If Kodiak seems a bit more crowded lately, it’s probably just your imagination. One hundred sixty-eight more people isn’t all that much.

According to the Alaska Department of Labor, the population of the Kodiak Island Borough rose by 168 between 2011 and 2012. While that figure isn’t much in absolute terms, it’s enough to push the borough’s population over the 14,000 mark for the first time since 1997.

As of July 1, 2012, the state estimated the population of the Kodiak Island Borough at 14,041 people. While the federal government takes an official census every 10 years, the state comes up with its own estimate every year, using things like Personal Fund Dividend checks and figures released by the Department of Defense.

Kodiak’s population growth, 1.2 percent, is in line with statewide population growth. Between July 2011 and July 2012, Alaska’s population rose to 732,298, up 1.3 percent. Some areas of the state grew much faster than the state as a whole. The Aleutians West Borough grew 2.5 percent each of the past two years, while the Matanuska-Susitna Borough grew 2.3 percent and the City and Borough of Juneau grew 2.2 percent.

Eighty percent of Alaska’s population now lives in cities of 2,500 people or more. The Municipality of Anchorage, city of Fairbanks and City and Borough of Juneau combined have 49.7 percent of Alaska’s people.

The population of the Kodiak Island Borough has fluctuated in the 13,500 range for several years, ever since peaking at 15,679 in 1990. It reached a low of 13,457 in 2006 but has rebounded.

The biggest contributor to population growth is natural increase: Since 2010, there have been 356 more births than deaths in the borough. During the same period, 93 more people have moved into the borough than out of it.

That marks a shift from the first decade of the 21st century. From 2000 to 2010, Kodiak lost 1,937 people due to outward migration.

Only part of Kodiak’s recent growth can be attributed to the Coast Guard and Navy. Between 2010 and 2012, those two agencies kept their overall presence in Kodiak relatively steady. In 2010, there were 2,479 active-duty military and dependents within the borough. In 2012, there were 2,492.

Most of the new additions to the Kodiak Island Borough are within city limits. From 2011 to 2012, the population of Kodiak city rose from 6,312 to 6,431, an increase of 119.

Other communities within the borough also saw growth. The population of Akhiok rose from 81 to 87, and that of Karluk from 35 to 41. In Bell’s Flats, there are 763 people where there were 727 in 2011.

Some communities lost population. In Old Harbor, the population dropped to 206 from 213, and in Port Lions, the population dropped to 201 from 204.

Contact Mirror editor James Brooks at editor@kodiakdailymirror.com.

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