Nope. Dream on. There is a thing called the Permanent Fund Dividend, which is our share of the oil leases. It runs between $600 and has been as high as $2000 a year, and you don't know how much it will be because it is based on market prices. But don't get too excited.
For one thing if you owe the Federal government money, they can snatch it away from you just like they can garnish wages. That includes student loans, kids. So don't be running away to Alaska thinking you are going to somehow disappear from their clutches. We have computers and the IRS here, too. Yep, just like everywhere else.
You in the Lower 48 have no idea how much it costs to live here. That PFD is spent on heating fuel, or insurance, or other necessities of life. Not to mention that the oil companies artificially jack up the price of gasoline up here so that do we really get any benefit from that PFD? Nope. We pay way more for gasoline here in Fairbanks, even though we are less than 20 miles from the refinery and it is OUR oil! We pay out far more in gas than the PFD covers. It's all just bait-and-switch.
There are poor, misguided individuals who have a passel of children thinking that each child's PFD is going to support the family. Those families live in waterless cabins, often without adequate heat, with children who really ought to go into foster care. It costs far, far more than a measly $1000 (average, but it really varies) per year to raise a child! These folks are definitely math-impaired, not to mention completely lacking in common-sense.
2. There's free land in Alaska! The State will give you free land!
No, it won't. Frequently Asked Questions about Alaska State Land Offerings There is no homesteading program in Alaska, hasn't been for quite some time.
Tip: NEVER buy land without walking it in person. There are things about the land up here that folks from the Lower 48 just don't know about such as permafrost (you can't always see it, it's good to get your land tested), ice lenses (where there's frozen water under the ground) and other issues such as accessibility. Lots of land that looks great on the internet is actually what we call swamp up here. Build on it and sink!
3. It's cold and freezing and snowing all the time in Alaska.
Guess again! In the Interior it can get up to 100°F in the summer. Well, for a few days at a time, anyway. It's not Albuquerque. But we have gorgeous summer days with temps in the 80s most of the summer. Of course the farther north you go, the cooler it gets. Alaska is humongous: two and a half times the size of Texas. That means we have more than one climate here. Above the arctic circle naturally it never gets all that warm. Way down in Juneau and Anchorage you have the ocean's warming effect. There is more than one climate here, that's for sure.
4. Everyone mushes dogs to get places in Alaska.
What Disney movie have you been watching? Even in many remote areas snow machines ("snowmobiles" to you Outsiders) have replaced dog teams. I drive either a 4WD truck, or a front-wheel drive car. You don't need 4WD to go on paved roads and well-maintained gravel roads. My trusty '89 Camry deals with ice and snow fine as long as it isn't too deep.
5.In the Summer it suddenly gets light for 24 hours a day and then in the Winter it suddenly goes dark 24 hours a day.
Nope. We are still rotating around the sun just like you are! There's no big Light Switch in the Sky. The change is gradual in both directions. Here's a graph to show you how it works here in the Fairbanks area. Fairbanks Area Daylight
6."I'm going to move to remote Alaska and live off the land! Till the soil! Shoot meat for the family! Run through the fields with a net collecting wild yeast to make my bread!"
Okay, first of all you are a nut. Second of all, in many places in Alaska there is no topsoil. If you want to grow food for the family you'll be totally out of luck until you clear out a lot of trees and start building soil. And a big moose fence so they don't eat all your produce. If you are in a bear area, well, I'm a weenie and I wouldn't live in a bear area. Call me crazy, but I'm afraid of bears. Yeah, go ahead and send the kids out to play in the yard next to your garden and compost heap...right.
Third, the growing season is intense, with all the sunlight that we have, but unless you are really, really good I would not count on being able to farm enough to sustain a family all winter. The only crops you'll be able to keep are root vegetables, and I don't want to be cooped up in a cabin all winter with a family that is eating mostly cabbage.
Speaking of eating cabbage, remember that you'll all have to use the outhouse, not a nice warm bathroom. Or a "honeybucket," a five gallon bucket with a seat on it so you can do your business inside. But remember, that thing is in the house with you. And you have to carry outside sometime, staggering around in -40° in ice and snow....maybe your foot will slip.....
The race to cut enough wood to keep warm through the winter is intense, too. You don't want to be out cutting wood in winter temperatures.
The whole Into The Wild Scenario is something you don't want to replay with your family or loved ones. I'm sorry to say that people insist on romanticizing remote living in Alaska, and Alaska in general and don't realize the dangers and realities of living in a remote area. And every few years there is a terrible tragedy involving people who think they are going to go back in time. Don't be one of them.
One last thing: people up here die all the time from being too far from modern medical facilities. It's the gamble we take. Even myself, living only 10 miles from Fairbanks, could experience a delay that could cost my life. And I live where an ambulance can get to me!
7. Marijuana is legal in Alaska!
Well, yes and no. The Feds say it is illegal and they still vigorously prosecute up here, regardless of State laws. No free lunch, kids.
The State says you can have up to 1oz IN YOUR HOME with no penalty. Up to 4 oz. is a misdemeanor, $1000 fine, 90 days in jail. From there it's all felonies and big fines.
Check here for law and repercussions regarding marijuana. Remember, the Feds are still after dopers so don't get too excited. Obama may be calling off the dogs, but that hasn't happened yet!
Bottom line: It's not a reason to move to Alaska!
And you can't walk around with marijuana, that's still a crime.
The list will continue...