1st Class City
in the North Slope Borough
- Area Type
- Current Population
- Population Comment
- 2013 DCCED Certified Estimate
- Pronunciation/Other Names
- (bare' row); a.k.a. Ukpeagvik
- Census Designated Place (CDP)
- Borough/Census Area FIPS Code
- Place FIPS
Election, Recording, and Judicial Districts
- Senate District
- House District
- Judicial District
- Recording District
Facilities and Amenities
- Municipal Facilities & Utilities
- Bingo/Gaming, Bingo Hall, Community Center, Piuraagvik Building, Ipalook Roller Rink, Ice Rink, Teen Center, Recreation Center, City Hall, Little Dribblers, Taxis, and Summer Youth Employment. Two cemetary areas, and an Annual Festival in April Piuraaqgiata. A cooperative operates the piped water, piped sewer and electric system. North Slope Borough operates transit, police and volunteer fire/EMS, and libarary.
Geography and Climate
- Barrow, the northernmost community in the United States, is located on the Chukchi Sea coast, 10 miles south of Point Barrow, from which it takes its name. It lies 725 air miles from Anchorage.
- The climate of Barrow is arctic. Annual precipitation is light, averaging 5 inches, and annual snowfall is 20 inches. Temperatures range from -56 to 78 °F, with an average temperature of 40 °F during summer. The sun does not set between May 10th and August 2nd each summer and does not rise between Nov. 18th and January 24th each winter. The daily minimum temperature is below freezing 324 days of the year. Prevailing winds are easterly and average 12 mph. The Chukchi Sea is typically ice-free from mid-June through October.
- Community Map Available
- Map URL
- Sq Mi Land
- Sq Mi Water
History and Culture
- Archaeological sites in the area indicate habitation from 500 to 900 A.D. Inupiats traditionally depend on subsistence marine mammal hunting, supplemented by inland hunting and fishing. Archaeological remains of sixteen dwelling mounds from the Birnirk culture exist today. Barrow was named for Sir John Barrow, 2nd Secretary of the British Admiralty. The city's Eskimo name is Ukpeagvik ("place where owls are hunted"). In 1881, the U.S. Army established a meteorological and magnetic research station near Barrow. The Cape Smythe Whaling and Trading Station was constructed there in 1893. A Presbyterian church was established in 1899, and a post office was opened in 1901. Exploration of the Naval Petroleum Reserve Number 4 (now National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska, NPR-A) began in 1946. The Naval Arctic Research Laboratory, 3 miles north of Barrow, soon followed. The city was incorporated in 1958. Formation of the North Slope Borough in 1972 and the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, as well as construction of the Prudhoe Bay oilfields and Trans-Alaska Pipeline, have each contributed to the development of Barrow. Today, tax revenues from the North Slope oil fields fund borough-wide services.
- The majority of residents are Inupiat Eskimos. Traditional marine mammal hunts and other subsistence practices are an active part of the culture. Bowhead, gray, killer, and beluga whales migrate near Barrow each summer.
- Federally Recognized Tribe
- Name of Federally Recognized Tribe
- Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope, Native Village of Barrow Inupiat Traditional Government
- Local Option Restrictions
- Sale of alcohol is banned.
- Incorporation Type
- 1st Class City
- Public Education
- Not permitted to provide this service.
- Planning, Platting and Land Use Regulation
- May be permitted to exercise the powers in accordance with AS 29.40.
- Property Tax Powers
- May tax up to 30 mills, except where a higher levy is necessary to avoid default on debt. Voter approval is not required under State law; however, stricter limitations can be imposed at the local level.
- Sales Tax Powers
- No limit on the rate of levy of sales taxes, but voter approval is required.
- Other Powers Not Prohibited
- May exercise other powers not prohibited by law.
- City Council or Assembly Composition and Apportionment
- 6 members elected at-large, except the council may provide for election other than at-large.
- Election and Term of Mayor
- Elected at large for a 3-year term, unless a different term not to exceed 4 years is provided by ordinance.
- Vote by Mayor
- May vote to break a tie vote on the city council.
- Veto Power of the Mayor
- Has veto power, except veto is not permitted of ordinance prohibiting posession of alcohol.
- Power of Eminent Domain
- Permitted by statute.
- Ability to Attain Home-Rule Status
- Voters may adopt home-rule charter.
- Regularly-scheduled jet services provide Barrow's only year-round access. The state-owned Wiley Post-Will Rogers Memorial Airport serves as the regional transportation center for the borough. The airport has an asphalt runway. Marine and land transportation provide seasonal access.
- State Ferry
- Cargo Barge
- Road Connection