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North Slope Borough, Alaska facts for kids

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North Slope Borough
Point Barrow Refuge Station
Point Barrow Refuge Station
Official seal of North Slope Borough
Map of Alaska highlighting North Slope Borough
Location within the U.S. state of Alaska
Map of the United States highlighting Alaska
Alaska's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Alaska
Incorporated July 2, 1972
Named for Alaska North Slope
Seat Utqiaġvik
Largest city Utqiaġvik
 • Total 94,796 sq mi (245,520 km2)
 • Land 88,695 sq mi (229,720 km2)
 • Water 6,101 sq mi (15,800 km2)  6.4%
 • Total 11,031
 • Estimate 
 • Density 0.116366/sq mi (0.0449290/km2)
Time zone UTC−9 (Alaska)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−8 (ADT)
Congressional district At-large
The North Slope of Alaska
The Anaktuvuk River flows North toward the Arctic Ocean. Much of the North Slope Borough is characterized by vast, uninhabited gently rolling tundra.

The North Slope Borough is the northernmost borough in the US state of Alaska. As of the 2020 census, the population was 11,031. The borough seat and largest city is Utqiaġvik (known as Barrow from 1901 to 2016), which is also the northernmost settlement in the United States.


The borough was established in 1972 by an election of the indigenous people in the region following Congressional passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. It was the first time that Native Americans had established a municipal government. The Borough had first-class status and exercised the powers of planning, zoning, taxation and schools. In 1974 it adopted a Home Rule Charter, enabling it to exercise any legitimate governmental power.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 94,796 square miles (245,520 km2), of which 88,695 square miles (229,720 km2) is land and 6,101 square miles (15,800 km2) (6.4%) is water. The borough is larger than 39 states.

Its western coastline is along the Chukchi Sea, while its eastern shores (beyond Point Barrow) are on the Beaufort Sea.

The North Slope Borough is the largest county-level political subdivision in the United States by area, with a larger land area than that of the state of Utah (UT is the 13th-largest state in the nation). Although the adjacent Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area is larger in area, it has no borough-level government. The borough is the fourth-least densely populated county-level entity in the United States. The Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area is the least densely populated county-level entity).

Adjacent boroughs and census areas

It shares its eastern border with Yukon, Canada, which has no subdivisions.

National protected areas

Map of northern Alaska showing location of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, (ANWR), and the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPRA).

Other federal areas

  • National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska


Historical population
Census Pop.
1960 2,133
1970 2,663 24.8%
1980 4,199 57.7%
1990 5,979 42.4%
2000 7,385 23.5%
2010 9,430 27.7%
2020 11,031 17.0%
2021 (est.) 11,219 19.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2018

As of the census of 2020, there were 11,031 people and 1,979 households in the borough. The population density was 0.12 inhabitants per square mile (0.046/km2). There were 2,631 housing units at an average density of 0.03 inhabitants per square mile (0.012/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 53.2% Native American or Alaska Native, 32.7% White, 4.3% Hispanic or Latino, 1.8% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 1.6% African American, and 5.3% were from two or more races. 4.6% of the population were veterans and 6.3% of the population was born outside of the United States. The average household size was 3.36 people. 7.9% of the population were under the age of 5, 26.8% were under the age of 18, 65.7% were between the ages of 18 and 64, and 7.5% were age 65 or older. 62.4% of the population were male and 37.6% were female. 86.2% of households contained a computer with 69.8% of households having a broadband Internet connection. 89.7% of the population had a high school diploma or higher with 16.5% having a Bachelor's degree or higher. 79.0% of the population were in the civilian labor force. (72.8% of women) The median household income was $79,306 with the average per capita income from May 2019 to April 2020 was $48,730. 11.4% of the population were in poverty.

As of the census of 2010, there were 9,430 people, 2,109 households, and 1,524 families residing in the borough. The population density was 12.03 square miles (31.2 km2) per person. There were 2,538 housing units at an average density of 35 square miles (91 km2) per unit. The racial makeup of the borough was 33.37% White, 1% Black or African American, 54.08% Native American, mostly Inuit, 4.51% Asian, 1.1% Pacific Islander, 0.71% from other races, and 5.23% from two or more races. 2.64% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race. 42.84% reported speaking Iñupiaq or "Eskimo" at home, while 4.21% reported speaking Tagalog.

As of the census of 2000, there were 7,385 people. The racial makeup was 17.09% White, 0.72% Black or African American, 68.38% Native American, mostly Inuit, 5.92% Asian, 0.84% Pacific Islander, 0.50% from other races, and 6.55% from two or more races. 2.37% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 2,109 households, out of which 48.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.3% were married couples living together, 18.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.70% were non-families. 21.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 1.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.45 and the average family size was 4.05.

In the borough, the population was spread out, with 38.2% under the age of 18, 9.50% from 18 to 24, 30.1% from 25 to 44, 18.10% from 45 to 64, and 4.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27 years. For every 100 females, there were 112.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 113.90 males.



Census-designated places

Other unincorporated places

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