10 Worst Places To Live In Alaska For 2019


We used science and data to determine which Alaska places are the real pits.

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Editor’s Note: This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out we updated this article for 2019. This is our fifth time ranking the worst places to live in Alaska.

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You’d think that since practically every reality show on cable these days that isn’t about housewives is about Alaska that it would be one of the most amazing places on earth.

Actually, for the people who live there, it is. It’s tough, but they wouldn’t have it any other way. They choose the rough and rugged lifestyle, and have set themselves on a whole other scale when it comes to American grit and determination.

There’s no arguing that the state is breathtakingly beautiful.

But is it all good in The Last Frontier? Of course not. Just like every other state, Alaska has its least desirable spots. The purpose of this post is to use science and data to determine which places are the worst you could possibly live in if you make Alaska your home.

After analyzing 22 of the state’s most populous cities (over 2,100 people), we came up with this list as the 10 worst places to live in the state of Alaska:

Here are the 10 worst places to live in Alaska for 2019:

  1. Houston (Photos)
  2. Kenai (Photos)
  3. Kotzebue (Photos)
  4. Barrow (Photos)
  5. Wasilla (Photos)
  6. Bethel (Photos)
  7. Kodiak (Photos)
  8. Palmer (Photos)
  9. Wrangell (Photos)
  10. Soldotna (Photos)

What? Where are these places you wonder? And before you get all riled up and say we’re picking on small town America, that’s not the case.

We understand there’s a lot of good in every place.

However, according to data (which doesn’t measure things like beauty and ‘friendly people’), there are far better options in the state for making a place home. And the worst place to live in Alaska? That would be Houston.

Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2019.

If you’re looking for something more national, check out the worst cities in America or the worst states in America.

For more Alaska reading, check out:

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Alaska For 2019

Houston, AK

Source: Wikipedia
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 2,068
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $169,700 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 16.1% (1st worst)
More on Houston:  Data | Photos

Houston is also a pretty crummy place to live, when you look at the numbers. Yes, we’re aware that it’s beautiful and “fun”. But that ignores important things like jobs and income.

Houston residents earn the 1st-lowest salaries in the state. At $52,888 a year, people here most likely have a hard time getting ahead in life. And the average home costs are $169,700, which means there isn’t a lot of demand.

Crime is the 6th highest in Alaska per capita, and the unemployment rate here is 1st highest in the state, at 16.1%.

Kenai, AK

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 7,634
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $226,600 (11th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.3% (10th worst)
More on Kenai:  Data | Photos

Kenai is the largest city to make this list. Located on this same peninsula south of Anchorage, finding good medical care is also much harder than in other areas of the state. The unemployment rate is 9.3%, and crime is above average.

Kotzebue, AK

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 3,276
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $207,000 (7th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.9% (4th worst)
More on Kotzebue:  Data | Photos

Out of all the places to live in Alaska, Kotzebue ranks as the 3rd worst — not something to brag about.

Kotzebue’s unemployment rate stands at 11.9%. While the income levels out here are some of the lowest in the state. Residents earn a combined $88,047 a year in salaries. That’s not enough to really get ahead in life.

Additionally, the homes are the 7th cheapest in the entire state at $207,000. Again, some people like the cheap cost of living, but housing is priced on demand, and the fact is, there’s not a lot of demand to live way out in Kotzebue. Plus, what do you do for fun here anyway?

Crime is the 1st worst in the state. You have a 1 in 18.4 chance of being robbed here and a 1 in 27 chance of being attacked or raped. Yikes.

Barrow, AK

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 4,383
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $181,200 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.2% (2nd worst)
More on Barrow:  Data | Photos

Barrow, AK needs a big hug right now. The unemployment rate here is 14.2%, the median income is just above the poverty line, and the crime is the 5th highest in the state. You have a 1 in 21.1 chance of being robbed here every year.

You could find a much better place to call home.

Wasilla, AK

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 9,296
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $233,000 (13th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 12.2% (3rd worst)
More on Wasilla:  Data | Photos

Wasilla is just a tiny place in the middle of nowhere where people have a hard time making ends meet. Folks here earn barely more than $60,259 a year, which is barely over the poverty line. And for Alaska, a 12.2% unemployment rate is really high.

Crime is also the 6th highest in Alaska here. Meaning people need to stop breaking into homes and start looking for jobs.

