A Gazetteer for the United States and Canada
Census Data for Anchorage ...
The most recent Census Estimate<1> was for 2017 and it gave Anchorage a population of 294,356 people.
The last Decennial Census<2> was in 2010, which gave Anchorage a population of 291,826 people.
When the Census Bureau conducts a census for a city like Anchorage, they draw a boundary around the area in which they are going to conduct their count - this defines the sampling area (usually shaped as 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 Anchorage reflect the sampling area. Since the shape of the sampling area and the actual boundaries of Anchorage might be different, it's best to check with the U.S. Census Bureau to resolve any difference between the two.
The 2010 Census shows that the sampling area for Anchorage has a total area of 1,961 square miles [5,079 km²]. Of this total, 1,704 square miles [4,415.1 km²] is land, with the balance (13.07%) being water (256.3 square miles [663.9 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 the center of the polygon, known as the centroid). At the time of the 2010 Census, the sampling area was located at:
Lat: 61° 10' 39" (or 61.2°) [Map]
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 (291,826 people) and land area (1,704 square miles [4,415.1 km²]) values from the 2010 Census, Anchorage had a population density of 148.8 people per square mile [57.5 people/km²].
In comparison, the 2000 Census shows Anchorage had a population of 260,283 people and a land area of 1,697 square miles [4,395.8 km²]. This gives a population density of 132.7 people per square mile [51.2 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 Anchorage. You need to be careful when making such a comparison, the differences are likely to lead to an apple-to-oranges comparison. More information about the nature of these differences can be found in the section Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).
Housing Units ...
At the time of the 2010 Census, Anchorage had 113,032 Housing Units<3> and with its population of 291,826 people, this averages 2.58 people per Housing Unit.
The 2010 Census shows Anchorage had a land area of 1,704 square miles [4,415.1 km²]. This translates to 57.6 Housing Units per square mile [22.25 housing units/km²].
From the Census of 2000: Anchorage had 100,368 Housing Units, a population of 260,283 people and a land area of 1,697 square miles [4,395.8 km²]. This gives a density of 2.59 people per Housing Unit and 51.2 Housing Units per square mile [19.76 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 Anchorage and you need to be careful when comparing results between the censuses. More information about the nature of these the changes can be found in the section called Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).
Population Rings for Anchorage ...
To help identify the number of people who live in Anchorage and the surrounding area, we have drawn concentric rings centered on Anchorage. We counted the number of communities within each ring and summed their populations.<4>
Census-to-Census Observations ...
When the Census Bureau takes a census count (or enumeration) for Anchorage, 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 Anchorage. 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.
There is only a very minor difference in the sampling area given between the 2010 Census and the 2000 Census.
The 2010 Census shows that the total area for Anchorage was 1,961 square miles [5,079 km²]. Of this total, 1,704 square miles [4,415.1 km²] is land, with the balance (13.07%) being water (256.3 square miles [663.9 km²]).
The 2000 Census shows a total area of 1,961 square miles [5,079.2 km²]. Of this total, 1,697 square miles [4,395.8 km²] is land, with the balance (13.46%) being water (263.9 square miles [683.4 km²]).
While generally coinciding with the GPS location (latitude/longitude) of Anchorage, the latitude and longitude given by the Census Bureau actually indicates the GPS location of the polygon for Anchorage.
For the 2010 Census, the location was given as:
Lat: 61.177549° (or 61°10'39" N) [Map]
For the 2000 Census, the location given was:
Lat: 61.191900° (or 61°11'30" N) [Map]
The difference indicates that the U.S. Census Bureau moved the location of the polygon for the 2010 Census 16 miles to the east<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 (#1398242) to Anchorage. This identifier also marks a GSP point on the map, and that point lies within the boundaries of Anchorage. The GNIS point has been mapped to the latitude/longitude:
Lat: 61.218056° (or 61°13'5" N) [Map]
The GSP location given for the 2010 Census lies 21 miles to the east<6> of the point given by the GNIS for Anchorage. For more information about this and the relationship of the various Federal Codes, please visit our Misc Page for Anchorage.
Miscellaneous Information for Anchorage ...
The Federal government has assigned various identifying codes to each community, county and state. At one time or another, the US Census Bureau has used one (or more) of the following identifiers when referring to either or the city of Anchorage:
The GNIS Codes ...
The current system of identification is called the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS). The following GNIS codes relate to Anchorage:
GNIS ID for Anchorage: 1398242
The FIPS Codes ...
An earlier (and largely obsolete) identification method was called the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS):
State Code: 02 (Alaska)
Place Code: 03000 (Anchorage)
Misc. Census Codes ...
Anchorage 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 Anchorage, 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 Anchorage :
99501, 99502, 99503, 99507, 99508, 99509, 99510, 99511, 99512, 99513, 99514, 99515, 99516, 99517, 99518, 99519, 99520, 99521, 99522, 99523, 99599 & 99695.<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 Anchorage.
Other Roadside Stops ...
Off-the-Road Links ...
The official website of the U.S. Census Bureau
Unfortunately, we don't know of a website for Anchorage. If you can help, please contact us through our Feedback Page.
The official website for State of Alaska: alaska.gov/
The official website of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN)
The official website of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Please keep in mind that we can not guarantee the accuracy or timeliness of the information on this website, so use with care. We encourage you to double-check the information that is critical to you.
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This page was last modified: 28 Apr 2019