Cost of Living in Alaska

Q. Pretty much the same question was asked by Aaron, Karl and Tom, so I’ll answer them together. Is it generally more expensive to live in Alaska? Does it take more dollars to survive? Are all goods shipped in? What are some prices? What percentage of jobs are service related, manual labor, professional, tourism?

A. Yes, it is generally more expensive to live up here, but you have to factor in the higher wages also. When we moved here in 1971 from Alice, Texas, my husband was making $6.00 an hour. We arrived up here and within one week he was on a job for $18.00/hour, so even though things were higher, we still were better off.

A really good website to look at is the cost of living calculator. You can enter what your wage is now and where you are living, then put in the city you want to move to and it will give you what you need to make in the new place in order to survive. The site is www.homefair.com/homefair/calc/salcalc.html

You can check on presently available jobs, and other information at www.jobs.state.ak.us It is a pretty informative website.

I saw some figures that said that to feed a family of four in Portland, Ore. it takes $94.00a week – and up here, it would take $104. to 125.00 a week. Of course that is variable. Some families are big eaters, others moderate. Some eat steak, some eat weiners! So who really knows? I just know that our family has eaten better up here than we ever did in Texas – probably due to the readily available fish, and wild meat. Also, our long light summers are conducive to wonderful gardens. Roots crops grow especially well here. When the potato picking machines have finished going thru the fields, the general public can ‘glean’ the fields and it is easy to pick up enough free potatoes to feed your family all winter. We have done it several times.

I believe currently you would find these prices in the grocery store. Milk 4.69 gallon; eggs 1.79; bread from 1.79 to 3.00 depending on the kind; bananas about .99/lb and gasoline is around $2.79. (hope that goes down soon because we drive more distance up here.) There are usually good sales here and there though, so if you have a mind to save on groceries, you can.

A lot of what we use is trucked or shipped in, which accounts for the higher prices, but with the higher wages here, most families adjust just fine. Hope this helps. -Bonnie J.

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