How Much Do You Get Paid to Live in Alaska? Answered in Detail

Picturesque, freshwater lakes, snow-capped mountain peaks, clean air — all things that come to mind when you think of Alaska. But how about money? Do you get paid to live in Alaska? Yes. Make the move to Alaska to become a permanent resident and you’ll be rewarded with cash. That’s right — you can get paid to live in Alaska.

Read on to learn all about getting paid to live in Alaska, as well as other places in the U.S. that will pay you to move there.

How Much Can You Get Paid to Live in Alaska?

If you’re considering making the move to Alaska, let’s answer the important question first — How much do you get paid to live in Alaska? In 2017, permanent residents of Alaska each received $1,100 from the Alaska Permanent Fund just for living in Alaska.

The dividend amount varies each year and is calculated using a formula set by Alaska state law. The highest amount to date was $2,072 paid to each Alaska resident in 2015. You can view the PFD calculation formula and a chart with the dividend amount paid each year since 1980 on the Permanent Fund Dividend page of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation (APFC) website.

Where Does This Money Come From?

The money that pays people to live in Alaska comes from the Alaska Permanent Fund, which was established by a state constitutional amendment in 1976 in an effort to reinvest profits from the Alaska pipeline back into the state. The Fund is an investment portfolio of stocks, bonds, private equities, real estate infrastructure, and absolute return strategies designed to monetize and grow profits from Alaska’s various oil and mineral income streams. The principal balance of the Fund is managed and reinvested by the state-owned Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation.

In 1980, the Alaska State Legislature established the Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) program to pay each permanent Alaska resident an annual portion of the profits from the Alaska Permanent Fund. This program is managed by the Permanent Fund Dividend Division of the Alaska Department of Revenue. The state considers this payment an investment in the future of Alaska and an incentive for residents and their families to continue living there.

What’s the Catch? Requirements for Getting Paid to Live in Alaska

Hoping to get paid an extra $1,000 just by moving to Alaska for a year? Think again.

Getting paid to live in Alaska requires a commitment. One of the important requirements to qualify for the PFD program is your intent to remain an Alaskan citizen for life. If you plan to live permanently in Alaska and want to get paid for it, you must also meet the following Eligibility Requirements from the Permanent Fund Dividend Division each year:

  • Be a resident of Alaska for the full calendar year (January 1 through December 31).
  • Not claimed residency in or received benefits from any other state or country since December 31 of the preceding year.
  • Not have been sentenced or incarcerated as the result of a felony conviction during the prior year; or have been incarcerated for a misdemeanor if convicted of a felony or at least two misdemeanors during the preceding ten years.
  • Have lived in Alaska for at least 180 days of the year, except with an allowable absence listed in Alaska Statute AS 43.23.008.
  • Have been physically present in Alaska for at least 72 consecutive hours at some point during the two years prior, and at least 30 full days within the previous five years.

Every person who lives permanently in Alaska — including children and infants — and meets these requirements is eligible to receive a dividend. An infant born to Alaska resident parents will start receiving annual dividends during the first full year after birth. Based on 2017 dividends, a family of four could receive $4,400!

Other U.S. Locations That Will Pay You to Live There

Alaska is the only state that pays people to live there, but some cities have started offering financial or living expense incentives for people — particularly young people and professionals — to relocate there. Here are some of the places in the U.S. that will pay you to live there:

1. Curtis, Neb.

2. Detroit, Mich.

  • Program: Challenge Detroit
  • What you get: $36,000 fellowship to live and work in Detroit. Fellows work for a host company four days a week and volunteer for community service projects.
  • Qualifications: Must live in Detroit for a minimum of one year. Preference given to recent college graduates and young professionals
  • Source: Michigan Live News
  • Find out more about Challenge Detroit

3. Lincoln, Kansas

4. Harmony, Minn.

5. New Haven, Conn.

6. Marquette, Kansas

  • Program: Free Land in Kansas
  • What you get: Free land to build your home
  • Qualifications: Home must meet specified guidelines. Construction must begin within 120 days of accepting the land, and you must live in the home for at least 12 months.
  • Source: FreeLand website for Marquette
  • Find out more about Free Land in Kansas

In Summary

Yes, you can get paid to live in the wilderness. The Alaska Permanent Fund through the Alaska Department of Revenue pays out incentives to permanent residents just for living there. While the average dividend paid out to each resident varies each year, in 2017, each resident received $1,100. Alaska isn’t the only place offering incentives to relocate — several U.S. cities will provide you with free land, money toward home building, remodeling, and more to move into the neighborhood.

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