Point Hope, Alaska

Coordinates: 68°20′49″N 166°45′47″W / 68.34694°N 166.76306°W / 68.34694; -166.76306
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Point Hope
Point Hope is located in Alaska
Point Hope
Point Hope
Location in Alaska
Coordinates: 68°20′49″N 166°45′47″W / 68.34694°N 166.76306°W / 68.34694; -166.76306
CountryUnited States
BoroughNorth Slope
IncorporatedJanuary 5, 1966[1]
 • MayorDaisy Sage[2]
 • State senatorDonny Olson (D)
 • State rep.Josiah Patkotak (I)
 • Total5.07 sq mi (13.14 km2)
 • Land5.00 sq mi (12.95 km2)
 • Water0.07 sq mi (0.19 km2)
Elevation20 ft (6 m)
 • Total830
 • Density165.97/sq mi (64.08/km2)
Time zoneUTC-9 (Alaska (AKST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-8 (AKDT)
ZIP code
Area code907
FIPS code02-61630
GNIS feature ID1408110 [4]

Point Hope (Inupiaq: Tikiġaq, IPA: [tikeʁɑq]) is a city in North Slope Borough, Alaska, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 674, down from 757 in 2000. In the 2020 Census, the population rose to 830.

Like many isolated communities in Alaska, the city has no road or rail connections to the outside world, and must be accessed by sea or by air at Point Hope Airport.


A pile of whale bones in Point Hope, at the spot where celebrations are held at the conclusion of the whaling season.

Before any modern settlement, the Ipiutak lived here.

The descriptive Inuit name of the place, "Tikarakh" or "Tikiġaq", commonly spelled "Tiagara", means "forefinger". It was recorded as "Tiekagagmiut" in 1861 by P. Tikhmeniev Wich of the Russian Hydrographic Department and on Russian Chart 1495[citation needed] it became "Tiekaga". This ancient village site was advantageous, because the protrusion of Point Hope into the sea brought the whales close to the shore. At Tikigaq, they built semi-subterranean houses using mainly whalebone and driftwood. Point Hope is one of the oldest continually occupied sites in North America. While some of the earlier dwellings have been lost to erosion as the point shrinks, it still provides valuable information to archaeologists on how early Eskimos survived in their harsh environment. The Tikigaq site is "by far the most extensive and complete one-period site yet discovered and described in the entire circumpolar region." - Helge Larsen.[5]

The first recorded Europeans to sight this cape were Russian explorers Mikhail Vasiliev and Gleb Shishmaryov of the Imperial Russian Navy on the ships Otkrietie and Blagonamierennie. Vasiliev and Shishmaryov named this landhead Mys Golovnina, after Vice Admiral Vasily Golovnin (1776–1831).

The cape at Point Hope was renamed by Captain Frederick William Beechey of the Royal Navy, who wrote on August 2, 1826: "I named it Point Hope in compliment to Sir William Johnstone Hope". According to Archdeacon Stuck[6] Hope was from a "well-known house long connected with the sea".[7]

Noel Wien made the first flight here in Aug. 1927.[8]

Point Hope residents successfully opposed Project Chariot in 1962. The project would have involved buried thermonuclear detonations some 30 miles (48 km) from the village to create a deep-water artificial harbor, which would only have been usable about three months out of the year.


Point Hope is located in the Point Hope landhead, at the northwestern end of the Lisburne Peninsula, on the Chukchi Sea coast, 40 miles (64 km) southwest of Cape Lisburne, Arctic Slope at 68°20′49″N 166°45′47″W / 68.34694°N 166.76306°W / 68.34694; -166.76306 (68.347052, -166.762917).[9] It is just above the arctic circle.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.4 square miles (17 km2), of which, 6.3 square miles (16 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (1.09%) is water.

In December 2017, The New York Times profiled Point Hope, reporting that "a surprising, and bittersweet, side effect of global warming" would soon bring Point Hope "one of the fastest internet connections in America".[10]


Historical population
2010674[citation needed]−11.0%
2020830[citation needed]23.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[11][failed verification]

Point Hope first appeared on the 1880 U.S. Census as the unincorporated Inuit settlement of "Tikirak."[12] All of its 276 residents were Inuit.[13] In 1890, it returned as Point Hope. Out of its 301 residents, 295 were Natives, 5 were White and 1 was "Other." It continued to return as Point Hope in 1900 and 1910. From 1920-40, it returned as the village of "Tigara" (with the alternative name of Point Hope). In 1950, it returned as Point Hope and has continued to do so to date. In 1966, it formally incorporated.

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 674 people living in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 87.8% Native American, 5.8% White, 0.4% Black, 0.1% from some other race and 3.9% from two or more races. 1.9% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

As of the census[14][failed verification] of 2000, there were 757 people, 186 households, and 151 families living in the city. The population density was 119.4 inhabitants per square mile (46.1/km2). There were 215 housing units at an average density of 33.9 per square mile (13.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 8.72% White, 0.13% Black or African American, 87.05% Native American, 0.13% Asian, 0.13% from other races, and 3.83% from two or more races. 1.72% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 186 households, out of which 54.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.0% were married couples living together, 19.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 18.3% were non-families. 13.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 2.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 4.07 and the average family size was 4.50.

In the city, the age distribution of the population shows 42.5% under the age of 18, 11.6% from 18 to 24, 26.0% from 25 to 44, 14.7% from 45 to 64, and 5.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 22 years. For every 100 females, there were 122.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 118.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $63,125, and the median income for a family was $66,250. Males had a median income of $41,750 versus $35,625 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,641. About 13.9% of families and 14.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.3% of those under age 18 and 16.2% of those age 65 or over.


The North Slope Borough School District operates the Tikiġaq School in Point Hope.[15]


Sale, importation and possession of alcohol are banned in the village.[16]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Directory of Borough and City Officials 1974". Alaska Local Government. Juneau: Alaska Department of Community and Regional Affairs. XIII (2): 66. January 1974.
  2. ^ a b "From the Arctic's Melting Ice, an Unexpected Digital Hub". New York Times. Retrieved Dec 2, 2017.
  3. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 29, 2021.
  4. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Point Hope, Alaska
  5. ^ The Firecracker Boys, O'Neill
  6. ^ 1920, p. 96
  7. ^ USGS
  8. ^ Harkey, Ira (1991). Pioneer Bush Pilot. Bantam Books. p. 204. ISBN 0553289195.
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  10. ^ Cecilia Kang (2017-12-02). "From the Arctic's Melting Ice, an Unexpected Digital Hub". New York Times. Point Hope, Alaska. p. BU1. Retrieved 2017-12-02. But in a surprising, and bittersweet, side effect of global warming — and of the global economy — one of the fastest internet connections in America is arriving in Point Hope, giving the 700 or so residents their first taste of broadband speed.
  11. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  12. ^ "Geological Survey Professional Paper". 1949.
  13. ^ http://www2.census.gov/prod2/decennial/documents/1880a_v1-17.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  14. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  15. ^ "Point Hope." North Slope Borough School District. Retrieved on February 14, 2017.
  16. ^ "Schedule of Local Option Communities" (PDF). Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. Retrieved 2023-05-03.
  17. ^ Lowenstein, Tom (2008). Ultimate Americans: Point Hope, 1826 - 1929. Anchorage, AK: University of Alaska Press. ISBN 9781602230385.