“The Coast” is Complicated: A Model to Consistently Describe the Nation’s Coastal Population
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Our nation’s coast is a complicated management area where no single delineation provides all of the demographic statistics needed to address the full range of policy and management issues. As a result, several different coastal delineations are currently being used, yielding a variety of US coastal population statistics. This paper proposes a simple model for generating and applying coastal population statistics at the national and regional level to increase consistency in coastal policy discussions and improve public understanding of coastal issues. The model includes two major components. The first component is “the population that most directly affects the coast,” represented by the permanent US population that resides in a standard suite of Coastal Watershed Counties, where land use and water quality changes most directly impact coastal ecosystems. The second component is “the population most directly affected by the coast,” represented by the permanent US population that resides in a standard suite of Coastal Shoreline Counties that are directly adjacent to the open ocean, major estuaries, and the Great Lakes, which due to their proximity to these waters, bear a great proportion of the full range of effects from coastal hazards and host the majority of economic production associated with coastal and ocean resources.
KeywordsCoastal population Coastal counties Coastal Watershed Counties Coastal Shoreline Counties
The authors would like to thank Mark Crowell of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Linwood Pendleton of Duke University, Marc Perry of the U.S. Census Bureau, and Charles Colgan of the University of Maine for their contributions to this paper.
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