Senior Statistics of Alaska

Last Updated on January 27, 2024 by Rachel

Introduction


Alaska, the largest state in the U.S., is known for its stunning natural landscapes and unique way of life. Its senior population, numbering 101,474 individuals, plays a vital role in the state’s demographics and cultural diversity. Let’s delve into the statistics and demographics of seniors in the Last Frontier.

Sex And Age

In Alaska, the senior population is quite evenly distributed between males and females, with 49.6% being male and 50.4% female. This balance in gender representation is consistent with the overall population of Alaska seniors. Comparatively, at the national level, seniors are also fairly evenly split between genders, with 44.8% being male and 55.2% being female. However, the median age of seniors in Alaska is 71.8 years, which is notably below the national median age of 73.3 years. This indicates that Alaska’s senior population is relatively younger compared to the United States as a whole.

SEX AND AGE Alaska 65 years and over United States 65 years and over
Male 49.6% 44.8%
Female 50.4% 55.2%
Median age (years) 71.8 73.3

Race And Hispanic or Latino Origin

When it comes to racial and ethnic composition, Alaska’s senior population reflects a unique demographic profile. The majority of seniors identify as white, constituting 73.4% of the senior population in the state, which is lower than the national average of 75.4%. Notably, Alaska has a significant representation of the American Indian and Alaska Native population among seniors, accounting for 9.7% of the senior demographic, significantly higher than the national average of 0.5%. While the state has a smaller proportion of Black or African American seniors (2.3%) compared to the national average (9.2%), it does have a slightly higher proportion of Asian seniors (6.7%) compared to the national average of 4.8%. The distinctive racial composition of Alaska’s senior population reflects its unique cultural diversity.

Relationship

In Alaska, the majority of seniors live in households, with 98,283 seniors in such arrangements. Among these, 90.8% are householders or spouses, indicating that many seniors in the state maintain traditional household structures. In terms of national data, 89.6% of seniors in the United States live as householders or spouses, closely mirroring the situation in Alaska. However, the state exhibits a slightly lower percentage of seniors who live with nonrelatives (2.8%) compared to the national average (3.4%). This suggests that seniors in Alaska might be less likely to cohabitate with nonrelatives.

Households By Type

Alaska’s senior population is primarily found in family households, with 57.3% residing in such settings. This is slightly higher than the national average of 54.7%. Among family households in Alaska, 45.8% are married-couple families, which exceeds the national average of 43.8%. Conversely, the proportion of female householders with no spouse present (8.0%) is slightly below the national average (8.2%). Alaska’s seniors may have a greater tendency to maintain marital relationships within family households.

Marital Status

In terms of marital status among seniors, Alaska exhibits some distinctions from the national data. 58.6% of seniors in Alaska are currently married, except separated, which surpasses the national average of 56.1%. However, the state has a lower percentage of widowed seniors (15.2%) compared to the national average of 20.9%. On the other hand, the divorced population in Alaska’s seniors is slightly higher (17.6%) compared to the national average (15.1%). Alaska’s senior population seems to have a stronger inclination towards maintaining married relationships and a lower likelihood of being widowed, but a somewhat higher likelihood of being divorced.

Educational Attainment

When it comes to educational attainment among seniors in Alaska, 7.2% have less than a high school diploma, which is significantly lower than the national average of 12.2%. Additionally, 26.9% of Alaska’s seniors have a high school diploma, GED, or alternative credential, compared to the national average of 29.7%. On the other hand, 35.8% have completed some college or hold an associate’s degree, surpassing the national average of 27.3%. Finally, Alaska’s seniors have 30.1% holding a bachelor’s degree or higher, which is nearly identical to the national average of 30.8%. This data indicates that Alaska’s senior population places a strong emphasis on pursuing higher education and attaining degrees, particularly at the associate’s degree level.

Responsibility For Grandchildren Under 18 Years

In Alaska, 6.2% of seniors are living with their grandchildren, and 1.9% of them are responsible for their care. Comparing this to the national data, we observe a slightly higher rate of living with grandchildren in Alaska (6.2%) compared to the national average (4.7%), suggesting that seniors in Alaska may be more likely to live with their grandchildren. Additionally, Alaska’s percentage of seniors responsible for grandchildren (1.9%) is slightly higher than the national average (1.1%), indicating a greater degree of responsibility for their well-being.

Veteran Status

A significant proportion of Alaska’s senior population are veterans, with 22.0% having served in the military. This percentage is notably higher than the national average of 13.8%. This reflects the strong military presence and history of service in Alaska. Comparatively, a larger percentage of seniors in Alaska have contributed to the nation’s defense.

Disability Status

Regarding disability status, 33.9% of Alaska’s senior population has a disability, slightly exceeding the national average of 33.1%. This suggests that Alaska’s seniors face somewhat higher rates of disability compared to the national average. Meanwhile, 66.1% do not have a disability, which is slightly lower than the national average of 66.9%.

Residence 1 Year Ago

A vast majority of Alaska’s seniors, 96.2%, remained in the same house as the previous year. This percentage is slightly higher than the national average of 94.1%. Alaska’s seniors exhibit a strong inclination to stay in their current residence, which could be influenced by the state’s unique geographic characteristics.

