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FAIRBANKS (AP) — Alaska’s population declined for the first time since the late 1980s, according to recent figures from Alaska’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
The department published the statistics for 2017 in the March edition of Alaska Economic Trends.
Figures show the state’s population decreased by 8,900 last year, the fifth year in a row of net migration losses, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported .
“This represents the longest streak of Alaska losing more migrants than it gains since World War II, when yearly numbers first became available,” according to the report.
The Fairbanks North Star Borough’s population fell by 1,216 in 2017. The borough had a natural increase (birth rate) of 1,118 last year. But a decrease of 2,334 in net migration (in-migration minus out-migration) means the borough’s population decreased.
Demographers do expect the borough’s population to grow, thanks to the arrival of F-35s at Eielson Air Force Base, according to the report.
Within the state, 699 people left Fairbanks for Anchorage, while 475 moved the opposite direction.
Alaska’s birthrate had more than offset a migration loss of 29,000 people over five years, keeping the total population growing. But last year, birth rates fell and death rates increased, tipping the scale toward a population decrease of 0.4 percent.
The prolonged net migration loss is “a sure indicator of tough economic times,” according to the report.
The report can be viewed at labor.alaska.gov/trends/mar18.pdf .