Migration Data and Information

Migration data for Alaska come from three main sources, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. This means that each source is an indicator of migration, but none provides a complete system to directly track it.

To view the official estimates of annual net migration for Alaska and its regions, boroughs, and census areas, go to our Population Estimates page and see “Components of Change.”

Alaska Economic Trends articles about migration

PFD-Based Migration Indicator Data

Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD)-based migration data have broad in-state coverage but lag on new migrants from outside the state, because new migrants aren’t eligible for the PFD until they’ve lived in Alaska for one calendar year. Similarly, PFD data do not capture people who don’t live here long enough to qualify for a PFD. Maps of these data are available on our Maps & GIS page.

IRS-Based Migration Indicator Data

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)-based migration data provide direct counts of moves between U.S. counties, boroughs, and census areas by comparing the addresses of exemptions — that is, filers and their dependents — from year to year. However, they only cover about 85 percent of Alaska’s population, with particularly low coverage in low-income areas, and values below 10 are suppressed.

ACS-Based Migration (“Geographic Mobility”) Data

The U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) data provides information about migrants. However, ACS is based on a very small sample of the population and tends to have large margins of error. For most areas in Alaska, ACS data is only available in five-year averages. ACS data are available on our ACS page, U.S. Census Bureau’s American FactFinder, and the U.S. Census Bureau’s Geographic Mobility/Migration page.