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It’s One Big Place

By Darold Peters
Most people don’t understand just how large Alaska really is. Being 1/5th the continental United States at 570,374 square miles, Alaska is more than twice the size of Texas, the 2nd largest state, and is larger than all but 18 of the countries in the world. There are more miles of coastline in Alaska than the rest of the U.S. combined.  If Alaska were superimposed over a map of the lower 48 (as you can see in the image), its western tip would sit in Sacramento, CA, its northern tip in Duluth, MN, and its eastern tip in Savannah, GA.

Unless you have lived here or spent time here, the shear size of Alaska can be difficult to grasp.

While Alaska is by far the largest state, it has the 4th lowest population (there are fewer people than in the country’s smallest state, Rhode Island). Approximately 65% of the land is owned by the federal government, with less than 1% being owned by private citizens.

To give you a better frame of reference, Washington’s King County at 2134 square miles (Seattle area) has a population density of 817 people per square mile and has 3 times the population of the state. Alaska has a population density of 1.09 people per square mile and Manhattan Island has an area of 22.96 square miles. This means that if Manhattan had the same population density as Alaska, there would only be 25 people living there instead of the 1.5+ million. Oh, and King county? There would be 2136 instead of the 1.8+ million people living there now.

Ketchikan to Sea-Tac – 680 miles.
Ketchikan to Kodiak – 807 miles.
Ketchikan to Eareckson Airstation (Shemya) – 2155 miles.
Ketchikan to Wiley Post Will Rogers Memorial airport (Barrow) – 1329 miles.
Ketchikan to St George Municipal in the Pribilov Islands (Deadliest Catch Port) – 1521 miles.

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