Fairbanks is a city located in Fairbanks North Star County, Alaska. With a 2020 population of 30,996, it is the 3rd largest city in Alaska (after Anchorage and Juneau) and the 1250th largest city in the United States. Fairbanks is currently declining at a rate of -0.83% annually and its population has decreased by -1.71% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 31,535 in 2010. Fairbanks reached it's highest population of 32,385 in 2013. Spanning over 33 miles, Fairbanks has a population density of 976 people per square mile.
The average household income in Fairbanks is $80,717 with a poverty rate of 11.52%. The median rental costs in recent years comes to $1,372 per month, and the median house value is $201,100. The median age in Fairbanks is 27.8 years, 26.9 years for males, and 29.1 years for females. For every 100 females there are 114.8 males.
Fairbanks serves as a borough seat for Fairbanks North Star Borough. Fairbanks is the largest city in the interior region of Alaska. Over 20% of people 25 years and older have at least a bachelor’s degree. Eighty-eight percent of the adult population has at least a high school diploma.
Fairbanks Population Growth
Fairbanks’ population from the 1930s experienced significant growth. In 1960, the city had over 13,000 residents. This number had more than doubled at the time of the 1990 census. However, the next poll showed a population loss of 2%. In 2010, however, the population grew again at a rate of over 4%. Current estimates indicate that the population is up nearly 4% since the last census was taken. This shows that while the city is still growing, it is not growing quite as rapidly as it was during its early history.
In its earliest years, the region that is now Fairbanks was used by the Athabascan tribe, although it was not settled permanently. Archaeological evidence shows that Native Americans were in the area approximately 3,500 years ago, and it has been determined that the tribes were using the region for seasonal fishing and hunting.
The city of Fairbanks was settled by the Europeans in the early 20th century when it was founded by Captain E. T. Barnette. It was named after the Republican senator Charles Fairbanks. A trading post was set up in the area by Barnette before local gold prospectors came to the city to build mines and dredges.
Agriculture played a significant role in the city’s first years, particularly in the Tanana Valley. In the 1930s, construction began on the Ladd Army Airfield, and major infrastructure was installed for the first time in the area. This led to significant growth in the population and the economy. The University of Alaska Fairbanks was also constructed and was the founding campus of the University of Alaska system. The Moose Creek Dam was constructed following a devastating flood that almost flooded all of Fairbanks.
Today, Fairbanks’ population only continues to grow. It is home to several minor league sports teams and boasts many attractions, restaurants, and businesses. It is also the site of the Yukon Quest international sled dog race. Growth has slowed since the 1990s, however, and this could be due to Fairbanks’ ranking as one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. for women and an overall crime rate that is higher than both the state and national averages.