What Are The Pros And Cons Of Living In Anchorage, Alaska?
Alaska has much to offer, and there is a lot of it. Those who live in Alaska though, live a different kind of lifestyle. Anyone considering living in Alaska, as they would for any city or state, needs to consider the pros and cons of the decision. Every town, every city, and every state has its upsides and its downsides. Here is a look at some of the pros and cons of living in Alaska.
There are many pros for living in Anchorage like actually getting paid to live there (as in more than $1000 for every member of your household). In addition to those incentives, residents of Anchorage also enjoy having zero dollars in state income tax deducted from their checks. And, of course, there is the beauty of Alaska, which offers the highest peak in the U.S. in Mt. McKinley at more than 20,000 feet. Among the cons to living in Alaska that should be considered are its high cost of living, climate, and higher than average crime rates.
When it is all said and done, many people call Anchorage, Alaska home, and there is a reason for that. In fact, nearly 300,000 people reside in Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city. Anchorage also offers an active job market, and with cities like Juneau, Wasilla, and Fairbanks feeding the economy, there are many opportunities and jobs.
Making a move the distance of Alaska is a sizeable endeavor, and it is all the more reason to weigh the pros and cons of living in Anchorage. And like any place in the world, there are benefits and concerns about living in Anchorage too.
What Are the Pros of Living in Anchorage?
A big city, a small-town feel, a strong economy, and beauty as far as the eye can see. This only begins to unveil the many benefits Anchorage offers. Here is a look quick look at the pros of living here.
Excellent Job Market and Opportunities
Along with the lack of qualified job candidates, the growing job market is an ideal situation for qualified and talented employees. With sectors such as the military (Air Force and Army bases), the travel and oil industries, along with the number of state government positions, this is a definite pro for living in Anchorage.
While the unemployment rate (around 5%) continues to decline, opportunity continues to increase. Those seeking to move to a new city or state should always consider the job market and the ability to earn an income. Living in Anchorage offers both.
Check out the top 12 small towns in Alaska.
Terrific Tax Rates
Taxes are simply something no one likes, and apparently, that applies to the state of Alaska as well. Starting with the fact that Anchorage is one of the least taxed cities in the U.S. Here are a few perks that come with living in Alaska and the city of Anchorage.
- The average property tax rate in Anchorage is 1.355%. The high median home cost in Anchorage, however, offsets these rates.
- The sales tax in Anchorage Alaska is – wait, Anchorage has no sales tax.
- The income tax for the state of Alaska is zero. That’s correct, there is also no income tax for the residents of Anchorage.
Low Poverty Rates
With nearly 300,000 people Anchorage easily qualifies as a major city. That is just about where the similarities between big cities and Anchorage end. Unlike most every major city in the U.S., Anchorage has very low poverty rates compared to those of other major metro areas. Large cities often have poverty rates that average as high as 13%.
Part of the lower than average poverty rate is certainly due in part to the impact of the aforementioned job market, and the solid education system in Anchorage. That leads us to the next pro of living in Anchorage.
Strong Education Programs and School Systems
The overall ranking for Anchorage places its school systems higher than most on both the state and national levels. Factors attributable to living in a less densely populated city, such as student-to-teacher ratios, are largely responsible for these benefits.
The lack of skilled employees is also another factor in Anchorage dedicating such effort towards its educational system. These future graduates will hopefully be able to fill the void of qualified employees in Anchorage.
A Different Kind of Lifestyle
Another aspect that is unique and special to Anchorage is its ability to project that small-town feel, despite being a major city. A part of that small-town feel comes from the type of lifestyle accustomed to residents of Anchorage. In Anchorage, people don’t get in a hurry, they smile a lot and talk for minutes at a time!
This laid-back small-town atmosphere is also one more big difference between Anchorage and most big cities. Along with that easy-going small-town feel, this tight-knit community also offers plenty of activities and things to do.
Calling All Sportsmen (and Women)!
Wild game, fishing, and big game hunting? Check, check, and check. Anchorage is probably as close to a sportsman’s paradise as one can find in the U.S. With such untapped and widespread woodlands, bodies of water, and mountain highlands, there is game of every type in Alaska.
It is worth noting here, that Anchorage is still a big city and a civilized community, meaning hunting must be done outside the city limits. For residents of Anchorage, however, that only means a short trip to any number of options, including Ship Creek which runs through the city.
When it comes to your typical big city traffic issues, these aren’t generally ever an issue for the residents of Anchorage. Despite the thriving economy and strong job market, in addition to a population of almost 300,000, traffic problems are no problem at all here.
While some of the lack of traffic issues in Anchorage can be accredited to good city and roadway designs, some of it is due to absent traffic flow in Anchorage. Like every large city in Alaska, they benefit from not having the same type of excessive traffic most commonly responsible for traffic-related issues.
A Scenic Wonderland
Mountain ranges, snow-capped trees, rushing rivers, and so much more adorn Anchorage and its surrounding areas. In fact, Alaska itself is a scenic wonderland and a beautiful pro for living in Anchorage.
Imagine a stray dear walking through your backyard, or perhaps a bear sighting on an afternoon hike? Renowned for its wildlife and closer to it than only those in Alaska know this is a different kind of place. You can especially enjoy the scenery if you live in one of the top 12 small towns in Alaska.
Adventure and Activities Alaska Style
It doesn’t matter what season of the year it is, there is always something exciting and fun to get into in and around Anchorage. Hiking, of course, is one of the most popular activities as wildlife and nature lovers are a staple of the state.
For something more adventurous, there is the opportunity to try your hand at dogsledding or perhaps cross-country skiing. Also within minutes of Anchorage are events like ice skating and snow-shoeing, among many others. In Anchorage, there is always something to do and that is another reason to consider living here.
What Are the Cons of Living in Anchorage?
Before planning a move to someplace as far as Anchorage, or even to a neighboring city, the pros and cons of living there should be assessed. There are many pros to living in Anchorage, now, here are a few cons that should be considered too.
High Cost of Living
While Anchorage isn’t necessarily what we would call a remote location, in all fairness, it isn’t a part of the intercontinental Unites States either. That also results in a higher than average cost of living in places like Anchorage. This isn’t a punishment for not being one of the lower 48, it is the practical issue of getting resources, supplies, and other goods from such a distance.
The average cost of milk in the U.S. is around $3 a gallon, in Anchorage you might pay $6. These types of costs for typical goods, including fuel, also aren’t uncommon in Anchorage.
Dealing with Winter in Alaska
The brutal cold, above-average snow accumulations, and Alaska winter winds make the adjustment to winter in Alaska difficult. One of the unexpected issues with winter in Alaska for those who consider moving here is the shortened winter days.
People working that nine-to-five shift should expect to leave home for work in the dark, only to return home – in the dark. Although it is obvious that many people adjust, for many, this is an understandable con to living in Anchorage.
Check out the Cost Of Living In Fairbanks, Alaska.
Although this big city indeed offers close-knit communities and a small-town feel, unfortunately, it isn’t immune to crime. Statistics show that the crime rates in Anchorage are higher than in many other U.S. cities. In specific areas, those rates are considerably higher.
Another concerning issue about the crime rate in Anchorage regards the rates for violent crime. Safety is an important consideration when weighing the pros and cons of where to live, and the crime rate in Anchorage ends up on the cons side of the ledger.
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