Pros and cons of living in Barrow Alaska

Barrow, also known as Utqiaġvik, is the northernmost city in the United States. As with any city, Barrow has its own set of pros and cons that come with living there. Here are some of the factors to consider when deciding whether or not to live in Barrow, Alaska.


1. Unique Culture – Barrow is home to a vibrant Inupiat Eskimo culture that is unlike anything else in the world. The indigenous traditions, including language, clothing, and food, are a wonderful experience to explore and immerse yourself in. Living in Barrow is a unique opportunity to learn about and appreciate indigenous culture.

2. Beautiful Landscape – With its location in the Arctic, Barrow is known for its picturesque, snow-covered landscape during the winter months. The tundra, the sea ice formations, and the Northern Lights make for breathtaking scenery.

3. Adventure – Barrow has a lot to offer for adventurous souls. There are opportunities for snowmobile excursions, ice fishing, dog sledding, and other winter activities. Summertime brings opportunities for bird watching, hiking, and whale watching.


1. Isolation – The isolation of Barrow is a factor to consider when thinking about living there. Barrow is located 300 miles above the Arctic Circle and is not easily accessible by car. Air travel is the primary mode of transportation, and flights can be expensive, particularly during peak tourist season.

2. Harsh Environmental Conditions – Barrow experiences extreme weather conditions during the winter months, with temperatures averaging around -20°F and wind chill reaching -50°F. This can make it difficult to enjoy outdoor activities and to manage day-to-day life. Also, due to its location, Barrow experiences extended periods of darkness during the winter months and extended periods of daylight during the summer.

3. Higher Cost of Living – Living in Barrow can be more expensive than living in other parts of the United States. The cost of goods, including food and basic necessities, is higher than average, due to the remoteness and difficulty in transporting goods to the city.


Living in Barrow, Alaska, is an experience unlike any other. The unique cultural aspects, stunning landscape, and adventurous lifestyle are all factors that may appeal to some individuals. However, the isolation, harsh environmental conditions, and higher cost of living should also be taken into consideration. Ultimately, it’s a personal decision based on individual preferences and priorities.

What are the benefits of living in Barrow Alaska?

Barrow, Alaska, is the northernmost town in the United States and the largest town in the North Slope Borough. Despite challenging living conditions, living in Barrow Alaska can offer many benefits to those willing to embrace its unique lifestyle. One significant advantage of living in Barrow is the access to hunting and fishing opportunities that provide a crucial source of food for the community. Additionally, the subsistence way of life offers a connection to the land and to traditions that have been passed down for generations.

Another benefit of living in Barrow is the opportunity to witness the northern lights, an awe-inspiring natural phenomenon that can be seen during winter months. The town is located directly under the auroral oval, which is the area around the North Pole where the northern lights are most intense. Living in Barrow provides a front-row seat to the magnificent display of colors and light that dance across the sky. Additionally, the long summer days provide opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and boating, as the sun stays above the horizon for 24 hours a day during the summer solstice.

Finally, living in Barrow offers an opportunity for individuals to truly disconnect from the hustle and bustle of city life. The town has a population of only a few thousand people, and the remote location means limited internet connectivity and cell phone service. This may be an adjustment at first, but it can ultimately be a benefit to mental health as individuals focus on building relationships, enjoying nature, and living in the moment. All of these factors make Barrow, Alaska, a unique and rewarding place to live for those willing to embrace its challenges.

How does the extreme weather conditions in Barrow Alaska affect day-to-day living?

Barrow, Alaska is one of the coldest and most extreme locations on earth. The residents of Barrow face severe weather conditions throughout the year, making day-to-day living a constant challenge. The town is located in the Arctic tundra, which means the temperature can drop to -50 degrees Celsius in the winter. This intense cold makes simple tasks like walking to work, running errands or even stepping outside extremely difficult, if not impossible. The harsh weather also means that roads and public transportation systems can become blocked or shut down altogether, causing further difficulties for residents.

