Why Move To Alaska?
Some people would wonder why anyone would want to move to a state that has a reputation for being cold, isolated, and expensive. Others see Alaska’s reputation as “The Last Frontier” and high-paying jobs in the oil-fields and other jobs as its greatest draw. Still others fall in love with Alaska’s natural beauty, vast stretches of unspoiled wilderness, and many opportunities for outdoor recreation. Others move to take advantage of the “Permanent Fund” payments or oil-field & fishing jobs.
Moving To Alaska
There are many great reasons to relocate to Alaska, but there is also a lot to consider before making a move. Alaska is far from the mainland United States, so both the move itself and traveling between Alaska and the continental US can be expensive.
Driving to Alaska means a trip on the 1,387 mile long Alaska Highway, which runs through some very isolated areas of Canada, while flights can cost upwards of $400. For these reasons, it is best to have a job, or several months of living expenses, and housing arranged before making the move. Most people find that the easiest way to move their belongings is to pack them and have them shipped to their new home.
Living in Alaska
Alaska’s stable economy and low taxes are a big draw for many people. The state has had steady job growth for the past 20-plus years, something that few American cities can offer now. It also has no state sales tax, one of the lowest income tax rates in the US, and permanent residents are paid $800+ (recent payments have been around $2000 per person) from the state’s Permanent Fund Dividend each year. The cost of living is around 10% higher than in most of the mainland US, and more than that in the most rural or isolated areas, but many residents find this a fair trade, because salaries in most industries are higher as well.
The weather is one of the biggest considerations. While some parts of Alaska, especially the Southeast, have reactively mild winters, other parts can be very frigid for much of the year. There are also shorter days and less daylight in winter, which can be depressing, and lots of precipitation in the form of both snow and rain. You will most likely need a 4-wheel drive or AWD vehicle and will need to learn to drive safely in snow and ice.
Renting in Alaska
The costs of living in Alaska can vary. Housing options range from rustic cabins to trendy condos and multi-million dollar homes, and rental options are just as diverse. Rentals in major cities are more expensive, but there are many commuter cities about 20-30 miles out that offer lower rents and commutes with light traffic. The housing market is stable and Alaska has a strong Landlord and Tenant Act in place.