|Boroughs and Census Areas of Alaska|
Borough • City-borough • Census area
|Location||State of Alaska|
|Number||19 Organized boroughs|
10 Census areas
|Populations||(Organized boroughs): 662 (Yakutat) – 291,826 (Anchorage)|
(Census areas):2,150 (Hoonah-Angoon) – 17,013 (Bethel)
|Areas||(Organized boroughs): 452 square miles (1,170 km2) (Skagway) – 88,817 square miles (230,030 km2) (North Slope)|
(Census Areas): 3,760 square miles (9,700 km2) (Prince of Wales-Hyder) – 145,900 square miles (378,000 km2) (Yukon-Koyukuk)
|Subdivisions||Communities, consolidated city-borough|
The U.S. state of Alaska is divided into 19 organized boroughs and one Unorganized Borough. Alaska and Louisiana are the only states that do not call their first-order administrative subdivisions counties (Louisiana uses parishes instead).
Many of the most densely populated regions of the state are part of Alaska's boroughs, which function similarly to counties in other states. However, unlike county equivalents in the other 49 states, the organized boroughs do not cover the entire land area of the state. There are four different classes of organized boroughs: "Unified Home Rule" (may exercise all legislative powers not prohibited by law or charter); "Non-unified Home Rule"; "First Class" (may exercise any power not prohibited by law on non-area wide basis by adopting ordinances); and "Second Class" (must gain voter approval for authority to exercise many non-area wide powers).
The area not part of any organized borough is referred to as the Unorganized Borough. The U.S. Census Bureau, in cooperation with the state, divides the Unorganized Borough into 10 census areas, each roughly corresponding to an election district, thus totaling 29 county equivalents. However, these areas exist solely for the purposes of statistical analysis and presentation; they have no government of their own. Boroughs and census areas are both treated as county-level equivalents by the Census Bureau.
Some areas in the unorganized borough receive limited public services directly from the Alaska state government, usually law enforcement from the Alaska State Troopers and educational funding.
Six consolidated city-borough governments exist—Juneau City and Borough, Skagway Municipality, Sitka City and Borough, Yakutat City and Borough, Wrangell City and Borough, as well as the state's largest city, Anchorage. Though its legal name is the Municipality of Anchorage, it is considered a consolidated city-borough under state law.
The Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 55-2,3,4 codes, which are used by the United States Census Bureau to uniquely identify states and counties, is provided with each entry. Alaska's code is 02, so each code is of the format 02XXX. The FIPS code for each county equivalent links to census data for that county equivalent.
List of boroughs
||FIPS code||Borough seat||Class
|Aleutians East Borough||013||Sand Point||Second||1987||-||Its location in the east Aleutian Islands, which are themselves of uncertain linguistic origin; possibly derived from Chukchi word aliat ("island")||0.45||3,515||6,988 sq mi
|Unified Home Rule||1964/1975||Anchorage Borough formed in 1964, merged with city in 1975 to form unified city-borough||Derived from the presence of a safe place to anchor and unload supplies for construction of the Alaska Railroad circa 1913, thereby creating a community.||171.18||291,538||1,697 sq mi
|Bristol Bay Borough||060||Naknek||Second||1962||-||Named in 1778 by Capt. James Cook for George Digby, 2nd Earl of Bristol.||1.98||877||505 sq mi
|Denali Borough||068||Healy||Home Rule||1990||-||From Denali, the tallest North American mountain, which means "great one" in the Dena'ina language||0.14||2,059||12,750 sq mi
|Fairbanks North Star Borough||090||Fairbanks||Second||1964||-||Named for its borough seat of Fairbanks, named in turn for Charles Fairbanks (1852 - 1918), U.S. Senator from Indiana and vice president under Theodore Roosevelt, and for Polaris, the North Star||13.30||98,971||7,366 sq mi
|-||After Haines, which was itself named for Mrs. F.E. Haines, the key fundraiser for the construction of a Presbyterian mission in the town.||1.08||2,474||2,344 sq mi
|Unified Home Rule||1970||The cities of Juneau and Douglas merged with the surrounding borough to form the municipality||Joseph "Joe" Juneau, prospector and co-founder of the city.||11.58||32,113||2,716 sq mi
|Kenai Peninsula Borough||122||Soldotna||Second||1964||-||The Kenai Peninsula, whose name may be derived from Kenayskaya, the Russian name for Cook Inlet.||3.45||58,533||16,013 sq mi
|Ketchikan Gateway Borough||130||Ketchikan||Second||1963||-||The borough seat of Ketchikan and the borough's gateway location on the Alaska-Canada border.||2.77||13,918||4,840 sq mi
