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Kotzebue, Alaska

"Kotzebue" redirects here. For other uses, see Kotzebue (disambiguation). Kotzebue, Alaska Aerial view of Kotzebue Location of Kotzebue in Alaska Coordinates: 66°53′50″N 162°35′8″W / 66.89722, -162.58556CountryUnited StatesStateAlaskaBoroughNorthwest ArcticArea - Total 28.7 sq mi (74.2 km²)  - Land 27.0 sq mi (69.9 km²)  - Water 1.7 sq mi (4.3 km²) Elevation20 ft(6 m) Population (2000)  - Total 3,082  - Density114.2/sq mi (44.1/km²) Time zoneAKST(UTC-9)  - Summer (DST) AKDT(UTC-8) Area code(s)907FIPS code02-41830 GNISfeature ID 1413378 Website:

Kotzebue is a city in Northwest Arctic Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. According to 2005 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city was 3,237.[1]

Kotzebue gets its name from the Kotzebue Sound, which was named after Otto von Kotzebue, who explored the sound while searching for the Northwest Passage in the service of Russia in 1818.



Kotzebue is located at 66°53′50″N, 162°35′8″W (66.897192, -162.585444).[2]

Kotzebue lies on a gravel spit at the end of the Baldwin Peninsula in the Kotzebue Sound. It is 53 km (33 miles) north of the arctic circle on Alaska's western coast.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 28.7 square miles (74.2 km²), of which 27.0 square miles (69.9 km²) is land, and 1.6 square miles (4.3 km²) (5.76%) is water.


As of the census[3] of 2007, there were 3,109 people, 907 households, and 686 families residing in the city. The population density was 114.1 people per square mile (44.1/km²). There were 1,007 housing units at an average density of 37.3/sq mi (14.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 19.47% White, 0.32% Black or African American, 71.19% Native American, 1.82% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.78% from other races, and 6.36% from two or more races. 1.17% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 889 households out of which 50.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.1% were married couples living together, 17.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.1% were non-families. 19.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 2.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.40 and the average family size was 3.93.

In the city the population was spread out with 39.8% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 30.4% from 25 to 44, 17.2% from 45 to 64, and 4.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 26 years. For every 100 females there were 102.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 104.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $57,163, and the median income for a family was $58,068. Males had a median income of $42,604 versus $36,453 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,289. About 9.2% of families and 13.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.9% of those under age 18 and 6.0% of those age 65 or over.

Kotzebue is also about 30 miles from Noatak and Kiana and other smaller towns and is the only town in the region with a true airport.


There is archaeological evidence that Inupiat people have lived at Kotzebue since at least the 1400s. Because of its location, Kotzebue was a trading and gathering center for the entire area. The Noatak, Selawik and Kobuk Rivers drain into the Kotzebue Sound near Kotzebue to form a center for transportation to points inland. In addition to people from interior villages, inhabitants of the Russian Far East came to trade at Kotzebue. Furs, seal-oil, hides, rifles, ammunition, and seal skins were some of the items traded. People also gathered for competitions like the current World Eskimo Olympics [1]. With the arrival of the whalers, traders, gold seekers, and missionaries the trading center expanded.

Kotzebue, known natively as Kikiktagruk or Qikiqtagruk, which means "almost an island" in Inupiaq, the language of the Inupiat, which is a reference to the spit. The name of the town was later changed to Kotzebue after the name of the Kotzebue Sound.

Reindeer herding was introduced in the area in 1897. Although Alaska had caribou, the wild form of reindeer, the domesticated reindeer were brought to Alaska from Asia.

A United States post office was established in 1899.[4]

Kotzebue is currently the largest city in the Northwest Arctic Borough.

John Baker and Ed Iten, are both top 10 finisher in the 1,000+ mi (1,600+ km) Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, and they are currently residents of Kotzebue.

Kotzebue was a filming location for the 1991 film Salmonberries.

Kotzebue is home to the large, non-profit organization, Maniilaq Association.


  1. ^ Annual Estimates of the Population for All Incorporated Places in Alaska (CSV). 2005 Population Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division (June 21, 2006). Retrieved on November 9, 2006.
  2. ^ US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990. United States Census Bureau (2005-05-03). Retrieved on 2008-01-31.
  3. ^ American FactFinder. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on 2008-01-31.
  4. ^ Dickerson, Ora B. (1989) 120 Years of Alaska Postmasters, 1867-1987, p. 44. Scotts, MI: Carl J. Cammarata

Further reading

  • Anderson, Douglas D., and Robert A. Henning. The Kotzebue Basin. Alaska geographic, v. 8, no. 3. Anchorage: Alaska Geographic Society, 1981. ISBN 0882401572
  • Giddings, J. Louis, and Douglas D. Anderson. Beach Ridge Archeology of Cape Krusenstern Eskimo and Pre-Eskimo Settlements Around Kotzebue Sound, Alaska. Washington DC: National Park Service, U.S. Dept. of the Interior, 1986.
  • Lucier, Charles V., and James W. VanStone. Traditional Beluga Drives of the Iñupiat of Kotzebue Sound, Alaska. Fieldiana, new ser., no. 25. Chicago: Field Museum of Natural History, 1995.

External links

v • d • eMunicipalities and communities of
Northwest Arctic Borough, AlaskaBorough seat: Kotzebue Cities

Ambler | Buckland | Deering | Kiana | Kivalina | Kobuk | Kotzebue | Noorvik | Selawik | Shungnak


Noatak | Red Dog Mine

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