These Are The 10 Most Miserable Cities In Alaska

We used science and data to determine which places in Alaska are the unhappiest of all.

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Do you live in one of the most miserable places in Alaska?

According to a Harris Poll taken in October of 2015, only a third of Americans say they are truly happy. That’s too bad, considering that Americans – especially folks in Alaska – don’t really have it too bad, in the grand scheme of things.

But, we were curious – which Alaska cities might be the most miserable? We’re about to find out, using science and data.

After analyzing the largest cities, we sadly present the most miserable cities in the Last Frontier:

  1. Barrow (Photos)
  2. Houston
  3. Dillingham
  4. Ketchikan (Photos)
  5. Kotzebue (Photos)
  6. Kenai (Photos)
  7. Big Lake
  8. Meadow Lakes
  9. Fairbanks (Photos)
  10. Ester

Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and how your town ranked. If you have a smile on your face, you probably don’t live in one of these cities.

Oh, and by the way, Farmers Loop is the happiest place in Alaska.

Or check out the Most Miserable Cities In America.

If you’re looking for something more positive, check out the best states in America or the best places to live in America.


How We Measured The Most Miserable Cities In Alaska

In order to rank the unhappiest places in Alaska, we had to determine what criteria makes people happy. It isn’t a stretch to assume that happy people earn great salaries, are relatively stress free, and have a stable home life.

So we went to the Census’s American Community Survey 2010-2014 report for the criteria, flipped the list, and it spit out the answer. Like magic.

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible:

  • Percentage of residents with a college degree
  • Average commute times
  • Unemployment rates
  • Cost of living
  • % of married couples
  • % of home owners
  • Poverty rate

After we decided on the criteria, we gathered the data for the 108 places in Alaska with over 2,000 people.

We then ranked each place from one to 31 for each of the seven criteria with a score of one being the most miserable (Any ties were given to the larger place).

Next, we averaged the seven rankings into a Miserable Index for each place with the lowest overall Miserable Index ‘earning’ the title ‘Most Miserable City In Alaska’.

If you’d like to see the complete list of states, most miserable to happiest, scroll to the bottom of this post to see the unabridged chart.


1. Barrow

Barrow, Alaska

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 4,296
People Who Own Their Home: 33.13%
Married Adults: 38.03%

2. Houston

Houston, Alaska

Source: Google Maps

Population: 2,058
People Who Own Their Home: 56.28%
Married Adults: 50.32%

3. Dillingham

Dillingham, Alaska

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 2,255
People Who Own Their Home: 38.1%
Married Adults: 43.57%

4. Ketchikan

Ketchikan, Alaska

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 8,173
People Who Own Their Home: 41.03%
Married Adults: 43.72%

5. Kotzebue

Kotzebue, Alaska

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 3,273
People Who Own Their Home: 38.07%
Married Adults: 44.34%

6. Kenai

Kenai, Alaska

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 7,348
People Who Own Their Home: 52.1%
Married Adults: 47.16%

7. Big Lake

Big Lake, Alaska

Source: Google Maps

Population: 3,959
People Who Own Their Home: 38.37%
Married Adults: 58.58%

8. Meadow Lakes

Meadow Lakes, Alaska

Source: Google Maps

Population: 7,139
People Who Own Their Home: 65.75%
Married Adults: 54.48%

9. Fairbanks

Fairbanks, Alaska

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 32,100
People Who Own Their Home: 32.46%
Married Adults: 44.92%

10. Ester

Ester, Alaska

Source: Google Maps

Population: 2,653
People Who Own Their Home: 45.77%
Married Adults: 39.87%

There You Have It

Like we said earlier, trying to determine the most miserable cities in {state} is usually a subjective matter. But if you’re analyzing cities where people are not stable, where you’re stuck in traffic, and no one spent the time to go to college, then this is an accurate list.

If you’re curious enough, here are the happiest cities in {state}, according to science:
For more Alaska reading , check out:

Detailed List Of Miserable Places In Alaska

City Rank People Who Own Their Home
Barrow 1 33.13%
Houston 2 56.28%
Dillingham 3 38.1%
Ketchikan 4 41.03%
Kotzebue 5 38.07%
Kenai 6 52.1%
Big Lake 7 38.37%
Meadow Lakes 8 65.75%
Fairbanks 9 32.46%
Ester 10 45.77%
Kodiak 11 47.27%
Anchor Point 12 59.35%
Bear Creek 13 60.89%
Homer 14 49.5%
Knik-Fairview 15 71.94%
Bethel 16 37.45%
Butte 17 75.9%
Seward 18 39.74%
Lakes 19 73.37%
College 20 53.65%
Fishhook 21 80.22%
Deltana 22 50.05%
Cordova 23 56.5%
Sterling 24 54.96%
Kalifornsky 25 62.67%
Badger 26 70.01%
Gateway 27 77.83%
Chena Ridge 28 59.45%
Goldstream 29 71.81%
Eielson Afb 30 1.08%
Farmers Loop 31 61.26%

About Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson earned his masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School At Claremont Graduate University. He has written for 39 publications across the country and ran the media relations department at Movoto, a real estate portal based in San Francisco. He has been featured in over 500 publications as an expert in real estate and as an authority on real estate trends.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 260,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.