Who Owns Alaska?

Unlike most states, where the majority of land is privately owned, less than 1% of Alaska is held in conventional private ownership. Of the 365.5 million acres that make up Alaska, federal agencies currently claim 222 million acres, or 61% of the state. The State of Alaska owns 97.9 million acres and is entitled to an additional 6 million acres under the Statehood Act. That leaves the state owning only 28.5% of Alaska. Oil, gas, minerals and timber can be found in many parts of the state and these resources underpin Alaska’s economy and contribute to the economic well being of its residents. Since 1982, Alaska has been giving every man, woman and child an annual chunk of its nest egg: the $66.3 billion Permanent Fund. Alaska deposits at least 25% of mineral royalties — revenue the state generates from its mines, oil and gas reserves — into the fund annually. That translates into anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 per person per year, and every Alaskan gets the same amount. The lowest dividend was $386.15 in 1983 and the highest dividend paid out was $2,072 in 2015.