- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 31, 2015

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - The population continues to shrink in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, which lost the greatest number of residents in Alaska during a recent one-year period, according to the latest estimates.

The borough lost about 1,450 residents between July 2013 and July 2014, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner newspaper (https://is.gd/BU0v4p) reported. Those figures come from new population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Alaska’s total population dropped by an estimated 527 people, according to the figures, which were released last week.

Borough officials said it’s hard to pinpoint particular causes, but military reductions are a possible reason for part of the population decrease.

“We have a very transient community in the military that doesn’t often stay that long,” said borough community planning director Christine Nelson. “That can yield big ups and downs depending on what’s happening … military is a big part of our community, and it does have huge impacts.”

Most areas of Alaska either saw population decreases, or increases of less than 1 percent.

According to the census estimates, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough’s population grew by nearly 2,000 people - an increase of more than 2 percent.

Jim Dodson, president of the Fairbanks Economic Development Corp., attributed much of the growth in the Mat-Su area to the workforce in Anchorage and the expensive housing market in Anchorage. Fairbanks, far from other population centers, cannot take advantage of the same commuter economy.

“If you’re going to work in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, you’re going to live in the Fairbanks North Star Borough,” Dodson said.


Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, https://www.newsminer.com

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