Within the limited space of the nation’s coast, population density far exceeds the nation as a whole, and this trend will continue into the future. This situation presents coastal managers with the challenge of protecting both coastal ecosystems from a growing population and protecting a growing population from coastal hazards.
If current population trends continue, the already crowded U.S. coast will see population grow from 123 million people to nearly 134 million people by 2020, putting more of the population at increased risk from extreme coastal storms like Sandy and Isaac, which severely damaged infrastructure and property last year.
To learn more about how the U.S. coastal population is changing, get your questions ready and tune in for our Coastal Population Tweetchat.
This Tweetchat occured on April 17, 2013. An archive of the Tweetchat is available online.
Dr. Holly Bamford, NOS Assistant Administrator
Dr. Holly A. Bamford is the assistant administrator for NOAA's National Ocean Service. As Assistant Administrator, Dr. Bamford oversees NOS, which serves as the lead federal agency providing science-based solutions to address evolving economic, environmental, and social pressures on our oceans and coasts. Prior to this appointment, she served as deputy assistant administrator for NOS, where she managed the financial and business operations while strategically improving the agency’s performance to meet its vast ocean science and service missions. Learn more about Dr. Bamford on the NOS website.
According to the report, which analyzed data from the 2010 census, 39 percent of the U.S. population is concentrated in counties directly on the shoreline - less than 10 percent of the total U.S. land area excluding Alaska, and that 52 percent of the total population lives in counties that drain to coastal watersheds, less than 20 percent of U.S. land area, excluding Alaska. A coastal watershed is an area in which water, sediments, and dissolved material drain to a common coastal outlet, like a bay or the ocean.
The National Coastal Population Report: Populations Trends from 1970 to 2020, issued in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau, updates and expands a 2004 report that detailed and projected coastal population trends from 1980 to 2008.