|Kodiak Island Borough||150||Kodiak||Second||1963||-||Named after Kodiak Island, which may itself be named for the Koniag people||2.08||13,345||6,560 sq mi
|Lake and Peninsula Borough||164||King Salmon||Home Rule||1989||-||The borough's many large lakes, and the Alaska Peninsula||0.07||1,587||23,782 sq mi
|Matanuska-Susitna Borough||170||Palmer||Second||1964||-||Named for the valley that the Matanuska and Susitna Rivers form.||3.62||107,610||24,682 sq mi
|North Slope Borough||185||Utqiagvik||Home Rule||1972||-||The Alaska North Slope along the Brooks Range.||0.11||9,872||88,817 sq mi
|Northwest Arctic Borough||188||Kotzebue||Home Rule||1986||In 1986, residents of Kotzebue and 10 other area villages voted to form the Northwest Arctic Borough (with boundaries coincident with those of NANA), to be economically based on taxing the Red Dog mine, then under development.||Its geographic location and position above the Arctic Circle.||0.21||7,671||35,898 sq mi
|Petersburg Borough||195||Petersburg||Home Rule||2013||Incorporated after voters approved borough formation in December 2012.||Named for Norwegian immigrant Peter Buschmann, founder of the former city of Petersburg.||1.16||3,221||3,829 sq mi
|Unified Home Rule||1971||-||Derived from Tlingit word Shee At'iká, meaning "People on the outside of Shee (Baranof Island)."||3.09||8,647||2,874 sq mi
|First||2007||-||Derived from Tlingit word Shgagwèi, meaning "a windy place with white caps on the water."||2.14||1,148||452 sq mi
|Unorganized Borough||-||-||-||1961||The Borough Act of 1961 created The Unorganized Borough including all of Alaska not within a Unified, Home rule, First class or Second class borough.||A legal entity in Alaska, covering those parts of Alaska not within an incorporated borough; it is administered by the state of Alaska.||0.24||74,334||323,440 sq mi
|Unified Home Rule||2008||formerly part of Wrangell-Petersburg Census Area||Ferdinand von Wrangel, Russian administrator of Alaska, 1840-49.||0.93||2,503||2,570 sq mi
|Home Rule||1992||-||Yakutat Bay and the Yakutat Alaska Native people||0.09||604||7,650 sq mi
Census areas in the Unorganized Borough
The Unorganized Borough is the portion of the U.S. state of Alaska not contained in any of its 19 organized boroughs. It encompasses over half of Alaska's area, 970,500 km² (374,712 mi²), an area larger than any other U.S. state. As of the 2000 census 13% of Alaskans (81,803 people) reside in it.
Currently unique among the United States, Alaska is not entirely subdivided into organized county equivalents. For the 1980 census, the United States Census Bureau divided the unorganized borough into 12 census areas to facilitate census taking in the vast unorganized area. As new boroughs incorporate, these areas have been altered or eliminated to accommodate, such that there are currently 10 census areas:
||FIPS code||Largest town
(as of 2000)
|Aleutians West Census Area||016||Unalaska||Location in the western Aleutian Islands.||1.27||5,561||4,397 sq mi
|Bethel Census Area||050||Bethel||City of Bethel, the largest settlement in the census area, which is itself named for the Biblical term Bethel ("house of God").||0.42||17,013||40,633 sq mi
|Dillingham Census Area||070||Dillingham||The city of Dillingham, the largest settlement in the area, which was itself named after United States Senator Paul Dillingham (1843-1923), who had toured Alaska extensively with his Senate subcommittee in 1903.||0.26||4,847||18,675 sq mi
|Hoonah–Angoon Census Area||105||Hoonah||The cities of Hoonah and Angoon||0.29||2,150||7,444 sq mi
|Kusilvak Census Area||158||Hooper Bay||Kusilvak Mountains
(Known as Wade Hampton prior to 2015)
|0.44||7,459||17,194 sq mi
|Nome Census Area||180||Nome||City of Nome, the largest settlement in the census area.||0.41||9,492||23,001 sq mi
|Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area||198||Craig||Prince of Wales Island and the town of Hyder
(Known as Prince of Wales-Outer Ketchikan prior to the expansion of Ketchikan Gateway Borough in 2008)
|1.42||5,559||3,760 sq mi
|Southeast Fairbanks Census Area||240||Deltana||Its location, southeast of Fairbanks||0.28||7,029||24,814 sq mi
|Valdez-Cordova Census Area||261||Valdez||Cities of Valdez and Cordova||0.28||9,636||34,319 sq mi
|Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area||290||Fort Yukon||Yukon River ("great river" in Gwich’in), which flows through the census area; and the city of Koyukuk||0.04||5,588||145,900 sq mi
^ A: Because census areas in the Unorganized Borough have their own FIPS codes, this code listed and linked is for the entire state of Alaska.
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