Place Of Birth, Nativity and Citizenship Status, And Year Of Entry

In terms of birthplace and nativity, Alaska’s senior population has a distinctive profile. The state has a higher proportion of native-born seniors, with 92.3% being native, compared to the national average of 86.8%. Alaska’s seniors also have a higher percentage of foreign-born individuals who entered the U.S. before 2000 (89.1%) compared to the national average of 82.6%. This suggests that Alaska’s senior population has a strong representation of long-term residents and a smaller percentage of recent immigrants.

Language Spoken at Home And Ability To Speak English

The majority of Alaska’s seniors (86.9%) speak English only at home, which is slightly higher than the national average of 84.5%. The state has a lower percentage of seniors who speak a language other than English at home (13.1%) compared to the national average of 15.5%. Moreover, only 5.5% of Alaska’s seniors speak English less than “very well,” which is significantly lower than the national average of 8.7%. These statistics highlight that English proficiency is higher among Alaska’s senior population.

Employment Status

Among Alaska’s seniors, 19.7% are in the labor force, slightly higher than the national average of 18.7%. Within the labor force, 18.8% are employed, which is very close to the national average of 18.1%. Alaska also has a slightly higher percentage of unemployed seniors, at 0.9%, compared to the national average of 0.6%. This indicates that a slightly higher proportion of seniors in Alaska remain engaged in the labor force.

Income In the Past 12 Months (In 2022 Inflation-Adjusted Dollars)

Alaska’s senior households demonstrate a higher mean income, with earnings averaging $67,975, surpassing the national mean of $73,402. Additionally, mean Social Security income in Alaska’s senior households is $22,484, which is slightly lower than the national mean of $24,325. This suggests that Alaska’s seniors may rely less on Social Security income. However, their mean retirement income in Alaska is $44,530, which exceeds the national mean of $33,933. These figures emphasize the strong importance of retirement income for seniors in Alaska.

Poverty Status in The Past 12 Months

Alaska’s seniors have a slightly lower poverty rate below 100 percent of the poverty level (10.2%) compared to the national average (10.9%). Conversely, Alaska’s seniors have a slightly higher poverty rate between 100 and 149 percent of the poverty level (8.3%) compared to the national average (8.5%). For seniors at or above 150 percent of the poverty level, Alaska’s rate (81.5%) is slightly higher than the national rate (80.6%). These figures suggest that seniors in Alaska experience relatively similar poverty dynamics to the national averages.

Housing Tenure

In Alaska, 81.1% of seniors reside in owner-occupied housing units, which is higher than the national average of 78.4%. On the other hand, the percentage of seniors residing in renter-occupied housing units (18.9%) is slightly lower than the national average of 21.6%. This indicates a strong preference for home ownership among seniors in Alaska.

Selected Monthly Owner Costs as A Percentage Of Household Income In The Past 12 Months

Alaska’s senior homeowners show a higher tendency to allocate less than 30% of their household income toward housing costs, with 78.7% falling in this category. This figure is slightly higher than the national average of 73.4%. Conversely, a lower percentage of seniors in Alaska allocate 30% or more of their income to housing costs (21.3%) compared to the national average of 26.6%. This reflects a higher degree of financial stability in terms of housing costs among Alaska’s seniors.

Gross Rent as A Percentage Of Household Income In The Past 12 Months

For senior renters in Alaska, 54.3% allocate less than 30% of their household income to rent, which is higher than the national average of 43.4%. Additionally, Alaska has a lower percentage of senior renters (45.7%) who allocate 30% or more of their income to rent, compared to the national average of 56.6%. This data indicates that senior renters in Alaska are more likely to experience financial stability regarding their housing costs.

Gross Rent

The median gross rent for senior renters in Alaska stands at $1,023, nearly matching the national median of $1,022. This suggests that housing costs for senior renters in Alaska closely align with the national average.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Alaska’s senior population presents unique characteristics and contrasts with the national senior demographics in various aspects. The data indicates that Alaska has a slightly younger senior population, with a higher proportion of males. The state boasts a more ethnically diverse senior population, particularly with a significant representation of American Indian and Alaska Native seniors.

Alaska’s seniors are also notable for their educational achievements, with a lower percentage having less than a high school diploma and a higher percentage attaining an associate’s degree. This highlights a strong commitment to higher education among Alaska’s senior population.

The responsibility for grandchildren under 18 years is notably higher in Alaska, with both living with and responsible for grandchildren exceeding national averages. A significantly higher percentage of Alaska’s seniors are veterans, underscoring the state’s military heritage.

Disability rates are slightly higher among Alaska’s seniors compared to the national average, suggesting potential challenges related to healthcare and support. The majority of Alaska’s seniors stay in the same house as the previous year, showcasing a strong attachment to their current residence.

The data regarding birthplace and nativity emphasizes a higher percentage of native-born seniors, highlighting the state’s unique demographic composition. English proficiency is also higher among Alaska’s seniors.

Seniors in Alaska maintain a slightly higher labor force participation rate compared to the national average. Alaska’s seniors report a higher mean retirement income but a lower mean Social Security income, suggesting differences in income sources.

Alaska’s seniors experience poverty dynamics relatively similar to national averages, and they exhibit a stronger preference for home ownership. Housing costs for both senior homeowners and renters align with or are slightly better than the national averages.

This analysis demonstrates that Alaska’s senior population exhibits a diverse range of characteristics and trends, influenced by the state’s distinct cultural and geographical factors. Understanding these demographics is essential for tailoring policies and services to meet the unique needs of seniors in the state of Alaska.