Alaska derived its name from “Alyeska,”an Aleut native term which means "The Great Land." In 1867, Alaska was purchased from Russia for $7.2 million, but it was not until 1959 when this "Land of the Midnight Sun" covered with forests and glaciers became the 49th state. Alaska is the largest state and covers 571,951 square miles, with a 2015 estimated population of 738,432 people – 239,011 living in rural Alaska (USDA-ERS). Juneau, the capital, is located in the southeastern coastal region of the state. The state’s largest cities are Anchorage, Juneau and Fairbanks. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 66.5% of the state’s population is white, 14.8% is Alaskan Native/American Indian, 6.3% is Asian, 3.9% is African-American/Black, and 7.0% is of Hispanic/Latino origin (U.S. Census, 2015).
Alaska Rural Healthcare Facilities
There are 22 hospitals in Alaska (Kaiser, 2014), 17 of which are located in rural areas (North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center, Dec. 2008). The state has 13 hospitals identified as Critical Access Hospitals (Flex Team, 12/2015). There are zero Rural Health Clinics in Alaska (Alaska SORH), and 28 Federally Qualified Health Centers provide services at 166 sites in the state (NACHC, 2014).
Selected Social Determinants of Health for Rural Alaska
Most Alaskans have some form of health insurance coverage, although 14% of its residents lack health insurance (Kaiser, 2014). According to the USDA Economic Research Service, the average per-capita income for Alaskans in 2014 was $54,012, although rural per-capita income lagged at $49,721. The ERS reports, based on 2010-2014 ACS data, that the poverty rate in rural Alaska is 13.2%, compared with 8.6% in urban areas of the state. 10.0% of the rural population has not completed high school, while 7.3% of the urban population lacks a high school diploma according to 2010-2014 ACS data reported by ERS. The unemployment rate in rural Alaska is at 8.4%, while in urban Alaska it is at 5.6% (USDA-ERS, 2015).For a national comparison, please see an overview of the United States.
Alaska State Office of Rural Health; Flex Monitoring Team: Critical Access Hospital List; Kaiser Family Foundation State Health Facts; National Association of Community Health Centers: Key Health Center Data By State; U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts; USDA Economic Research Service: State Fact Sheets
Collects and disseminates rural health care information and data; is engaged in health care provider recruitment and retention; provides technical assistance to rural providers, hospital and communities; and coordinates rural health policy analysis.
There are more organizations related to Alaska in the organizations section.