It was named after William H. Seward, early member of the United States Republican Party, United States Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln. As Secretary of State, he fought for the U.S. purchase of Alaska which he finally negotiated to acquire from Russia.
There were 917 households out of which 35.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.6% were married couples living together, 12.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.4% were non-families. 30.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 3.04.
In the city the population was spread out with 21.9% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 35.9% from 25 to 44, 25.7% from 45 to 64, and 7.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 150.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 166.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $44,306, and the median income for a family was $54,904. Males had a median income of $36,900 versus $30,508 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,360. About 8.3% of families and 10.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.7% of those under age 18 and 7.9% of those age 65 or over.
Seward is unique among most small Alaskan communities in that it has road access in the Seward Highway, a National Scenic Byway and All-American Road, which also brings it bus service, albeit most buses are marketed towards tourists and the costs are higher and service decreases or ceases in the winter. Seward is also the southern terminus of the Alaska Railroad. This keeps the port busy with freight coming on and off the trains, but also makes Seward a primary end point for north-bound cruise ships. Cruise ship passengers get off the boats and take the train farther north to Denali or other Alaskan attractions.
Seward used to receive service from the Alaska Marine Highway (ferry) system, however, service was discontinued at the end of the 2005 season due to budget cuts and "under utilization." Ferry connections are available in Whittier (90 miles North) or Homer (150 miles by highway).
Seward Airport (PAWD/SWD) is home to (general aviation) services and flight-seeing operators. Scheduled commercial service is available at Kenai Municipal Airport in Kenai and Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, both about 100 miles away. Seasonal bus connections are also available.