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Alaska is the largest state of the United States by area; it is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait. Approximately half of Alaska’s 698,473 residents live within the Anchorage metropolitan area. As of 2009, Alaska remains the least densely populated state of the U.S.
The United States Census Bureau, as of July 1, 2008, estimated Alaska’s population at 686,293, which represents an increase of 59,361.