Southwest Alaska spans some of the greatest distances in Alaska, ranging from Attu Island in the far west of the Aleutian Island chain, through the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta and on to the Alaska Range in the east on the border of Southcentral. A limited road system serves individual communities on the mainland section of the region, but they are mostly disparate and don’t connect to the larger road system in the state. The Southwest region is serviced by the Alaska Marine Highway System and many airports.
Southwest Alaska is the traditional home of the Yup’ik people of the Yukon-Kuskokwim and Bristol Bay regions, as well as the Aleut people of the Aleutian Islands. Outside of Alaska, this region is most well-known for its reality television shows centered on the king crab fishery out of Dutch Harbor, Unalaska.
Many of the far-flung communities depend on fishing for subsistence as well as commerce, as the region includes the rich fisheries of the Bering Sea which provides the world with cod, king and snow crab, and more. Internationally-famous Bristol Bay is the largest commercial sockeye salmon producing region in the world and the Togiak District serves as the spawning grounds for the largest commercial Pacific herring fishery in the state. The largest employment sectors are food manufacturing, mostly fish processing, retail trade, and transportation and warehousing.
Population Estimate: 42,279
Average Annual Wage: $27,835
Average Unemployment Rate: 10.8%
Total Employment: 17,409
Local Businesses: 736
K-12 Schools: 104
Average summer high: 60 to 62 degrees
Average winter high: 12 to 15 degrees
Hours of light in June: 18
Hours of light in December: 5