The Interior includes a vast section of Alaska’s heartland, crisscrossed by huge rivers and bounded by the Alaska Range to the south, and the Alaska Range to the north. Fairbanks, the largest city in the region and the second largest in the state, is connected by the road system to Canada, Prudhoe Bay, and Southcentral Alaska. Fairbanks is also home to an international airport and is the northern terminus of the Alaska Railroad System.
The predominant Alaska Native people are the Tanana Athabascan. Military bases, the University of Alaska, mining, oil and gas, and the visitor industry all have a major presence in the region. Home to Denali, the highest peak in North America and centerpiece of Denali National Park, and smack in the center of the Aurora Belt, the Interior is a major tourist destination.
Mining is king in interior Alaska. The Kinross Fort Knox gold mine, 25 miles northeast of Fairbanks, is the largest gold producer in Alaska, while Northern Star’s Pogo Mine 85 miles to the southeast is the eighth largest gold producer in the nation. Usibelli Coal Mine near Healy is the only operating coal mine in Alaska, and powers about 40 percent of the region. Other substantial employment sectors are education and health, retail trade, and accommodation and food services.
Population Estimate: 111,214
Average Annual Wage: $41,494
Average Unemployment Rate: 6.8%
Total Employment: 42,107
Local Businesses: 2,630
K-12 Schools: 98
Average summer high: 68 to 72 degrees
Average winter high: 0 to 8 degrees
Hours of light in June: 20
Hours of light in December: 5