Bethel, AK

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 6,408
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $267,100 (17th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.7% (6th worst)
More on Bethel:  Data | Photos

Would you believe that Bethel is the 16th most dangerous place in Alaska? That’s the case, as every year, you have a 1 in 85.4 chance of being the victim of a property crime when you’re within Bethel city limits.

In addition, every year, you have a 1 in 70 chance of being a victim of a violent crime in Bethel. That means raped, attacked or killed. Again, for Alaska, that’s just unacceptable.

Beyond the crime numbers, Bethel’s unemployment rate is the 6th highest in Alaska (9.7%), and homes are the 17th cheapest in the state ($267,100). Say what you want about ‘cheap living’, the fact is homes are priced on demand, and there’s not a lot of demand to live in Bethel.

Kodiak, AK

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 6,168
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $233,900 (14th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.8% (20th worst)
More on Kodiak:  Data | Photos

Kodiak is the 7th worst city in Alaska for 2019. When you’re comparing other cities to Kodiak, things just don’t look great, at least according to science.

Kodiak is the 11th most dangerous place in Alaska, according to FBI statistics. And the residents here have a hard time keeping a job — at least in comparison to the rest of the state. The unemployment rate is 4.8%, worse than the state average.

Home values are really low ($233,900), and residents earn just $69,868 a year.

Palmer, AK

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 6,773
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $198,500 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.8% (5th worst)
More on Palmer:  Data | Photos

There are some bad places to live and some really, really bad places to live. According to the data, Palmer is one of the worst places you can live in Alaska. And quite possibly, one of the worst places you can live in, period. Let’s see why.

We’re not economists, but when you have a 9.8% unemployment rate for a city of 6,773 people, that’s a sign that things aren’t just bad. They are downright depressing.

Wrangell, AK

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 2,475
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $194,000 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.0% (13th worst)
More on Wrangell:  Data | Photos

If, by some reason, you were driving through Wrangell, after stopping to ask for directions, you may have noticed that things aren’t so peachy keen here.

It’s tough out there for people to stay afloat when their income levels are so low ($56,094) and they can’t get good jobs (7.0% unemployment rate).

Wrangell ranks as the 9th wost place in Alaska.

Soldotna, AK

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 4,516
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $219,500 (10th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 7.3% (12th worst)
More on Soldotna:  Data | Photos

Located south of Anchorage, Soldotna has the 9th lowest income levels in the state of Alaska ($68,662), and some of the lowest number of doctors in the state. Crime is above average, and the unemployment rate is 7.3%.

How we determined the worst places to live in Alaska for 2019

To figure out how bad a place is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what cities have the least amount of those things.

We don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that people like the following things:

  • Good education
  • Lots of jobs
  • Low crime
  • Low poverty
  • Nice homes
  • High incomes
  • High population density (Lots of things to do)
  • Short work commutes
  • Health insurance

The data comes from the Census’s most recent American Community Survey and from the FBI Uniform Crime Report.

We broke crime down into violent crime and property crime to give violent crime a larger weight — if you did a simple calculation of all crimes per capita, property crimes are normally 7x more common and really bias that ranking.

Furthermore, only cities with at least 2,000 people were considered — leaving 22 cities.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 22 for all the criteria with a #1 ranking being the worst for the particular criteria.

Next, we averaged the rankings into one “Worst Place To Live Score”.

Finally, we ranked every city on the “Worst Place To Live Score” with the lowest score being the worst city in Alaska — Houston. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Alaska.

This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.

Wrapping Up The Worst In Alaska

If you’re looking at areas in Alaska with the worst economic situations, where there’s higher than average crime, and not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

And in the end, Houston ranks as the worst city to live in Alaska for 2019.

If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Alaska:

  1. Valdez (Pop. 3,921)
  2. Seward (Pop. 2,748)
  3. Cordova (Pop. 3,175)

For more Alaska reading, check out:

Where Are The Worst Places To Live In Alaska?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Houston 2,068 16.1% $169,700
2 Kenai 7,634 9.3% $226,600
3 Kotzebue 3,276 11.9% $207,000
4 Barrow 4,383 14.2% $181,200
5 Wasilla 9,296 12.2% $233,000
6 Bethel 6,408 9.7% $267,100
7 Kodiak 6,168 4.8% $233,900
8 Palmer 6,773 9.8% $198,500
9 Wrangell 2,475 7.0% $194,000
10 Soldotna 4,516 7.3% $219,500

13 thoughts on “10 Worst Places To Live In Alaska For 2019

  1. This is the most idiotic article I have ever read. It maybe based on “data”, but the author has no idea what he is talking about and no clue about Alaska.

