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Alaska ( (listen); Aleut: Alax̂sxax̂; Inupiaq: Alaasikaq; Alutiiq: Alas'kaaq; Russian: Аляска, translit. Alyaska) is a U.S. state in the northwest extremity of North America , just across the Bering Strait from Asia . The Canadian province of British Columbia and territory of Yukon border the state to the east , its most extreme western part is Attu Island , and it has a maritime border with Russia (Chukotka Autonomous Okrug) to the west across the Bering Strait. To the north are the Chukchi and Beaufort seas—southern parts of the Arctic Ocean . The Pacific Ocean lies to the south and southwest. It is the largest state in the United States by area and the seventh largest subnational division in the world . In addition, it is the 3rd least populous and the most sparsely populated of the 50 United States ; nevertheless, it is by far the most populous territory located mostly north of the 60th parallel in North America : its population —estimated at 738,432 by the United States Census Bureau in 2015 — is more than quadruple the combined populations of Northern Canada and Greenland . Approximately half of Alaska's residents live within the Anchorage metropolitan area . Alaska's economy is dominated by the fishing , natural gas, and oil industries, resources which it has in abundance. Military bases and tourism are also a significant part of the economy.