The population of people age 20 to 29 has steadily declined over the past seven years and is not expected to grow in the next 20, according to the Alaska Bureau of Labor Statistics.
UAA students face the unique challenge of deciding whether or not to stay in The Last Frontier after graduation.
Although future UAA graduates are split between leaving and remaining in the state, a recent report from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development is clear, Alaska’s population is declining.
According to the report, as a whole, the state’s population declined for the second year in a row. This is attributed to a decrease in the birth rate, an increase in residents leaving the state and an aging population.
Dylan Blankenship was born in Wyoming and moved to Barrow with his parents in fourth grade. He then moved to Germany for a few years and came back to the U.S. for school. He studies aviation technology and will graduate spring 2019.
“I had fun [in Alaska], but I want to go back to Germany. Nothing beats Alaska, it’s a gorgeous place, but I like international travel and that’s harder to do living in the states,” Blankenship said.
Although Alaska has the highest unemployment rate in the country at 6 percent, job opportunities after graduation are not always the largest concern.
Christian Marcale, a psychology major, moved to Alaska when he was five and will be graduating fall 2019.
“I think I have a lot of job opportunities here. It’s just growing up in Anchorage especially, I feel like I’m just too complacent. I kind of want to move out of the state, just to branch out,” Marcale said.
Many students at UAA expressed a unique affinity and appreciation for the state regardless of their decision to stay or leave after completing school.
Marina Schull, an accounting major, is graduating fall 2019 and was born in Alaska.
“I’m hoping to stay, I might move away for a couple years. I do think I want to come back eventually and stay. I can’t really imagine living anywhere else,” Schull said.
The Department of Labor and Workforce Development report can be viewed here: http://labor.alaska.gov/news/2019/news19-01_data.pdf