The last time Kodiak had a lower population than it does today, Ronald Reagan was just a few months into his second term as president.
The Emerald Isle is now home to 12,611 people, according to estimates from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. That’s a loss of 418 people between July 2019 and July 2020, the time period estimated. Kodiak’s population has declined every year since 2012.
In 1985, the first year of Reagan’s second term, the population stood at 12,505. Since then, it’s spiked to 15,059 in 1994 and has fallen almost ever since. Between 2006 and 2011, the population rose slightly from 13,220 to 13,837.
The 418-person decline represents a fall of 3.26%. Kodiak’s losses in population between 2019 and 2020 are the third-steepest of any of the 30 Alaska boroughs and census areas measured, though 22 others also lost people.
Only the Lake and Peninsula Borough, with a decline of 4.6%, and the Hoonah-Angoon Census Area, with a 3.83% decline, lost a higher proportion of their populations. But both are far smaller than Kodiak, with populations of 1,552 and 2,074 respectively.
The Department of Labor’s numbers indicate that Kodiak’s decline is driven more by migration out of the area than by aging: 61 more people were born in Kodiak than died last year. But 479 left the area. The difference accounts for the 418-person loss.
The department’s models suggest that Kodiak’s population will continue to drop. By 2045, state demographers expect Kodiak’s population to dwindle to 11,533.
All these numbers are estimates. There will be better data once the 2020 census results are released later this year.
Alaska’s population as a whole declined for the fourth straight year. It fell by 3,831 people, or 0.5%, from July 2019 to July 2020.
The state’s population peaked at 740,637 in July 2016 and was 728,903 as of July 2020.
Net migration accounted for losing 8,873 people, meaning that many more people left the state than moved in. Alaska has lost more movers than it’s gained every year since 2013. A decrease in births also contributed to the overall decline.
Alaska’s under-18 and 18-to-64-year-old populations each declined 1%, while the 65-and-older group grew 4%. The state’s highest median age was 48.6 in the Haines Borough and Hoonah-Angoon Census Area. The Kusilvak Census Area was youngest at 24.3.
The Municipality of Anchorage lost the most people in raw numbers, with 3,517. Fairbanks grew the most, gaining 1,064 people, followed by the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, which gained 523.
In relative terms, Yakutat gained the most, with a 5.73% increase, though that was only a 32-person increase jump to 574 people. Skagway was next, gaining 48 people, or a 4.27% increase.