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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Population of Wasilla

Q: What was the population of Wasilla, Alaska, when Sarah Palin was mayor?

A: When she took office, it was about 5,000. The population has been growing since.


What was the population of the town that Sarah Palin was mayor of before being governor of Alaska? I have heard 5,000, 7,000, and 8,000.


Palin became mayor in 1996. Six years earlier, in 1990, the official population of Wasilla had been 4,028 according to the Census Bureau. By the time of the next census, in 2000, it had reached 5,469. Simple interpolation would put the population when she took office at roughly 5,000, though that's only an estimate. Palin served as mayor until 2002, and the population was increasing during her term. It would have been greater than 5,500 when she left office.

Wasilla has continued to grow since. Mary Bixby, the executive assistant to Wasilla Mayor Dianne Keller, tells FactCheck.org that the increase can be attributed to a few factors: The city annexed a few surrounding areas; the highway to Anchorage has been upgraded; and Wasilla has seen an influx of jobs.

The Census Bureau estimates that the current population is 9,780. However, the city itself lists its population at 7,028, and Bixby says that number is more accurate.

–Justin Bank


"Questions & Answers Concerning Former Mayor Palin." City of Wasilla, 12 Sept. 2008.