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Newtok

Niugtaq
Newtok school in 1974
Newtok school in 1974
Location of Newtok, Alaska
Location of Newtok, Alaska
Coordinates: 60°56′40″N 164°38′39″W / 60.94444°N 164.64417°W / 60.94444; -164.64417Coordinates: 60°56′40″N 164°38′39″W / 60.94444°N 164.64417°W / 60.94444; -164.64417
Country United States
State Alaska
Census Area Bethel
Area
 • Total 1.45 sq mi (3.74 km2)
 • Land 1.33 sq mi (3.45 km2)
 • Water 0.11 sq mi (0.29 km2)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 209
 • Density 156.67/sq mi (60.51/km2)
Time zone UTC-9 (Alaska (AKST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-8 (AKDT)
ZIP code
99559
Area code(s) 907
FIPS code 02-53820

Newtok (Central Yupik: Niugtaq ) is a small village on the Ningliq River in the Bethel Census Area, Alaska, United States. At the 2010 census, the population was 354, up from 321 in 2000. Climate change is forcing the primarily Central Yup'ik Alaska Native village to consider relocation. Mertarvik is the destination of those leaving the village.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 1.1 square miles (2.8 km2), of which, 1.0 square mile (2.6 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (7.21%) is water.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1950 69
1960 129 87.0%
1970 114 −11.6%
1980 131 14.9%
1990 207 58.0%
2000 321 55.1%
2010 354 10.3%
2020 209 −41.0%
U.S. Decennial Census

Newtok first appeared on the 1950 U.S. Census as "Keyaluvik", an unincorporated native village. This was also the name of the earlier settlement just to the west, which became known as "Old Keyaluvik." In 1960, the name was changed to Newtok. Newtok formally incorporated in 1976, but disincorporated in 1997. It was then made a census-designated place (CDP), effective with the 2000 census.

Newtok 1974 001 (7344052476)
Houses in the south of Newtok, 1974

As of the census of 2000, there were 321 people, 63 households, and 51 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 313.1 people per square mile (120.3/km2). There were 67 housing units at an average density of 65.4/sq mi (25.1/km2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 3.12% White, 95.33% Native American, and 1.56% from two or more races.

There were 63 households, out of which 68.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.5% were married couples living together, 11.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 19.0% were non-families. 19.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and none had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 5.10 and the average family size was 5.96.

In the CDP, the population was spread out, with 45.2% under the age of 18, 10.0% from 18 to 24, 26.8% from 25 to 44, 14.3% from 45 to 64, and 3.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 21 years. For every 100 females, there were 118.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 112.0 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $32,188, and the median income for a family was $32,188. Males had a median income of $26,250 versus $15,625 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $9,514. About 29.8% of families and 31.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 38.9% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.

Relocation

Land has been acquired for a new townsite called Mertarvik on nearby Nelson Island about 9 miles (14 km) away, and $1 million in government funding has been obtained to build a dock for delivering building supplies.

As of 2016, although the town’s roughly 400 residents voted in 2003 to relocate to higher ground nine miles away, progress has been slow.

On December 24, 2016, the village made a disaster declaration request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for disaster assistance due to "flooding, persistent erosion, and permafrost degradation starting in January 1, 2006 and continuing." The request would "include relocation of the Yupik Tribe (population of ~350 people)."

Education

Lower Kuskokwim School District operates the Ayaprun School, K-12. As of 2018 the school has 128 students, 12 teachers, and 27 other employees. Its continuation is the Mertarvik Pioneer School.

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