The growth in population of coastal areas illustrates the importance of emergency planning and preparedness for areas that are susceptible to inclement tropical conditions. The U.S. Census Bureau’s official population estimates, along with annually updated socioeconomic data from the American Community Survey, provide a detailed look at the nation’s growing coastal population. Emergency planners and community leaders can better assess the needs of coastal populations using census data.
Coastline Population Trends in the United States: 1960 to 2008 — This historical report uses a combination of decennial census data and population estimates to examine population trends along the country’s saltwater edges — the nation’s coastline counties.
Between 1960 and 2008, the population in coastline counties along the Gulf of Mexico soared by 150 percent, more than double the rate of increase of the nation's population as a whole. This area is now home to nearly 14 million residents.
Eighty-seven million people, or 29 percent of the U.S. population, live in coastline counties, including more than 41 million in Atlantic and 32 million in Pacific counties. In 1960, only 47 million lived in coastline counties, an increase of 40 million.