According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.9 square miles (10.0 km²), of which, 1.9 square miles (4.8 km²) of it is land and 2.0 square miles (5.2 km²) of it (51.55%) is water.
There were 78 households out of which 61.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.8% were married couples living together, 15.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 17.9% were non-families. 16.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 4.83 and the average family size was 5.50.
In the city the population was spread out with 44.0% under the age of 18, 13.3% from 18 to 24, 20.7% from 25 to 44, 15.9% from 45 to 64, and 6.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 21 years. For every 100 females there were 106.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 113.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $30,833, and the median income for a family was $30,179. Males had a median income of $31,875 versus $21,875 for females. The per capita income for the city was $8,360. About 25.4% of families and 26.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.9% of those under age 18 and 30.0% of those age 65 or over.
In about 1900, reindeer were brought to the area and some people were trained as reindeer herders.
An airstrip was built at Kivalina in 1960. Kivalina incorporated as a second-class city in 1969. During the 1970s, a new school and an electric system were constructed in the village.
Due to severe sea wave erosion during storms, the City hopes to relocate again to a new site 12 km (7.5 miles) from the present site. Studies of alternate sites are ongoing. Financing for the move, estimated to cost hundreds of millions of dollars, is problematic.
Kivalina has also sued Canadian mining company Teck Cominco for polluting its water source.