A Gazetteer for the United States and Canada

Fairbanks, Alaska

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Census Data for Fairbanks ...

Population ...

The most recent Census Estimate<1> was for 2016 and it gives Fairbanks a population of 32,751 people.

The last Decennial Census<2> was in 2010, giving Fairbanks a population of 31,535 people.

The 2010 Census gave Alaska had a population of 710,231 people, meaning that Fairbanks had 4.44% of the total population of Alaska - making it the state's 2nd most populous community.

Area ...

When the Census Bureau conducts a census for a city like Fairbanks, 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 Fairbanks reflect the sampling area. Since the shape of the sampling area and the actual boundaries of Fairbanks 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 Fairbanks has a total area of 32.53 square miles [84.2 km²]. Of this total, 31.69 square miles [82.1 km²] is land, with the balance (2.56%) being water (0.83 square miles [2.2 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:   64° 50' 11"   (or 64.8°)             [Map]

Lon:   -147° 39' 6"   (or -147.65°)

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 (31,535 people) and land area (31.69 square miles [82.1 km²]) values from the 2010 Census, Fairbanks had a population density of 969 people per square mile [374.3 people/km²].

In comparison, the 2000 Census shows Fairbanks had a population of 30,224 people and a land area of 31.86 square miles [82.5 km²]. This gives a population density of 925 people per square mile [357.2 people/km²]

NOTE: Be aware that when comparing population density between the 2000 Census and the 2010 Census, there were changes in the sampling area for Fairbanks. 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 changes can be found in the section Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Housing Units ...

At the time of the 2010 Census, Fairbanks had 13,056 Housing Units<3> and with its population of 31,535 people, this averages 2.42 people per Housing Unit.

The 2010 Census shows Fairbanks had a land area of 31.69 square miles [82.1 km²]. This translates to 401.4 Housing Units per square mile [155 housing units/km²].

From the Census of 2000: Fairbanks had 12,357 Housing Units, a population of 30,224 people and a land area of 31.86 square miles [82.5 km²]. This gives a density of 2.45 people per Housing Unit and 378.2 Housing Units per square mile [146 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 Fairbanks and you need to be careful when comparing numbers 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 Fairbanks ...

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

  Radius   No of
  Since 2010    
5 mi   [8 km]132,751+3.86%
10 mi   [16 km]132,751+3.86%
30 mi   [48 km]234,983+3.96%

Census-to-Census Observations ...

Introduction ...

When the Census Bureau takes a census count (or enumeration) for Fairbanks, 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 Fairbanks. 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 ...

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 Fairbanks was 32.53 square miles [84.2 km²]. Of this total, 31.69 square miles [82.1 km²] is land, with the balance (2.56%) being water (0.83 square miles [2.2 km²]).

The 2000 Census shows a total area of 32.67 square miles [84.6 km²]. Of this total, 31.86 square miles [82.5 km²] is land, with the balance (2.5%) being water (0.81 square miles [2.1 km²]).

Location ...

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

For the 2010 Census, the location was given as:

Lat:   64.836531°   (or 64°50'11" N)             [Map]

Lon:   -147.651745°   (or -147°39'6" W)

For the 2000 Census, the location given was:

Lat:   64.838092°   (or 64°50'17" N)             [Map]

Lon:   -147.726378°   (or -147°43'34" W)

The difference indicates that the U.S. Census Bureau moved the location of the polygon for the 2010 Census 2 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 (#2419385) to Fairbanks. This identifier also marks a GSP point on the map, and that point lies within the boundaries of Fairbanks. The GNIS point has been mapped to the latitude/longitude:

Lat:   64.835019°   (or 64°50'6" N)             [Map]

Lon:   -147.653070°   (or -147°39'11" W)

The GSP location given for the 2010 Census lies 588 feet to the north<6> of the point given by the GNIS for Fairbanks. For more information about this and the relationship of the various Federal Codes, please visit our Misc Page for Fairbanks.

Miscellaneous Information for Fairbanks ...

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 Fairbanks:

The GNIS Codes ...

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

GNIS ID for Fairbanks: 2419385

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: 24230 (Fairbanks)

State & Place Code: 02/24230 (Alaska / Fairbanks)

Misc. Census Codes ...

Fairbanks 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 Fairbanks, 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 Fairbanks :

99701, 99706, 99707, 99708, 99709, 99710, 99711, 99775 & 99790.<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 Fairbanks.

Other Roadside Stops ...

Find a Community located 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 Fairbanks: www.co.fairbanks.ak.us/

The official website for State of Alaska: alaska.gov/

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 2016.

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<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.

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<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).

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<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.

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<5>The calculated bearing (or the angle) to the 2010 Census location is 267 degrees.

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<6>The calculated bearing (or the angle) to the GNIS point is 339 degrees.

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

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For additional information, please visit our Glossary for Fairbanks.