Population and Housing

US Coastal Pupulation, 2000-2010 Population and Housing data are important parts of ocean and coastal economic picture. Like employment, wages and GDP, the growth or decline in population and housing is an essential measure of economic health.

The vast majority of the nation's population and growth is found along the coasts of the oceans and Great Lakes:
  • 81.5% of the population lives in coastal states on 57% of the nation's land area.
  • 37% of the population can be found in counties adjacent to the oceans and Great Lakes. These counties occupy only 18% of the land.
  • Population densities continue to grow highest in coastal states where dependence on ocean resources are greatest. The coastal states population density in 2012 was about 127 per sq. mile while non-coastal states average density was 38. Shoreline counties had about 182 people per sq. mile; however the nearby non-adjacent Coastal Zone counties had a population density of nearly 189.
  • Overall population growth for the 10 year, 2002-2012 period was 25.8 million people. 79% of the growth occurred in the coastal states and 29% in non-coastal state.
The growth and density of U.S. housing units is similar to those of the population:
  • Of the 132.3 million U.S. housing units in 2011, 81% were in the coastal states.
  • The overall density of U.S. housing units was 37.4 per sq. mile. For coastal states, the density was 53, compared with a housing density of only 16.7 for non-coastal states. While the shore adjacent counties show a high density of 75.7 per sq. mile, it is the nearby non-adjacent coastal counties that hold the highest density of 117.7.
  • Of the 14.4 million U.S. housing units added between 2001 and 2011, 79% were in coastal states and 29% were in shoreline adjacent counties.

updated 25-Mar-2013