The Lonely Aleutians
A while ago Jon Lange had wondered about the population distribution among the different time zones of the United States. Obviously the Eastern Time Zone has the biggest U.S. population, and the Mountain Time Zone has the lowest population of the four time zones in the contiguous United States.
But what about the other U.S. Time Zones? The Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49, Part 71 defines nine different time zones for U.S. states and territories, including the four familiar time zones plus the Atlantic Time Zone, Alaska Time Zone, Hawaii-Aleutians Time Zone, Samoa Time Zone, and Chamorro Time Zone (in Guam). Oddly enough, they don't define the time in the minor outlying islands; probably those use nautical time.
Let's take a closer look at the Hawaii-Aleutians Time Zone, which is two hours earlier than the Pacific Time Zone. The State of Hawaii doesn't use Daylight Saving Time, so right now people in Hawaii are three hours earlier than I am here in California. But what about the West Aleutians? They're in the same time zone as Hawaii, but they do use DST, so they're two hours behind me here, the only part of the country that currently uses the UTC-9 time offset.
Now let's think back to the original question about population distribution. How many people in the United States are currently two hours behind Pacific Time? This took a lot of poking around on the Census's American Fact Finder. Conveniently, all of the territory in question is in the Aleutians West Census Area (AWCA), but I had to separate out the parts of the AWCA that use Alaska Daylight Time (AKDT) from the parts that use Hawaii-Aleutians Daylight Time (HADT). The time zone boundary is at the 169°30' W longitude line, in Samalga Pass between the Fox Islands and the Islands of Four Mountains, but only in the Aleutian Islands themselves.
There are seven Census-designated places or cities in the AWCA. One of them, the city of Unalaska, forms its own Census tract (Tract 2, population 4,283), but everything else is in Census tract 1, which totaled 1,182 persons in 2000. The Tract 1 towns have the following populations:
- 532 St. Paul (AKDT)
- 152 St. George (AKDT)
- 39 Nikolski (AKDT)
- 316 Adak (HADT)
- 92 Atka (HADT)
- 20 Attu Station (HADT)
- 1,151 Subtotal
- 3 persons live in block 1091, on Atka Island but away from the town,
- 27 persons live in block 1147, in Eareckson Air Station on Shemya Island, and
- 1 lonely person lives in block 1083, Seguam Island, 60 miles from the closest other human being.
Note 1: It would tickle me pink if there were a social club or something like that in Unalaska called the House Committee on Unalaskan Activities.
Note 2: I'll calculate the populations of the other time zones later.
Note 3: We're late enough in the decade now that the results of the 2000 Census are getting out of date. Just 2 more years to go!
Note 4: I had to go in and correct the Wikipedia page on Nikolski, which somebody had mistakenly put in the Hawaii-Aleutians Time Zone.
Note 5: I'm not that experienced in Wikipedia editing, so I don't think I made the references in the most efficient way possible. Specifically, I'd like the reference list to just put the link on the reference, instead of after it as another reference. I'm not sure how to do that, though. If one of you has more experience and could show me, I'd appreciate it.