Immigrants in Alaska

October 13, 2017

Alaska has a sizable immigrant community, much of which hails from the Philippines. Nearly 8 percent of Alaskans were born in another country, while 9 percent are native-born Americans who have at least one immigrant parent. Foreign-born residents also represent vital shares of the state’s labor force in various sectors: 25 percent of workers in the manufacturing industry are immigrants, as are 21 percent in the finance and insurance industry. As workers, business owners, taxpayers, and neighbors, immigrants are an integral part of Alaska’s diverse and thriving communities and make extensive contributions that benefit all.

Nearly 8 percent of Alaska residents are immigrants, while more than 9 percent are native-born U.S. citizens with at least one immigrant parent.

  • In 2015, 58,544 immigrants (foreign-born individuals) comprised 7.9 percent of the state’s population.
  • Alaska was home to 30,118 women, 24,299 men, and 4,127 children who were immigrants.
  • The top countries of origin for immigrants were the Philippines (35.1 percent of immigrants), Mexico (7 percent), Korea (6.9 percent), Ukraine (4.2 percent), and Russia (4.1 percent).
  • In 2016, 65,150 people in Alaska (9.2 percent of the state’s population) were native-born Americans who had at least one immigrant parent.

Over half of all immigrants in Alaska are naturalized U.S. citizens.

  • 32,367 immigrants (55.3 percent) had naturalized as of 2015, and 14,457 immigrants were eligible to become naturalized U.S. citizens in 2015.
  • The vast majority of immigrants (84.2 percent) reported speaking English “well” or “very well.”

The majority of immigrants in Alaska have pursued education at or above the college level.

  • More than a quarter of adult immigrants had a college degree or more education in 2015, while less than a fifth had less than a high school diploma.

Education Level

Share (%) of All Immigrants

Share (%) of All Natives

College degree or more

26.6

30.1

Some college

32.9

36.0

High school diploma only

22.0

27.9

Less than a high-school diploma

18.6

6.1

Thousands of U.S. citizens in Alaska live with at least one family member who is undocumented.

  • 10,000 undocumented immigrants comprised 17 percent of the immigrant population and 1.3 percent of the total state population in 2014.
  • 9,353 people in Alaska, including 3,351 born in the United States, lived with at least one undocumented family member between 2010 and 2014.
  • During the same period, 1 percent of children in the state were U.S. citizens living with at least one undocumented family member (2,064 children in total).

Fewer than 100 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients live in Alaska.

  • 205 people in Alaska had applied for DACA as of 2017.
  • DACA recipients in Alaska paid an estimated $966,000 in state and local taxes in 2016.

Immigrants are vital to Alaska’s labor force across industries, accounting for more than one in nine workers in the state.

  • 43,041 immigrant workers comprised 11.4 percent of the labor force in 2015.
  • Immigrant workers were most numerous in the following industries:

Industry

Number of Immigrant Workers

Health Care and Social Assistance

8,973

Retail Trade

5,720

Accommodation and Food Services

5,103

Public Administration

4,931

Manufacturing

3,739

Analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 American Community Survey 1-year PUMS data by the American Immigration Council.

  • The largest shares of immigrant workers were in the following industries:

Industry

Immigrant Share (%)
(of all industry workers)

Manufacturing

25.6

Wholesale Trade

21.7

Finance and Insurance

20.9

Health Care and Social Assistance

14.7

Other Services (except Public Administration)

14.4

Analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 American Community Survey 1-year PUMS data by the American Immigration Council.

Immigrants are an important part of the Alaska workforce in a range of occupations.

  • In 2015, immigrant workers were most numerous in the following occupation groups:

Occupation Category

Number of Immigrant Workers

Office and Administrative Support

7,944

Building and Grounds Cleaning & Maintenance

4,989

Production

4,272

Food Preparation and Serving Related

3,771

Sales and Related

3,721

Analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 American Community Survey 1-year PUMS data by the American Immigration Council.

  • The largest shares of immigrant workers were in the following occupation groups:

Occupation Category

Immigrant Share (%)
(of all workers in occupation)

Production

26.5

Building and Grounds Cleaning & Maintenance

24.9

Healthcare Support

24.0

Food Preparation and Serving Related

14.8

Personal Care and Service

14.6

Analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 American Community Survey 1-year PUMS data by the American Immigration Council.

  • Undocumented immigrants comprised 1.9 percent of the state’s workforce in 2014.

Immigrants in Alaska have contributed hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes.

As consumers, immigrants add more than a billion dollars to Alaska’s economy each year.

  • Alaskans in immigrant-led households had $1.4 billion in spending power (after-tax income) in 2014.

Immigrant entrepreneurs represent more than 1 in 12 Alaskan business owners, generating millions of dollars in combined annual business revenue.

  • 3,510 immigrant business owners accounted for 8.3 percent of all self-employed Alaska residents in 2015 and generated $71.5 million in business income.

Most Read

  • Publications
  • Blog Posts
  • Past:
  • Trending