Report shows Kenai Peninsula Borough is growing, aging

Posted: Friday, October 18, 2002

KENAI (AP) -- Kenai is now the sixth largest incorporated municipality in Alaska, according to U.S. Census Bureau 2000 figures cited by the Kenai Peninsula Borough Community and Economic Development Division.

While Kenai climbed from seventh in 1990, Homer fell from 11th to 14th place and Soldotna dropped from 13th to 15th.

The division has released its ''2001 Situations & Prospects,'' an annual catalog of the borough's vital statistics. Included are assorted demographics, school enrollment figures, various data on sales, an overview of the peninsula's leading industries and employment numbers, as well as information on public health and safety as of the end of 2001.

It also includes census data as of 2000, comparing those numbers to censuses past.

Kenai's population jumped from 6,327 in 1990 to 6,942 a decade later, a boost of 615 people. Meanwhile, a few miles away, Soldotna grew at only about half of Kenai's rate, adding 277 people.

Homer grew from 3,660 people to 3,946 while Seward jumped from 2,699 people to 2,830.

Altogether, the borough population grew by nearly 9,000 to 49,691 in 2000, and could now be as high as 50,556, according to Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development estimates.

Peninsula residents are getting older. The borough's median age is 36.3 years and more than 70 percent of residents are 19 or older. In 1990, the median age was 31 years.

The exception to the aging trend was Fox River, the borough's youngest Census Designated Place, where the median age is 14.8 years. Fox River is an area at the northeastern end of Kachemak Bay and includes communities such as Kachemak Selo and Voznesenka; it has a population of 616.

Hope, meanwhile, had a median age of nearly 47 years in 2000.

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