Anchorage (officially called the Municipality of Anchorage) is in the southcentral part of the U.S. state of Alaska. It is the northernmost major city in the United States.
With 291,826 residents in 2010, it is Alaska's largest city and has more than 40 percent of the state's total population. Only New York has a higher percentage of city dwellers.
In 1867, U. S. Secretary of State William H. Seward brokered a deal to purchase Alaska from a debt-ridden Imperial Russia for $7.2 million at the rate of about two cents an acre. The city grew from the site, in 1914, of a railroad construction port for the Alaska Engineering Commission. Construction of the railroad, to be known as the Alaska Railroad, continued until its completion in 1923.The city's economy in the 1920s and 1930s centered on the constructed railroad.Between the 1930s and the 1950s, the city experienced massive growth as air transportation and the military became increasingly important. In 1968, oil was discovered in Prudhoe Bay, encouraging further growth.The city continued to grow in the 1980s, with capital projects and an aggressive beautification campaign.
Anchorage is located in Southcentral Alaska at 61 degrees North. The city is on a strip of coastal lowland and extends up the lower alpine slopes of the Chugach Mountains.The city's seacoast consists mostly of dangerous mudflats. Newcomers and tourists are warned not to walk in this area because of sudden tidal changes and the very fine glacial silt.
According to the US Census Bureau, the municipality has a total area of 1,961.1 square miles (5,079.2 km²); 1,697.2 square miles (4,395.8 km²) of which is land and 263.9 square miles (683.4 km²) of it is water. The total area is 13.46% water.Boroughs and census areas adjacent to the Municipality of Anchorage are Matanuska-Susitna Borough to the north, Kenai Peninsula Borough to the south and Valdez-Cordova Census Area to the east. The Chugach National Forest, a national protected area, extends into the southern part of the municipality.
As of the 2005–2007 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, White Americans made up 69.8% of Anchorage's population, the rest being divided among other ethnicities.
Anchorage's largest economic sectors include transportation, military, municipal, state and federal government, tourism, corporate headquarters (including regional headquarters for multinational corporations) and resource extraction. Large portions of the local economy depend on Anchorage's geographical location and surrounding natural resources.With one notable exception of a real estate-related crash in the mid to late 1980s, which saw the failure of numerous financial institutions,it is relatively unaffected by national economic downturns.
The Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (TSAIA) is the world's third busiest airport for cargo traffic. This traffic is strongly linked to Anchorage's location along "great circle" routes between Asia and the lower 48. In addition, the airport has an abundant supply of jet fuel from in-state refineries located in North Pole and Kenai.The United States military used to have two large installations, Elmendorf Air Force Base and Fort Richardson, which originally stemmed from the branching off of the U.S. Air Force from the U.S. Army following World War II. In a cost cutting effort initiated by the 2005 BRAC proceedings, the bases were combined. JBER was created, which also incorporated Kulis Air National Guard Base near TSAIA.While Juneau is the official state capital of Alaska, there are actually more state employees who reside in the Anchorage area.The resource sector, mainly petroleum, is arguably Anchorage's most visible industry, with many high rises bearing the logos of large multinationals such as BP and ConocoPhillips.Four small airlines, Alaska Central Express, Era Aviation, Hageland Aviation Services, and PenAir, are headquartered in Anchorage.
Anchorage has been named All-America City four times by the National Civic League. It has also been named by Kiplinger as the most tax friendly city in the United States; it does not levy a sales tax. It does, however, charge a 12% bed tax and an 8% tax on car rentals.