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Danzhit Khànląįį
Early 20th century view of Circle City, as a sled dog team prepares to leave for Fort Gibbon with the mail.
Early 20th century view of Circle City, as a sled dog team prepares to leave for Fort Gibbon with the mail.
Location of Circle, Alaska
Location of Circle, Alaska
Country United States
State Alaska
Census Area Yukon-Koyukuk
 • Total 106.58 sq mi (276.04 km2)
 • Land 106.04 sq mi (274.64 km2)
 • Water 0.54 sq mi (1.40 km2)
 • Total 91
 • Density 0.86/sq mi (0.33/km2)
Time zone UTC-9 (Alaska (AKST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-8 (AKDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 907
FIPS code 02-14880

Circle (also called Circle City; Gwichʼin: Danzhit Khànląįį) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, Alaska, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 104, up from 100 in 2000.

Circle is 160 mi (260 km) northeast of Fairbanks at the end of the Steese Highway. Circle was named by miners in the late 19th century who believed that the town was on the Arctic Circle, but the Arctic Circle is about 50 mi (80 km) north of Circle.

Every February, Circle City hosts a checkpoint for the long-distance Yukon Quest sled dog race.

Many of the events in John McPhee's 1976 non-fiction book Coming into the Country occur in Circle.

In Truman Capote's non-fiction book In Cold Blood, Perry Edward Smith mentions spending time with his father in Circle City.


Circle is located at 65°50′4″N 144°4′35″W / 65.83444°N 144.07639°W / 65.83444; -144.07639 (65.834464, -144.076392).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 108.2 square miles (280 km2), of which 107.7 square miles (279 km2) is land and 0.5 square miles (1.3 km2) (0.50%) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 242
1910 144 −40.5%
1920 96 −33.3%
1930 50 −47.9%
1940 98 96.0%
1950 83 −15.3%
1960 41 −50.6%
1970 54 31.7%
1980 81 50.0%
1990 73 −9.9%
2000 100 37.0%
2010 104 4.0%
2020 91 −12.5%
U.S. Decennial Census

Circle first appeared on the 1900 U.S. Census as "Circle City," although it was an unincorporated village. Its name was shortened to Circle for the 1910 census. It was made a census-designated place in 1980.

At the 2000 census, there were 100 people, 34 households and 22 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 0.9 per square mile (0.4/km2). There were 42 housing units at an average density of 0.4 per square mile (0.2/km2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 14.00% White, 76.00% Native American, 1.00% from other races, and 9.00% from two or more races. 4.00% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 34 households, of which 29.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 11.8% were married couples living together, 32.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.4% were non-families. 23.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 5.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.94 and the average family size was 3.48.

29.0% of the population was under the age of 18, 10.0% from 18 to 24, 27.0% from 25 to 44, 30.0% from 45 to 64, and 4.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 100.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 115.2 males.

The median household income was $11,667, and the median family income was $11,250. Males had a median income of $0 versus $23,750 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $6,426. There were 50.0% of families and 42.0% of the population living below the poverty line, including 57.9% of under eighteens and none of those over 64.


Circle was established in 1893 when gold was discovered in Birch Creek; it served as an unloading point for supplies shipped up the Yukon River from the Bering Sea. The goods were sent overland to gold mining camps. In 1896, before the Klondike Gold Rush, Circle was the largest mining town on the Yukon River and had a population of 700. It had a store, a few dance halls, an opera house, a library, a school, a hospital, an American Episcopal church, a newspaper, a mill, and several federal officials: United States commissioner, marshal, customs inspector, tax collector and a postmaster.

Circle lost much of its population after gold discoveries in the Klondike in 1897, and Nome in 1899. A few miners stayed near Circle. Mining in the area has continued into the 21st century. Most of the residents of Circle today are Athabascan.

Panorama of Circle, Alaska, 1899
Panoramic view of Circle's main street, September 1899.
Circle Alaska panorama
Panoramic view of Circle, Alaska, on August 6, 2008. At far right is the Yukon River.


Yukon Flats School District operates the Circle School.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Circle (Alaska) para niños

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