In September 2008, the superintendent of the Anchorage School District and the mayor of
Anchorage sent a letter to the governor of Alaska, reporting what they thought might be an influx
of students into Anchorage from rural communities. Enrollment in the school district was higher
than expected, and it coincided with the largest-ever Alaska Permanent Fund dividend and with a
one-time payment of $1,200 the state made per person, to help offset high energy costs.
Researchers at the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) at UAA have a
longstanding interest in migration patterns in Alaska and the Arctic, and they saw the increased
enrollment in Anchorage schools as a potential opportunity to better understand:
• If rural Alaskans are moving to Anchorage
• Where they are coming from
• Why they are moving
So with the cooperation of the Anchorage School District, ISER conducted a survey of the
parents or guardians of students who had enrolled in Anchorage in the 2007-2008 or 2008-2009
school years and who had transferred in from other Alaska school districts.
Besides finding out where students were coming from—and why—another purpose of the study
was to provide the Anchorage School District and the Municipality of Anchorage with
information about what they could do to help students and families who are new to the city. To
our knowledge, this may be the first survey ever conducted to find out why people move to
Anchorage from other areas of Alaska.
Table of Contents
Executive Summary / Introduction / Methods / Where are Alaskan's Moving From? / Organization of Survey Findings / Migration Patterns / Who is Moving? / Challenges and Transitions / Conclusions and Recommendations / References / Appendix A. Survey Form
Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage
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