The Who2 Blog

What Is the Population of Wasilla, Alaska?

Small-town Wasilla, Alaska has had a lot of press since Sarah Palin became the running mate of John McCain.

Palin played high school basketball in Wasilla, was Miss Wasilla of 1984, and was the city’s mayor from 1996-2002.

But just how small is Wasilla?

The Vancouver Sun says 7738 people. The Boston Globe says 8500. The Chicago Tribune says 9800. The Daily Mail says 6500. (And runs her beauty queen photos — those Brits!) NPR punts and says “still under 10,000.”

The Wasilla city website history says, “The current city resident population is some 5500 people with a conservatively estimated population of more than 27,000 adjacent Borough residents who patronize the Wasilla business and commercial center.”

But the city website Wasilla people page gives these growth numbers:

1990 population: 4029
2000 population: 5469
2003 population: 6715

The city facts page (“last updated 7/9/2008” as of today) also says 6715.

[Update: As of 9/3/08, the city facts page now says the population is 7025.]

[Update II: As of 9/12/08, the city facts page now says the population is 7028.]

But wait! The US Census Bureau disagrees. 9780 people, it estimates, as of July 2007. (The Bureau also says Wasilla is home to 5 Cubans, or was in 2000.)

Whom to believe? Take your pick. For ourselves, we’ve decided to quote the city’s own number of 6715 [as of 9/12/08, updated to 7028] on our Palin profile.

And during her years as mayor there, the population was around 5000-5500. The 2000 census, which counted 5469 people, was in her fourth year as mayor.

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