What to Know About the Cost of Living in Alaska


iStock.com/Ken Duffney

Since Alaska is such a large state, which makes Texas and California seem small in comparison, residents can choose from a wide variety of situations and places to live. The cost of housing depends on the area you want to live in, as the state includes a mix of urban, suburban and rural atmospheres. If you want a small town vibe, a place like Kenai or Soldotna might be your best bet. When you want the bustling atmosphere of a big city, living in Juneau or Anchorage can give you that feeling.

Cost of Living in Alaska: Rent Prices

The cost of housing in Alaska varies widely, depending on where you plan to reside. Supply and demand in each region and city has an impact on what you will pay in rent each month. According to data from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the median price of a one-bedroom apartment in Anchorage is $ 950 per month. If you want to live in a more rural part of the state, you may be able to find an apartment for $ 500 to $ 700 per month.

Cost of living in Alaska: Food and drink

While you may be able to pay less rent living in a rural part of Alaska, you’ll often offset the lower cost in other areas that factor in the overall cost of living. The food and beverage category is one such area because transporting produce and other food items to rural areas of the state is expensive. Alaska’s climate is not conducive to growing many fresh fruits and vegetables, so most must come from other states.

Anchorage is the cheapest city in Alaska when it comes to food costs, although it is still above the national average for most major groceries. Residents pay on average just over $ 4 for a gallon of milk and $ 3.38 for a loaf of bread. When you dine out, you can expect to pay around $ 15 per person at a mid-priced restaurant in Anchorage. If you’re heading to Fairbanks for an out meal, the average cost jumps to $ 20 per person.

Cost of living in Alaska: Utilities

Another component of the cost of living in Alaska is utilities, or the costs associated with keeping your living space comfortable and livable. Given that Alaska is known for its long, freezing winters, it’s not too surprising that utilities are among the highest living costs in Alaska for residents. The climate varies between parts of the state, with milder winters in Kenai than in Anchorage, Fairbanks or some of the more rural areas.

Residents of Anchorage pay an average of $ 265.85 per month for utilities, with costs rising in the winter. After all, during certain times of the year the temperature may not exceed zero degrees Fahrenheit, so keeping your home warm is essential for your safety and comfort. Since winters in Kenai are a bit milder, residents pay between 5% and 10% less in monthly utilities than those in other areas. However, those who live in colder areas often pay more than $ 300 per month, each month of the winter season.

Cost of living in Alaska: Transport

Almost all residents of Alaska have their own private vehicles for getting around, which takes transportation costs into account. The only city where you might be able to get by without a vehicle is Anchorage, which has limited public transportation options. For most people, the cost of living in Anchorage, Alaska includes a personal vehicle and the associated costs, including fuel and insurance.

Fuel costs are higher in Alaska than in most other places in the U.S. In October 2020, the average cost of a gallon of gasoline was $ 2.42 in Anchorage and $ 2.64 in Fairbanks. According to data presented by AAA, these numbers are higher than the national average by more than 30 cents per gallon. Auto insurance premiums vary based on your driving record, age, and zip code. The Zebra reports that the state’s average cost for auto insurance is $ 1,152 per year, about 19% lower than the national average.

Cost of living in Alaska: Leisure and entertainment

Alaska’s natural environment provides affordable recreational activities for those who enjoy spending time in the great outdoors. While living in the state, you can visit the 24 national parks, which attract over 3.2 million visitors a year. Some of the more popular parks to visit include Wrangell-St. Elias, which is the largest park in the state, Denali, Glacier Bay, and Katmai. All national parks charge admission fees, which vary depending on location.

In addition to the beautiful scenery, Alaska is home to a number of entertainment venues, museums, and attractions. If you plan to visit the Anchorage Museum, expect to pay around $ 20 for each adult. Children and the elderly are often entitled to lower entrance fees to various museums and attractions. Other entertainment and leisure activities include guided outings, such as a private Northern Lights tour or a guided salmon fishing excursion. These outings could cost several hundred dollars.

Alaska has several sports teams that play their home games in the state. These include the Anchorage Glacier Pilots and Anchorage Bucs, both of which are college summer baseball teams located in Anchorage. If you want to watch a home game, you might expect to pay anywhere from $ 5 to $ 8 for a ticket.

With so much to see and do, Alaska is a state worth a visit. The natural beauty and profitable work opportunities also make it an attractive place to live. While the cost of living in Alaska in some areas is higher than the national average, the median household income is also higher, indicating the possibility of earning a good income.

Check out Alaska apartments and homes for rent statewide and start planning your move.

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