Alaska Boroughs
Alaska County map
Click Image to Enlarge

Alaska Boroughs

Alaska is divided into nineteen organized boroughs and one "Unorganized Borough." The Borough Act of 1961 created "The Unorganized Borough" including all of Alaska not within a Unified, Home rule, First class or Second class Borough. The newest borough is Petersburg incorporated after voters approved borough formation in December 2012. Alaska and Louisiana are the only states that do not call their first-order administrative subdivisions counties (Louisiana uses parishes instead)

Juneau Borough, Alaska

Juneau Borough Education, Geography, and HistoryJuneau City and Borough, Alaska, City Hall

  Juneau Borough and the city of Juneau is the capital city of Alaska. It is a unified municipality located on the Gastineau Channel in the Alaskan panhandle. Juneau has been the capital of Alaska since 1906, when the government of what was then the District of Alaska was moved from Sitka as dictated by the US Congress in 1900. As of 2010 the population of this borough is 31,275. Juneau Borough was created in 1970. The borough has no borough seat.  Juneau borough is named for Joseph "Joe" Juneau, prospector and co-founder of the city.

Etymology - Origin of Juneau City and Borough Name

Juneau Borough was named after gold prospector Joe Juneau.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

History of Juneau City and Borough, Alaska

Prior to the the time of European settlement in the Americas, the Gastineau Channel was a favorite fishing ground for local Tlingit Indians, known then as the Auke and Taku tribes, who had lived in the area for thousands of years. The native cultures are rich with artistic traditions including dancing, singing, orating, weaving and carving. Juneau has become a major social center for the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian of Southeast Alaska.

Around 1880, Sitka mining engineer George Pilz offered a reward to any local chief who could lead him to the gold-bearing ore. Chief Kowee arrived with some ore and prospectors were sent to investigate. On their first trip, to Gold Creek, they found little of interest. However, at Chief Kowee's urging Pilz sent Joe Juneau and Richard Harris back to the Gastineau Channel, directing them to Snow Slide Gulch (the head of Gold Creek) where they found nuggets about the size of small peas.

On October 18, 1880 the two men marked on a 160 acre town site where soon a mining camp appeared. Within one year time the camp became a small town, the first to be founded after Alaska's purchase by the United States.

The town was originally called Harrisburg, after Richard Harris; some time later its name was changed to Rockwell. Around 1881 the miners met and renamed the town Juneau, after Joe Juneau. In 1906, after the diminution of the whaling and trade, Sitka, the original capital of Alaska, declined in importance and the seat of government was moved to Juneau.

A measure was passed to move the state's capital north in order to locate it closer to the state's population center, about 1954. A provision that required the new capital to be located at least 30 miles from the cities of Anchorage and Fairbanks, to stop them from having undue influence over the rest of the state. That process stalled the relocation process to the point that in the end Juneau remained the capital. In the 1970s, serious plans were made to move the capital to a site near Willow, a town on the Parks Highway about 70 miles north of Anchorage. However, these plans never went very far.

Several ballot initiatives have been held on the issue of moving the capital. The first such proposal was on the ballot of the state's first general election ballot: were the voters chose not to move the capital from Juneau to the Cook Inlet-Railbelt area. In 1974 referendum actually passed, which led to the choice of the Willow site. This project died after the electorate voted against funding it (at a cost of billions of dollars) in 1978 and in1982. However, the Willow plan was partially revived in 2002 with a proposal to move the legislative branch to the Matanuska-Susitna Borough (which includes Willow): this initiative lost by a 2-1 margin.

Alaska was granted it's statehood in 1959, Juneau grew with the growth of state government. Growth accelerated remarkably after the construction of the Alaska Pipeline in 1977, state budget flush with oil revenues; Juneau expanded predictably with both increased government and tourism jobs. That growth slowed considerably in the 1990s, and the state demographer expects the borough to grow very slowly over the next twenty years.

A consolidation of the City of Douglas, the City of Juneau, and the Greater Juneau Borough in 1970 made present-day Juneau the country's largest city in terms of land area, larger than the State of Delaware. It no longer holds this record, however, having been surpassed by the incorporation of Sitka in 2000. Juneau continues to be the only US state capital located on an international border: it is bordered on the east by Canada.

Geography: Land and Water

Douglas Island as seen from mainland Juneau, Alaska. The island is connected to the mainland by the Juneau-Douglas Bridge.
As reported by the Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 3,255 square miles (8,430 km2), making it the third-largest municipality in the United States by area (the largest is Yakutat City and Borough, Alaska).[dubious - discuss] 2,716.7 square miles (7,036 km2) of it is land and 538.3 square miles (1,394 km2) of it (16.54%) is water.

Central (downtown) Juneau is located at 58°18′07″N 134°25′11″W. The City and Borough of Juneau includes Douglas Island, a tidal island located to the west of mainland Juneau. Douglas Island can be reached via the Douglas Bridge.

Juneau area is susceptible, as is southeast Alaska, to damage caused by natural disasters. An earthquake caused widespread outages to telecommunications in the area due to damage to a fiber optic cable serving the area in 2014, and in April 2008, a series of massive avalanches outside Juneau heavily damaged the electrical lines leaving Juneau without power. These avalanches knocked the hydroelectric system offline and forcing the utility to switch to a much more expensive diesel system.

Neighboring Boroughs

Bordering boroughs are as follows:

  • Haines Borough, Alaska - north
  • Skagway-Hoonah-Angoon Census Area, Alaska - south and west

Also shares an eastern border with British Columbia, Canada.

  • Stikine Region, British Columbia


Juneau is the home of the following institutes of higher education:

University of Alaska Southeast

The University of Alaska Southeast is located within the Auke Bay community right along the Auke Lake. The Juneau-Douglas Community College, founded in 1956, and the Southeastern Senior College, established in 1972, were merged in 1980 forming the University of Alaska Juneau. The University was restructured as the University of Alaska Southeast to include the Ketchikan and Sitka campuses. The university offers both degrees in undergraduate and graduate studies. The University of Alaska Southeast is known for its research in regards to the Tongass National Forest and the Juneau Icefield.

Compare More Colleges and Universities
Find the Right School

Find more schools to match to your needs.

County Resources
US Counties
Click Image to Enlarge