the-Road Links ...

The official website of the U.S. Census Bureau

The official website of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN)

The official website of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

The official website for Ketchikan:

The official website for State of Alaska:

Footnotes ...

<1>Every year, the US Census Bureau creates a population estimate for the preceeding year. Keep in mind that this value is an estimate and not an actual count. The most recent Census estimate is for the year 2015.

- Return to Citation

<2>Every 10 years (eg- 1990, 2000, 2010), the US Census Bureau conducts a Constitutionally-mandated count (or enumeration) of people living within the United States. This count is called a Decennial Census. The last Decennial Census was the 2010 Census, with the next one planned for 2020.

- Return to Citation

<3>A Housing Unit is a broad term for those places where people live (whether occupied or temporarily vacant), such as a house, an apartment, a mobile home, or an area that is considered as a separate living quarter. Separate living quarters (consisting of one or more rooms) are considered to be those places where people live, sleep and eat separately from others and that have access to the outside (either directly or by a shared hallway).

- Return to Citation

<4>The communities in our count are those provided by the 2010 Census, so keep in mind that our population rings will only include the people living in those communities. Smaller communities usually don't participate directly in the Census and therefore they won't be included. While our count is a close approximation, it shouldn't be considered as a complete or accurate count.

- Return to Citation

<5>The calculated bearing (or the angle) to the 2010 Census location is 30 degrees.

- Return to Citation

<6>The calculated bearing (or the angle) to the GNIS point is 54 degrees.

- Return to Citation

<7>When looking for a ZIP Code, whether Ketchikan or elsewhere, it's always best to check the website of the United States Postal Service (USPS).

- Return to Citation

For additional information, please visit our Glossary for Ketchikan.


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This page was last modified: 18 Oct 2016
By John Hall