The Cost of Living in Alaska

Evelyn Long

May 30, 2023

cost of living in alaska

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If you’re searching for a big move that will take you to an entirely different world, moving to Alaska might be the best decision you could make. The cost of living in Alaska can be a bit scary at first, but it’s still an affordable state to live in. As you make your list planning for an eventual big move, you can look into the pros and cons of living in such a beautiful environment with everything to offer.

5 Fantastic Things About Alaska

Alaska is well-known as the Last Frontier, one of the most gorgeous places in the United States. People might think different things when they picture the state, but many people might think of the cost of living in Alaska. After all, with these fantastic parts of the northernmost state, you might expect to pay higher than average to live in such beauty.

1. Plenty of Outdoor Opportunities

You might know Alaska for its various national parks. Each one has something unique about it, such as flying over Lake Clark from a safe distance or hiking through the snow in Denali National Park. You’ll never run out of outdoor activities to explore, whether alone or with loved ones.

Alaska is also a fantastic place to watch the Northern Lights. Over the darkest months of the year, this natural phenomenon can easily be seen if you live in Alaska. You’d never get tired of such a breathtaking sight. The aurora borealis holds a special significance to Native Alaskans, and it attracts tourists who want to seek out something beautiful.

2. The State Pays You to Move

If you’re considering moving to Alaska, the state may pay you a sum to secure a home. Full-time residents of Alaska get money each year just for being residents of the state. The program, known as the Permanent Fund Dividend Program, has been going every year since 1976 as a way to ensure enough people live within the state and can help promote the future of Alaska.

3. Embraces Indigenous Heritage

Alaska is home to over 40% of the native tribes in the United States. In 2015, while acknowledging the importance of the indigenous Alaskan people to modern-day Alaska and the state of the past, Governor Bill Walker signed a declaration that replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day and spoke out against racism. In 2017, the yearly declaration became permanent. While Alaska still acknowledges Alaska Day, a colonial holiday, it may give state workers a day off for Indigenous Peoples Day as it does for Alaska Day.

4. Sunlight All Day

During some points of the year, the sun hardly sets in Alaska. In the summer, Alaska has sunlight for almost 24 hours a day. As the earth tilts toward the sun during the summer, Alaska gets much of that light. The Midnight Sun season typically lasts from April to August, and you can also use Fairbanks’ website to see how many hours of sunlight you can expect on any given day during the sunniest months.

5. The Cost of Living

The cost of living in Alaska isn’t as wild as you might think. For being one of the most beautiful locations in the United States, it’s decently affordable. It’s also a great place to work from home, so if your company is remote-based, you may find that moving to a brand-new state is worth your while, especially when you want to explore all it has to offer.

Breaking Down the Cost of Living in Alaska

The Living Wage Calculator estimates that a one-adult household needs to make around $17.15 to have a living wage in Alaska. That number increases depending on how many working adults and dependents you have in the household. Here are some categories to break down the cost of living in Alaska.


Housing might be the most expensive part of moving to Alaska. It’s a little under 20% higher than the average American housing costs, but it also depends on where you want to live. Utility costs in Fairbanks, Alaska, are 110% above the national average due to the area’s limited natural gas resources. Juneau, Alaska, is also one of the cities with the highest average house price.


The cost of living in Alaska doesn’t stop with buying a house. You’ll also need to afford groceries and food to live. Perhaps because Alaska is so far away from the rest of the mainland United States, imported food is much more expensive. You may find that seafood is the cheapest option, whereas it’s often a more expensive option in other states. Different areas in Alaska pay different prices for food, but you should plan for about $350 per month per person in your family to feel safe with your grocery budget.

Health Care

How much health care costs in Alaska is difficult to predict. Depending on the composition of your household, you may be visiting health care services once a year or potentially staying in the hospital pretty often. Unfortunately, Alaska is the state with the highest cost of health care at around $11,000 per person annually. Of course, that number can vary, so don’t count moving to the Last Frontier out just because of the health care sector.


Your transportation option of choice will affect how much you pay to get around in Alaska. The municipality of Anchorage, Alaska, has a public transportation option that has a base cost of $2 for one ride, though the price goes up with repeat trips or even yearly passes. Overall, you’ll want to watch gas prices and live somewhere accessible, in case you need to rely on public transportation over your personal vehicle. 

Everything Else

You’ll likely want to spend some of your money elsewhere, not on necessities. This spending might look different for different people, as some may enjoy restaurants more while others often take trips to the movies. Whatever the case, as long as you budget the rest of your money accordingly, you’ll have enough for entertainment and other fun stuff.

Alaska features both chain stores and small businesses, like any other state. You’ll likely have the opportunity to shop at both kinds of stores whenever you want to. You may even find relics of a bygone era. Though they’re both closed as of 2019, Alaska had two of the final remaining Blockbuster stores, and now, the only one that exists is in Oregon. It’s a unique place to visit, and it’s an even better place to live. 

The Cost of Living in Alaska Means a Beautiful Backyard

Above all else, though the cost of living in Alaska is a bit more expensive than the average in the United States, it’s still a rewarding place to live. Both beauty and nature lie outside your window, and you’ll have plenty of outdoor activities to keep you busy. If you’re looking for a major change, moving to Alaska might be the best option for you.

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