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Barrow, Alaska

Barrow is a city located in North Slope Borough, Alaska, United States. As of the 2000 census, the population of the city is 4,581. Barrow is the northernmost settlement in the United States, and the northernmost town of more than 2,000 residents in the world. (See Extreme Points of the United States and Northernmost settlements.)

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Barrow is located at 71°18'1" North, 156°44'9" West (71.300371, -156.735840)1.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 55.2 km² (21.3 mi²). 47.7 km² (18.4 mi²) of it is land and 7.6 km² (2.9 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 13.74% water.


As of the census2 of 2000, there are 4,581 people, 1,371 households, and 941 families residing in the city. The population density is 96.1/km² (249.0/mi²). There are 1,620 housing units at an average density of 34.0/km² (88.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 21.83% White, 1.00% Black or African American, 57.19% Native American, 9.41% Asian, 1.35% Pacific Islander, 0.70% from other races, and 8.51% from two or more races. 3.34% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 1,371 households out of which 46.5% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.3% are married couples living together, 18.5% have a female householder with no husband present, and 31.3% are non-families. 23.0% of all households are made up of individuals and 1.8% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 3.27 and the average family size is 3.91.

In the city the population is spread out with 36.7% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 31.6% from 25 to 44, 19.4% from 45 to 64, and 3.4% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 29 years. For every 100 females there are 107.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 109.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $67,097, and the median income for a family is $68,203. Males have a median income of $51,959 versus $46,382 for females. The per capita income for the city is $22,902. 8.6% of the population and 7.7% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 8.2% of those under the age of 18 and 11.4% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.


Before it was Barrow, Barrow was known as Utqiagvik. The name means "place where owls are hunted" in Inupiaq.

Archaeological sites in the area indicate the Inupiat lived around Barrow as far back as AD 500. Some remains of 16 dwelling mounds from the Birnirk culture af about AD 800. are still in evidence today.

Barrow takes its current name from Point Barrow, which was named for Sir John Barrow of the British Admiralty in 1825. British Navy officers were in the area to explore and map the Arctic coastline of North America. The United States Army established a meteorological and magnetic research station at Barrow in 1881, and the Cape Smythe Whaling and Trading Station was established in 1893.

By 1888 there was a Presbyterian church at Barrow. In 1901 a United States Post Office was opened.

In 1935, the famous humorist Will Rogers and pilot Wiley Post made a planned stop 25 km (15 miles) south of Barrow on an air trip. After they took off again, their plane stalled and plunged into a river, killing them both. Two monuments are located at the crash site.

The residents of the area cast the lone vote in opposition to passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, which passed in December 1971. In 1972, the North Slope Borough was established. The borough used millions of dollars in new revenues to create roads, sanitation services, water and electrical services and health and educational services in the area.

In 1986, the North Slope Borough created the North Slope Higher Education Center, which later became Ilisagvik College, gaining accreditation in 2003. The two-year college is dedicated to providing an education based on the Inupiat culture.

Regions of Alaska
Alaskan Bush | Interior | North Slope | Panhandle | South Central | Tanana Valley
Largest Cities
Anchorage | Barrow | Bethel | Fairbanks | Homer | Juneau | Kenai | Ketchikan | Kodiak | Kotzebue | Nome | Palmer | Petersburg | Seward | Sitka | Unalaska | Valdez | Wasilla
Boroughs and Census Areas
Aleutians East | Aleutians West | Anchorage | Bethel | Bristol Bay | Denali | Dillingham | Fairbanks North Star | Haines | Juneau | Kenai Peninsula | Ketchikan Gateway | Kodiak Island | Lake and Peninsula | Matanuska-Susitna | Nome | North Slope | Northwest Arctic | Prince of Wales – Outer Ketchikan | Sitka | Skagway-Hoonah-Angoon | Southeast Fairbanks | Valdez-Cordova | Wade Hampton | Wrangell-Petersburg | Yakutat | Yukon-Koyukuk

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