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Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Alaska facts for kids

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Matanuska-Susitna Borough
Ruth Glacier
Map of Alaska highlighting Matanuska-Susitna Borough
Location within the U.S. state of Alaska
Map of the United States highlighting Alaska
Alaska's location within the U.S.
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Country  United States
State  Alaska
Incorporated January 1, 1964
Seat Palmer
Largest CDP Knik-Fairview
 • Total 25,258 sq mi (65,420 km2)
 • Land 24,608 sq mi (63,730 km2)
 • Water 650 sq mi (1,700 km2)  2.6%%
 • Total 107,801
 • Density 4.26799/sq mi (1.64788/km2)
Time zone UTC−9 (Alaska)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−8 (ADT)
Congressional district At-large

Matanuska-Susitna Borough (often referred to as the Mat-Su Borough; Russian: Матануска-Суситна) is a borough located in the U.S. state of Alaska. Its county seat is Palmer, and the largest community is the census-designated place of Knik-Fairview.

The borough is part of the Anchorage Metropolitan Statistical Area, along with the municipality of Anchorage on its south.

The Mat-Su Borough is so designated because it contains the entire Matanuska and Susitna rivers. These rivers empty into Cook Inlet, which is the southern border of the Mat-Su Borough. This area is one of the few agricultural areas of Alaska.


Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Alaska
Mount Bradley in Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Alaska, 2014.

The borough seat is Palmer, and the largest community is the census designated-place of Knik-Fairview, Alaska.

As of the 2010 census, the population was 88,995.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 25,258 square miles (65,420 km2), of which 24,608 square miles (63,730 km2) is land and 650 square miles (1,700 km2) (2.6%) is water.

Adjacent boroughs and census areas

National protected areas in the borough

  • Chugach National Forest (part)
  • Denali National Park and Preserve (part)
    • Denali Wilderness (part)
  • Lake Clark National Park and Preserve (part)
    • Lake Clark Wilderness (part)


Historical population
Census Pop.
1960 5,188
1970 6,509 25.5%
1980 17,816 173.7%
1990 39,683 122.7%
2000 59,322 49.5%
2010 88,995 50.0%
2020 107,081 20.3%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2020

As of the census of 2000, there were 59,322 people, 20,556 households, and 15,046 families residing in the borough. The population density was 2 people per square mile (1/km2). There were 27,329 housing units at an average density of 1 per square mile (0/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 87.55% White, 0.69% Black or African American, 5.50% Native American, 0.70% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 0.86% from other races, and 4.57% from two or more races. 2.50% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 20,556 households, out of which 42.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.90% were married couples living together, 9.10% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.80% were non-families. 20.30% of all households were made up of individuals, and 4.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.84 and the average family size was 3.29.

In the borough the population was spread out, with 32.20% under the age of 18, 7.40% from 18 to 24, 31.10% from 25 to 44, 23.40% from 45 to 64, and 5.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 108.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 108.10 males.

Schools in the borough are administered by the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District.

Politics and government

The midway area of the Alaska State Fair, held annually in Palmer during late August and early September.

Matanuska-Susitna Borough was the most populous of fifteen county-equivalents in America carried by Ross Perot in the 1992 presidential election; apart from that Republicans have carried the borough in every election since 1968.

Vern Halter is the mayor of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. The borough has a strong manager form of government. John Moosey is the borough manager. Long-time Manager John Duffy retired in 2010.

Sarah Palin was previously the mayor of Wasilla, the largest city in the borough.



Census-designated places

Other locations

Trimble Glacier 3
A freshwater pond on Trimble Glacier, in the Tordrillo Mountains, in the far south-west of Mat-Su Borough
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