Welcome to Palmer!
Palmer is located in south-central Alaska, in the beautiful Matanuska Valley, at 61 36'7''N 149 7'2''W / 61.60194 N 149.11722 W
Palmer is 42 miles (68 km) northeast of Anchorage on the Glenn Highway. The city itself has a total area of 3.8 square miles (9.7 square kilometers).
You might have heard of Alaska's giant vegetables, especially the famous massive cabbages. What you may not know is that members of the Matanuska Valley's dedicated farming community hold multiple world records for giant cabbages, turnips, carrots, broccoli and other vegetables. Every year, people bring their oversized crops to the Alaska State Fair in Palmer to be weighed, judged and displayed, to the continual amazement of the public. Click here or visit our links page to see a YouTube news report about these incredible Alaskan giants.
According to the 2010 census, there were 5,937 people, 1,508 households, and 1,058 families residing the city. However, Palmer is a rapidly growing town; the estimated population had risen to 7,804 by 2007.
In 2010, the racial makeup of Palmer was 79.1% white, 1.8% African American, 9.2% Native Alaskan and Native American, 1.1% Asian, .4% Pacific Islander, 4.6% Hispanic or Latino, and 7.6% from two or more races.
According to the most recent data the population in Palmer is diverse in age, with 33.7% under the age of 19, 8.3% from 20 to 24, 27.5% 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 9.6% were over 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years old, and for every 100 females there were 98.1 males.
The median income for a household in the Palmer city limits in 2010 was $45,571, and the median income for a family is $53,164. The median income for males in the city was $44,716 versus $25,221 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,203.
Palmer has a mild coastal climate (that is, if any part of Alaska can be considered mild!). The average monthly temperature for December and January is 13 degrees Fahrenheit, while for July and August it is 58 degrees Fahrenheit. The coastal climate of the area results in smaller amounts of snow than other areas of Alaska. The highest average monthly snowfall is 9.3 inches. Because Palmer rests at the mouths of two valleys, however, the town routinely experiences very high winds which can remove most of the accumulated snow.
Because Alaska is close to the north pole, daylight varies greatly between the summer and winter. In June, Palmer gets an average of 19 hours of light per day, while there is an average of only 5 hours of light in December. It is difficult to say exactly how many hours of light occur near the winter and summer solstices, because the low angle of the sun results in very long periods of dusk and dawn.
Many individuals have trouble adjusting to the unusually long and short days, which can result in tiredness and depression in the winter and sleeplessness in the summer. Plenty of folks, however, consider the unusual quality of the light and the fantastic sunrises and sunsets to be worth the extra darkness. In addition, enthusiastic outdoorspeople make up a significant portion of the population, and they often welcome the extra daylight hours to hunt, fish and hike in the summer, prefering to sleep a little less in order to enjoy the short warm season more fully.
Palmer is a part of the Mat-Su Valley, which spans over 23,000 square miles of land, three mountain ranges, four state game refugees, six recreational rivers, multiple glaciers, and thousands of lakes, ponds, and streams. Because there is so much wilderness to hike in, the Mat-Su Valley boasts over 1,000 miles of documented trails.
Palmer is a member of the Mat-Su Borough School District, which has 45 schools and a district-wide enrollment of over 17,000 students. Palmer High School is the only high school in the United States to have a moose for a mascot .
Matanuska-Sustina Borough Fast Facts