Similarly, during the summer months, Barrow experiences the phenomenon of polar day, where the sun never sets for 82 days straight. This creates a unique set of challenges as residents must adjust their daily routines to work around the constant daylight. Staying awake for 24 hours can be difficult both physically and mentally, and it can be particularly challenging for those who are working on a night shift. Moreover, extreme winds and snowstorms are also prevalent in Barrow, causing power outages and limiting access to essential services like grocery stores and hospitals.

In short, the extreme weather conditions in Barrow have a significant impact on day-to-day living, making it a challenge for residents to accomplish even the most basic of tasks. The town’s residents must learn how to adapt to these harsh conditions and have developed innovative ways to cope with the challenging environment. From ensuring that their homes are properly insulated to investing in warm clothes and reliable transportation, the people of Barrow demonstrate a resilience and fortitude that is truly admirable.

What are the biggest challenges faced by residents in Barrow Alaska?

Barrow, Alaska, is the northernmost town in the United States and is home to over 4,000 residents. Living in Barrow presents several challenges for its inhabitants due to its remote location, harsh climate, and limited infrastructure. The biggest issue faced by residents in Barrow is the cost of living. As a result of its isolation and limited resources, the cost of goods and services is significantly higher than in other parts of the country. For example, the price of groceries can be two to three times higher in Barrow than in big cities like New York or Los Angeles.

Another major challenge for residents in Barrow is the cold and unpredictable weather. The town experiences subzero temperatures for most of the year, and the wind chill factor often makes the cold feel even more severe. The winter months can be especially challenging, with limited daylight and extreme blizzards that can last for days. The harsh weather conditions also make travel in and out of Barrow difficult, and residents often have to rely on air travel, which can be expensive.

In summary, the residents of Barrow, Alaska, face several issues, including high living costs, extreme weather, and limited infrastructure. Despite these challenges, the people of Barrow continue to live and thrive in this unique and remote part of the world.

How does the remote location of Barrow Alaska impact access to goods and services?

The remote location of Barrow, Alaska has a significant impact on the access to goods and services in the town. Despite being the largest and oldest community in the North Slope Borough, the town is located in one of the most isolated regions of the United States, which can make it challenging to access basic necessities. Due to its location, the cost of freight is typically much higher than the mainland, which can lead to higher prices for goods and services.

The lack of road access and the town’s distance from the mainland also make it difficult to transport goods and services to Barrow, further impeding the availability of necessary items. Residents are heavily reliant on air transport to receive goods, which can be expensive and time-consuming. The marine environment is also challenging due to the constant and extreme changes in the weather and sea ice conditions. As a result, goods and services can be delayed, inaccessible, or expensive, making life more difficult for residents of Barrow, Alaska.

Despite these challenges, the community has adapted, and locals have found ways to make the most of the limited resources available to them. The town has developed a strong sense of self-reliance and a culture of resiliency in the face of scarcity. Barrow has become a hub for local art, music, and culture, and visitors to the town can experience unique and authentic Alaskan traditions. While access to goods and services may be more difficult in Barrow than in other parts of the US, the community’s resilience and resourcefulness make it an important and special destination.

What job opportunities are available in Barrow Alaska and what is the cost of living like?

Barrow, Alaska, also known as Utqiagvik, is the northernmost settlement in the United States. Jobs in this area are primarily centered around the oil and gas industry, scientific research, healthcare, and education. The local school district, North Slope Borough School District, is one of the largest employers in the area, offering positions for teachers, school aides, and administrators. Another significant employer is the North Slope Borough, which provides various government-related positions. The Arctic Slope Regional Corporation is also headquartered in Barrow, providing job opportunities in finance, human resources, and administration.

The cost of living in Barrow, Alaska is relatively high compared to the national average, mostly due to high transportation and housing costs. Housing is particularly expensive, with an average cost of over $300,000 for a home. Groceries and other goods are also pricier than the national average, mainly due to the high cost of transportation to the area. However, the state of Alaska does not have sales or income taxes, which, in some ways, offsets the overall higher living expenses. Despite the high cost of living, residents of Barrow, Alaska enjoy a unique lifestyle, with breathtaking views, a close-knit, welcoming community, and an opportunity to experience life in a place without sunsets during the summer months.