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Dillingham, Alaska
—  City  —
Aerial view of Dillingham, Alaska
Location of Dillingham, Alaska
Coordinates: 59°2′48″N 158°30′31″W / 59.04667°N 158.50861°W / 59.04667; -158.50861
Country United States
State Alaska
Census Area Dillingham
 - Total 35.7 sq mi (92.6 km2)
 - Land 33.6 sq mi (87.1 km2)
 - Water 2.1 sq mi (5.5 km2)
Elevation 95 ft (29 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 2,466
 - Estimate (2008[1][2]) 2,347
Time zone Alaska (AKST) (UTC-9)
 - Summer (DST) AKDT (UTC-8)
Area code(s) 907
FIPS code 02-18950
GNIS feature ID 1401203

Dillingham (pronounced /ˈdɪlɪŋhæm/), also known as Curyung and (for the southwestern section) Kanakanak[2], is a city in Dillingham Census Area, Alaska, United States. According to the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, as of 2008 the population of the city is estimated to be 2,347.[1][2]



Dillingham is on Nushagak Bay, an inlet of Bristol Bay, an arm of the Bering Sea, in southwestern Alaska. It is located at Coordinates: 59°2′48″N 158°30′31″W / 59.04667°N 158.50861°W / 59.04667; -158.50861 (59.046751, -158.508665).[3]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 35.7 square miles (92.6 km²). 33.6 square miles (87.1 km²) of it is land and 2.1 square miles (5.5 km²) of it (5.93%) is water.

Natural resources

Dillingham was once known as the Pacific salmon capital of the world and commercial fishing remains an important part of the local economy. The Arctic Packing Company erected cannery buildings in 1883 and began operations the following year with a pack of 400 cases. It was not until 1959 that the fisheries were able to forecast the salmon runs in western Alaska, enabling an expansion of fishing and fishery studies in the 1960s. The 1970s brought many technological advancements and record enrollments into the fishery studies programs.[4]

Throughout the 1980s and the early 1990s millions of sockeye salmon were harvested and sold to foreign markets. This introduced the need to regulate the amount of fish being harvested every summer.

Commercial fishing today is not nearly as lucrative as it once was. This is due in part to competition in international markets from fish farms.[5]


As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 2,466 people, 884 households, and 599 families residing in the city. The population density was 73.4/sq mi (28.3/km²). There were 1,000 housing units at an average density of 29.7/sq mi (11.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 52.55% Native American, 35.60% White, 1.18% Asian, 0.65% Black or African American, 0.61% from other races, and 9.41% from two or more races. 3.49% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 884 households out of which 41.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.4% were married couples living together, 15.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.2% were non-families. 27.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.75 and the average family size was 3.37.

In the city the population was spread out with 34.6% under the age of 18, 6.6% from 18 to 24, 30.6% from 25 to 44, 23.2% from 45 to 64, and 5.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 106.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $51,458, and the median income for a family was $57,417. Males had a median income of $47,266 versus $34,934 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,537. About 10.1% of families and 11.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.4% of those under age 18 and 5.9% of those age 65 or over.


The area around Dillingham was inhabited by the Yupik people. It became a trade center when Russians built Alexandrovski Redoubt (Post) there in 1818.[2] The area was called Nushagak, after the Nushagak River. Nushagak became a place where different groups from the Kuskokwim River, the Alaska Peninsula and the Cook Inlet came to trade or live at the post. In 1837, a Russian Orthodox mission was built at Nushagak.[2]

In 1881, after the Alaska Purchase by the United States, the United States Signal Corps built a weather station at Nushagak. In 1884, the first salmon cannery in the Bristol Bay region was constructed east of the site of modern-day Dillingham. Ten more were built by 1900. The post office east of Nushagak at Snag Point and the town were named in 1904 after United States Senator Paul Dillingham, who had toured Alaska extensively with his Senate subcommittee in 1903.

In 1918 and 1919, an influenza epidemic left no more than 500 survivors around Dillingham. A hospital and orphanage were established in Kanakanak after the epidemic, 6 miles (10 km) south of Dillingham.

In 1974, the first regional AM radio station for the Bristol Bay region was built by the Dillingham City School District under an educational grant. Using the call letters KDLG and operating at 670 kHz, the station continues to provide education, entertainment, and important safety information to the fishing fleet and the surrounding communities. It is part of the National Public Radio (NPR) and Alaska Public Radio (APRN) networks.

Present day industries around Dillingham are fishing and canning, sport fishing and tourism.

Dillingham attracted national attention in 2006 when the City of Dillingham installed 80 cameras at City owned facilities such as the dock, harbor and police station [7], funded by a Department of Homeland Security grant.[8] The City justified them by stating that they enhanced the ability to monitor and enforcement at those facilities. Many criticized the project as an infringement on privacy and also that the funds were intended for national rather than local public safety issues. After spirited public debate, locally and nationally, the community held a referendum vote on the system on October 12, 2006, resulting in a rejection of the anti-camera initiative by a vote of 370 to 235.

In 2007, among cities with available data, the city experienced the nation's highest rate of forcible rape per person, with 1 incident for every 103.9 residents. The city ranked 22nd (out of 8,659 cities with available data) for overall violent crime, with 1 incident for every 32.8 residents.[9]



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Simple English

Dillingham is a city in Alaska.

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