I heard once, while traveling through Wyoming, that the folks there are really friendly. I also noticed that the towns are about 70 miles apart, so I asked a guy while pumping gas (this was back in the late '70s, when gas was around 65 cents a gallon).
He said, "Nope, we're not any friendlier than anyone else; just lonely."
I understand that, now. Alaska is 587,412 square miles (about 2 1/2 times the size of Texas, or one-fifth the size of the Lower 48), and has a population of around 731,449 people (as of 2012 Census). Since Anchorage has 291,826 of those, that doesn't leave much for the remainder. In fact, 95% of the state is off the road system. That means air or sea access only.
Add to that the distance from elsewhere ... for example, to get from Anchorage to the state line is a 7-hour drive. Another 20 minutes of driving past the border crossing will get you to the town of Beaver Creek, in the Yukon Territory.
Everything is a long way from here, and there's still only one road in or out of Anchorage. (That's not likely to change, due to topography.) Seattle is over 1,300 air miles to the southeast, or you can drive there in 3+ days. Juneau, our state Capitol, is 650 miles from here, but only accessible by air or sea. It's 365 miles from Anchorage to Fairbanks, which takes about 6 1/2 hours of driving ... that's assuming no road construction or accidents blocking the road. And it's more than 600 miles to the North Slope, over the "haul road" which many of you have seen on Ice Road Truckers.
Nearly everything Outside is south of here ... like British Columbia. :) Many of y'all think of Vancouver as "way up there", but we'd have to drive for three days to get that far south.
And that's another thing: many Lower 48 businesses seem to think Alaska is a foreign country, or overseas. They charge more for shipping by first class mail than the Post Office does, or insist that the ONLY WAY they can ship up here is via 2nd Day Air ... and it still takes 4-5 days for the arrival, anyway. And that's when they'll do business with Alaska at all; a number of companies which feature products on Amazon.com won't even do business with us or Hawaii. One retailer actually said to me in an e-mail, "Alaskans are too fussy." Huh?
There's a movement up here to avoid purchasing from companies that consider Alaska a foreign or overseas destination. We happily joined it long ago.
It's far enough - and expensive enough - that friends from Outside have trouble affording a visit. And after flying this far, you want to stay for several days. Between jet lag and the sheer amount of things to see and do, a short visit would be more frustrating than enlightening.
So, we're sometimes lonely, a bit isolated, and paying slightly higher prices for most goods than elsewhere in the country. (Notable exceptions: Hawaii and California.) But the salaries are higher here, too, and the job market - albeit small - is healthier than average.
But come on up and see us, anyway. The scenery is awesome, and you'll be glad you did. And we'll be happy to see you, and tell you about our wonderful state.
Just don't think you're going to see it all in a short trip. 587,000
square miles is a lot of territory, pilgrim...