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Is North Slope Borough the Largest County in the US by Area?

We recently prepared a comprehensive report of 20 Largest Counties in the US by Area, that also includes North Slope Borough. If you want to check out the full free list, please go to 20 largest counties in the US by Area.

Out of the 3,143 counties and county-equivalents in the country, 29 are situated in Alaska, with 13 of them ranking among the 20 largest counties in the US by Area. Although the North Slope Borough (NSB) is not referred to as a county in the state, it is a county-equivalent and is considered a county by the Census Bureau.

Leading Industry and Key Players in North Slope Borough  

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, North Slope Borough is home to 6 of the 100 largest oil fields, including the Prudhoe Bay Oil Field – the largest oil field in the U.S. The Borough also houses 1 of the 100 largest natural gas fields in the United States. At the beginning of 2022, Alaska had proven crude oil reserves of 3.2 billion barrels of which over 95% of crude oil occurs on the North Slope.  It’s interesting to note that over 4,000 NSB residents are employed in the North Slope oil fields, and work at least half the year in these oil and gas fields. While the employment rate in the borough stands at 73.4%, the median household income (Alaska Slope jobs salary on average per household) stands at $83,472.

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With oil and gas being the largest industry in the North Slope Borough, the borough is naturally a big market for the key players in the US oil industry. Among the 15 companies listed as members of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association (AOGA), three major ones include Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE:XOM), Chevron Corp (NYSE:CVX), and ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP).

Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE:XOM) is one of the largest oil producers in North Slope Borough. It first invested around $4 billion in Point Thomson in 2016 and built facilities designed to produce up to 10,000 barrels of natural gas per day. According to the Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE:XOM), the Point Thomson reservoir holds about 8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, 200 million barrels of natural gas condensate, and a high-quality hydrocarbon that is similar to kerosene or diesel.

Is North Slope Borough the Largest County in the US by Area?
Is North Slope Borough the Largest County in the US by Area?

Galyna Andrushko/Shutterstock.com

NSB: Area and Population Stats

NSB has a total land area of 88,823.63 square miles, with a population of only 10,603 permanent residents as of 2023. Of the 10,603 individuals, 55% of the population is indigenous to the borough, with most of them identifying as Iñupiat. The population of the borough lives in 8 different communities, namely Anaktuvuk Pass, Atqasuk, Kaktovik, Nuiqsut, Point Hope, Point Lay, Utqiagvik, and Wainwright.

Uthiagvik, formerly known as Barrow, serves as the Borough seat of government, or the capital of the borough. According to the Alaska North Slope map by population, Uthiagvik is also the largest city in the North Slope borough, housing nearly half of the NSB population. Between 2022 and 2023, the county has seen a population decline of 3.9%, with the population going down from 10,811 to 10,603 people. Primarily, this is due to the overall state population decline which is influenced by many factors including declining birth rates, long-term decline of Alaska's working-age population, and political challenges.

Is North Slope Borough the Biggest County in the US by Area?

So to answer the question, no, North Slope Borough is not the biggest county in the US by area. With an area of 88,823.63 square miles, it is the 4th biggest.

 

To find out the largest county in the US by area, and overall, please visit our free report -- 20 Largest Counties in the US by Area.