  2. I don’t understand how Nome didn’t make this list! But concur wholeheartedly on Homer’s inclusion. Other residents who disagree are clueless at best, complicit perps at worst. There is no reality in “Reality” Shows. Homer is a retirement community for oilfield executives, military, and corrupt politicians. Thus representing a pustulent cancer on the face of all creation. Proud to bomb 3rd world countries back to the stone age for profit.

  3. i disagree with your article. Soldotna boasts a hospital that includes a new oncology unit. We have plenty of doctors. We may not have many indoor venues but we live the outdoors and live an active lifestyle year round. Most of the crime here is petty property crimes unlike that in Anchorage, Wasilla and Fairbanks. I think you should rerun your numbers minus the property density category. That causes an unfair bias to the stats.

  4. Like Bethel is definitely the worst place to live, people there just have stds all the time. And the common sense they have, well they don’t have any they will just mess up there lives all the time. And there are no trees which makes it boring as the Lords existence.

  5. Dont know about the rest of these places but how is barrow not on this? seriously unless your indian your not welcome, they dont want you, could care less of you, and because asrc and nsb pay all the bills (who get paid by the government) they could care less about fixing anything or making anything better, all outsiders come and say hey if we do this, that or invest in this, would make life so much more easier, all you get in return is a stern get out, the “so called inuit values” are thrown in your face constantly but only followed if it suits them other 98% its ignored if it goes against what they want to do. if the companies there would run like they do anywhere else they would go out of of service within a week. the only successful places are ran by outsiders, and they are always under constant social attack, it is the same over and over, they run the place, going under bring in outsider, gets fixed, they make them leave, put another indian in charge, they go under just repeat after repeat.

  6. More proof that algorithms are opinions expressed through math and given a scientistic halo with a dodge for accountability-“hey the computer says it, not me!”
    Might as well have said Alaska is nowhere like the rest of the United States’ coastal bands of high density population. Crime is Mayberry compared to even Seattle. The cold keeps most of the weaklings and complainers away. The high cost of living levels people out, although the medical, telecom and oil people live high on the hog at everyone’s expense. And when global warming hits harder we are the refuge.

  7. Don’t know how Anchorage did not make the list. Drunk people passed out everywhere and panhandlers on just about every street corner. The police don’t want anything to do with the drunks. Anchorage hires a civilian security company to round them up and throw them into a makeshift jail each night then let them out in the morning when they sober up. I lived in Anchorage between 2007-2011. I literally had to step over drunk people in the morning to get to the bus stop and I lived in mid-town Anchorage which isn’t even the worst place. The city officials spruce up Anchorage in the summertime by hanging pretty flowers on the streetlights so the cruise ship people will come ashore and spend money but any other time Anchorage is a dump. Cars broken into all the time. The only reason most people do not leave Anchorage is because of the PFD (Permanent Fund Dividend). The PFD is where they pay their citizens money each year not to leave the Alaska. Were it not for the PFD, Anchorage and most of Alaska would be a ghost town.

  8. Petersburg would be best in summer..Love prevails..even in winter with cabin fever setting in some locals will be friends and crab season starts around Valentines day..if you are willing to work this rocks..make like 20 trillion friends in 2 days…Devils thumb mountain on mainland so we just flip finger back..island is also known as little Norway though it is actually Mitkoff island Russia so best of all worlds and hell yeah I seen that..You have Kuprenoff island to the west with friends and boats and just all is cool..it is heaven on earth it is..smells like fish coming in..but wait till you see what she has..Petersburg/Mitkoff rock for best…..Sandy beach man…

  9. Petersburg would be best in summer..Love prevails..even in winter with cabin fever setting in some locals will be friends and crab season starts around Valentines day..if you are willing to work this rocks..make like 20 trillion friends in 2 days…Devils thumb mountain on mainland so we just flip finger back..island is also known as little Norway though it is actually Mitkoff island Russia so best of all worlds and hell yeah I seen that..You have Kuprenoff island to the west with friends and boats and just all is cool..it is heaven on earth it is..smells like fish coming in..but wait till you see what she has..Petersburg/Mitkoff rock for best…..Sandy beach man…

  10. I moved from Anchorage to Wasilla last year, and boy was that the worst decision I’ve ever made. The people here are awful, the “oh so wonderful” nonprofit organizations are filled with thieves, businesses are seriously unreliable. If you’re considering moving here, don’t! I’m moving far away from here ASAP.

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