How big is Alaska?

How Big Is Alaska? A Visual Exploration of America’s Biggest State

Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area, spanning 586,412 square miles. To put it into perspective, Alaska is about twice as large as Texas and three times the size of California!

Alaska is larger than most countries in the world — if it were a country, it’d be the 33rd largest.

If you’re genuinely curious about the size of Alaska, this article will give you the visual perspective you’re likely missing.

Alaska Quick Facts

The name Alaska comes from the Aleut word “alaxsxaq” which means “the mainland” or literally, “that which the sea breaks against.”

Alaska geographically stands alone, completely apart from the continental United States. It’s only border is Canada and coastline.

Roughly 60% of Alaska is owned by the federal government, which leaves the remainder for private use. It has over 3,000 miles of coastline – more than all but four countries in the world!

Alaska was purchased from Russia by the United States in 1867 for $7.2 million ($123 million in today’s [2022] dollars) at about two cents per acre ($4.74/km²), payable in gold. It was admitted as the 49th state of the U.S. on January 3, 1959. 

The Population of Alaska

Approximately 724,000 people live in Alaska, making it the 4th smallest state by population.

  1. Wyoming (Population: 581,075)
  2. Vermont (Population: 623,251)
  3. District of Columbia (Population: 714,153)
  4. Alaska (Population: 724,357)

The capital city is Juneau, which has a population of approximately 32,000 people. By comparison (cities randomly selected), New York City has a population of 8.4 million and New Orleans has a population of 390,000.

More than 20 distinct languages are spoken in Alaska, making communication interesting in remote areas of the state.

Over 25% of the population live in Anchorage (293,000), which is Alaska’s major social hub.

6 Images That Provide Perspective on the Size of Alaska

#1 of 6: Visualize Alaska within Australia

The size of Alaska compared Australia
Alaska and Australia — overlapped

#2 of 6: Visualize Alaska and Earth

The size of Alaska compared Australia
Alaska on a map of Earth — it comprises of 0.34% of the globe

#3 of 6: Visualize Alaska and Europe

The size of Alaska compared Europe
Alaska could fit France, Spain, Germany and Italy within its borders

#4 of 6: Visualize Alaska on the Moon

The size of Alaska compared to moon
Alaska would constitute 4.54% of the moon’s surface — that’s incredible!

#5 of 6: Visualize Alaska and the New York Metropolitan Area

The size of Alaska compared to New York metropolitan area
The greater New York metropolitan area is only 0.70% the size of Alaska

#6 of 6: Visualize Alaska and the Continental United States

The size of Alaska compared to the US
If Alaska overlapped the continental United States, it would constitute 17.5% of its landmass

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How Big Is Alaska Actually? (Video)

"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."
-- Andre Gide

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