For a town with an official population of 5,468, Wasilla is a bustling community. It’s by no means the backward rural outpost you might imagine. I’m filing this post from a coffee shop that serves organic fair-trade coffee from Columbia, Guatamala, Peru and Bolivia. They’ve got Ethiopian coffee, too, but evidently the “organic fair-trade” craze hasn’t taken hold among East African coffee-growers yet.
Actually, the Census Bureau guesstimated over 10,000 in Wasilla in 2008, which is a heck of a growth rate.
And it could have been more than that, government being the growth industry (for nonstandard definitions of both “growth” and “industry”) that it is. From 1994:
For the fifth time in two decades, a measure to move the state capital from Juneau, a waterfront city of 26,000 people, to Wasilla, a frontier-like town of 4,000 people, failed, partly because of voter concerns about the cost of the move. This time, 54.7 percent of the voters said no while 45.3 percent were for the change.
This is slightly misleading, because while this indeed was the fifth attempt to move the capital, different initiatives had different destinations in mind. In 1976, for instance, Alaskans actually passed a measure to move the capital to Willow, not far from Wasilla, but they subsequently defeated a measure that would have paid for the move.