Toksook Bay, Alaska

By | March 12, 2023

Toksook Bay, Alaska is a small community of around 600 people located in the Bethel Census Area. Located on the eastern coast of Nelson Island, Toksook Bay is bordered by the Bering Sea to the west and the Nunivak Island to the east. The climate in Toksook Bay is mostly cold and wet with an average annual temperature of around 34°F and an average annual precipitation of around 17 inches. See topbbacolleges for information about Aleutians East Borough, Alaska.

The native Yup’ik Eskimos have lived and hunted in this area for thousands of years. In 1878, George Phebus became the first non-native to settle here, followed by other settlers who began fishing and trading with the local people. The town was incorporated as a village in 1961, and it is now governed by a tribal council composed of representatives from each family enrolled in the tribe.

The economy of Toksook Bay relies heavily on subsistence activities such as hunting, trapping, fishing, and gathering wild plants for food. Subsistence activities are supplemented by income from commercial fishing operations and federal grants from programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

The school system consists of two schools: one elementary school (K-6) operated by the local school district, and one high school (7-12) operated by Kawerak Incorporated. Both schools offer a culturally relevant curriculum that includes language classes taught in Yup’ik as well as instruction about traditional methods for hunting and gathering food.

There are several landmarks scattered throughout Toksook Bay which serve to remind visitors of its rich history and culture. Notable landmarks include St Paul’s Catholic Church—the oldest standing building in town—and Phebus’ Trading Post—the oldest structure built by Europeans on Nelson Island—as well as several traditional fish camps where locals gather during summer months to fish together. In addition to these landmarks, there are also several public parks which provide beautiful views of both land and sea.

Population: 532. Estimated population in July 2020: 542 (+1.9% change)
Males: 288 (54.1%), Females: 244 (45.9%)

Zip code: 99637

Median resident age: 22.5 years
Median household income: $30,208
Median house value: $42,500

Races in Toksook Bay:

  • American Indian (97.6%)
  • Two or more races (3.2%)
  • White Non-Hispanic (2.4%)

Ancestries: English (3.4%), German (1.5%).

Land area: 33.1 square miles

Toksook Bay, Alaska



Toksook Bay is a small Yup’ik Eskimo village located on the east coast of Nelson Island in the Norton Sound region of Alaska. It is home to roughly 690 residents and is accessible only by air or boat. The majority of the population are Yup’ik Eskimos, but there are also some non-Native Americans who live in Toksook Bay. The majority of the population speak English, as well as Yup’ik, and many also have a good understanding of both languages.

The village has a traditional subsistence lifestyle with most people relying on hunting and fishing for their food. Residents have access to abundant seafood such as salmon, halibut, cod, and herring which they use for sustenance and to trade with other villages. Hunting caribou, moose, bear, seal and walrus are also common activities in Toksook Bay. The village also serves as a base for commercial fishermen who fish for crab and pollock in nearby waters.

The community has several organizations that support social services including health care facilities operated by Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC), Toksook Bay Tribal Council (TBTC), school district operated by Lower Kuskokwim School District (LKSD), local Native Corporation – Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation (NSEDC) and several others that help support the local economy and provide services such as housing assistance programs, elder care programs, alcohol recovery programs etc.

For population 25 years and over in Toksook Bay

  • High school or higher: 59.0%
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher: 9.2%
  • Graduate or professional degree: 1.7%
  • Unemployed: 15.3%
  • Mean travel time to work: 4.1 minutes

For population 15 years and over in Toksook Bay city

  • Never married: 47.4%
  • Now married: 45.9%
  • Separated: 0.0%
  • Widowed: 4.5%
  • Divorced: 2.1%

0.0% Foreign born

Population change in the 1990s: +110 (+26.1%).


Hospitals/medical centers near Toksook Bay:



Airports certified for carrier operations nearest to Toksook Bay:

  • BETHEL (about 227 miles; BETHEL, AK; Abbreviation: BET)
  • NOME (about 274 miles; NOME, AK; Abbreviation: OME)
  • COLD BAY (about 402 miles; COLD BAY, AK; Abbreviation: CDB)

Other public-use airports nearest to Toksook Bay:

  • TOKSOOK BAY (about 1 miles; TOKSOOK BAY, AK; Abbreviation: OOK)
  • TUNUNAK (about 12 miles; TUNUNAK, AK; Abbreviation: 4KA)
  • NIGHTMUTE (about 30 miles; NIGHTMUTE, AK; Abbreviation: IGT)

Colleges and Universities

Colleges/universities with over 2000 students nearest to Toksook Bay:

  • UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA ANCHORAGE (about 1059 miles; ANCHORAGE, AK; Full-time enrollment: 9,453)
  • UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA FAIRBANKS (about 1232 miles; FAIRBANKS, AK; Full-time enrollment: 5,034)
  • BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY-HAWAII CAMPUS (about 2718 miles; LAIE, HI; Full-time enrollment: 2,273)
  • LEEWARD COMMUNITY COLLEGE (about 2733 miles; PEARL CITY, HI; Full-time enrollment: 3,511)
  • HONOLULU COMMUNITY COLLEGE (about 2740 miles; HONOLULU, HI; Full-time enrollment: 2,787)
  • HAWAII PACIFIC UNIVERSITY (about 2741 miles; HONOLULU, HI; Full-time enrollment: 6,186)
  • UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII AT MANOA (about 2742 miles; HONOLULU, HI; Full-time enrollment: 14,113)

Public primary/middle school in Toksook Bay:

  • NELSON ISLAND AREA SCHOOL (Students: 199; Location: GENERAL DELIVERY; Grades: PK – 12)