When active adults consider where they want to retire, Alaska is probably not the top place they think of. However, those looking for many of the unique opportunities only offered in Alaska might think twice. With a population of about 730,000 people, Alaska is situated at the northwestern most point of North America. Bordered by the Canadian Yukon Territory, the Province of British Columbia and the Arctic and Pacific Oceans this state covers a vast array of scenic wonders. Alaska s beautiful natural surroundings, rich history and abundance of recreation and entertainment make it a great place for today s active adults.
Climate & Geography
The climate in Alaska varies depending on the region. The southeastern region offers an oceanic climate. Here, weather is generally mild in temperature with a lot of yearly precipitation. On an annual basis this region is both the wettest and warmest part of Alaska. Western Alaska offers a subarctic oceanic climate largely due to its proximity of the Bearing Sea and the Gulf of Alaska. This region varies in the amount of yearly precipitation as the northern side of the region often receives less than 10 inches while other parts such as Bethel, Alaska can get up to 100 inches annually. Interior Alaska is subarctic. Some of the highest and lowest temperatures occur here with summer days often reaching into the 90 s while daily temperatures during the winter months can plummet to negative 60. Precipitation in the interior is often less than 10 inches a year.
Alaska is the largest state in the United States in terms of land at 586,412 square miles. It also has a longer coastline than all the other states combined. The land consists of numerous types of terrain such as mountains, volcanoes, desert areas, and tundra. Alaskan active adults enjoy nature and the large open spaces which the federal government manages.
Recreation, Culture & Entertainment
Alaska became the 49th state in the U.S. in 1959. Before admission this area was known as the Alaskan Territory. The United States purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867 for $7.2 million or approximately two cents per acre. The economy in Alaska is dominated by the oil, natural gas and fishing industries while tourism is also a significant provider.
Some of the more famous events in Alaska are the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, the World Ice Art Championships, and the Anchorage Folk Festival. Hunting and fishing remain two of the most popular choices for recreation in the state.
Anchorage is the largest city in the state with an estimated population of about 300,000 residents. A majority of Alaska s active adult communities are in the area of Anchorage. The Alaskan Center for the Performing Arts is located in Anchorage and hosts nearly 245,000 visitors every year. Also located in Anchorage is the Alaska Museum of Natural History, the Alaska Native Heritage Center, and the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum. Many active adults are pleased that there are many not-for-profit organizations in Alaska. Active adults will have no problem staying busy exploring Alaska s rich history and culture.
Cost of Living & Taxes
Cost of living in Alaska is one of the highest in the country. Before the introduction of big-box stores such as Wal-Mart and Costco, active adults had to rely on mom and pop stores for virtually everything. Limited infrastructure for transportation to these stores made it hard to receive shipments of inventory, keeping prices of household goods at a high. Once the big-box stores were introduced prices on goods fell and became more affordable.
While the cost of living is high, Alaskan active adults enjoy the lowest individual tax burden in the country. While there is no state sales tax, many municipalities collect a local sales tax between 3% and 5%.
With approximately 1,813 active physicians, Alaska offers about 247 doctors per 100,000 people. There are 25 hospitals throughout the state offering excellent care. These hospitals hire most of the government employees in the state. With numerous hospitals and specialized medical centers active adults are never too far from medical attention they may need.