US Population 2000-2019


Coastal Economy Data

The visualization presented here shows the US coastal economy by sector. It begins with the US coastal  GDP for each sector of the ocean economy. Users may search by state and/or county , sector, and year. Users may also change the graph variable to examine trends in GDP, Wages, Employment, and establishments. For more information on how to use the NOEP Apps, view the manual.

The second visualization right below the economic graphs shows trends in population and housing for US costal areas.

Population and Housing Data

Coastal Economy Definitions 

Coastal Economy data includes all activities and industries reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the coastalcounties. To access OceanEconomy Data, which contains only industries dependent on the ocean, see OceanEconomy Data.

 The Coastal Economy consists of all economic activity in the coastal region from barber shops to surf shops, restaurants and hotels. The industries that represent these activities are aggregated into the supersectors defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These supersectors are available in different geographic subsets of the coastal region and comprise the NOEP Coastal Economy.

The Coastal Economy definition of NOEP relies on a tiered approach of geography extending inland from the shorelines of the ocean or Great Lakes. The definitions of tiers county boundaries. The following categories are used starting with the shore-line and proceeding in an inland direction:

    Near-Shore: establishments or population located in a zip code that is immediately adjacent to an ocean, Great Lake, or included river or bay. Shore-Adjacent Coastal Zone County: a county touched in whole or in part by a state's coastal zone for purposes of the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 as defined by that state and which is adjacent to an ocean, Great Lake, or included river or bay. Non-shore-Adjacent Coastal Zone County: a county touched in whole or in part by a state's coastal zone for purposes of the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 as defined by that state and which is not adjacent to an ocean, Great Lake, or included river or bay. Coastal Zone Counties: counties comprised of shore-adjacent plus non-shore adjacent counties. For Illinois, which does not have a Federal Coastal Zone Management program, the coastal zone counties are defined as Cook and Lake counties. Both are shore-adjacent. Non-Coastal Zone Watershed County: a county that is located outside of the coastal zone, but within a coastal watershed. Coastal Watershed County: a county located within a coastal watershed as defined by the U.S. Geological Survey. Watershed counties include all coastal zone counties and upland counties. Inland County: a county located outside a coastal watershed.

The Coastal Economy data in NOEP use the broadest definitions of industrial activity as described by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).

Under NAICS, the following sectors (called "super sectors" in the Bureau of Labor Statistics NAICS-based employment data) are shown:

  • Construction
  • Education and Health Services
  • Financial Activities
  • Information
  • Leisure and Hospitality
  • Manufacturing
  • Natural Resources and Mining
  • Other Services
  • Professional and Business Services
  • Public Administration
  • Total, all industries
  • Trade, Transportation, and Utilities

Population and Housing Definitions and Description 

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:

  • 81.4% of the population lives in coastal states on 57% of the nation's land area.
  • 37.4% of the population can be found in counties adjacent to the oceans and Great Lakes. These counties occupy less than 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 2016 was about 130 per sq. mile while non-coastal states average density was 39. Shoreline counties had about 193 people per sq. mile; however the nearby non-adjacent Coastal Zone counties had a population density of over 306, an increase of 52.7 people per sq. mile and a growth rate of 20.8% since 2000.
  • Overall U.S. population growth for the 16 year, 2000-2016 period was 41.7 million people. 79.3% of the growth occurred in the coastal states and 29% in shore-adjacent counties.

The growth and density of U.S. housing units is similar to those of the population:

  • Of the 135.7 million U.S. housing units in 2016, 81% were in the coastal states.
  • The overall density of U.S. housing units was 38.4 per sq. mile. For coastal states, the density was 54.3, compared with a housing density of only 17.2 for non-coastal states. While the shore adjacent counties show a high density of 82.1 per sq. mile, it is the nearby non-adjacent coastal counties that hold the highest density of 123.2.
  • Of the 19.8 million U.S. housing units added between 2000 and 2016, 79.1% were in coastal states and 30.3% were in shoreline adjacent counties.

The NOEP demographics database contains population and housing data for the coastal states and counties from the 1970 to 2010 censuses, with yearly estimates from 2001 to 2019.

Population and housing data are gathered from the U.S. Census Bureau online databases for all coastal counties and states. Coastal counties are those defined by the coastal states in accordance with the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, which includes the Great Lakes states. U.S. national population and housing data also are provided for the above years for comparison.

For recent years, the data are extracted from the Census's data tables using their Application Programming Interface (API) and are compiled into the NOEP database. Estimates for the Virgin Islands are compiled from other sources, when available.

Land areas, in square miles, are also available from the Population and Housing search pages. These areas represent the dry land totals and exclude lakes, rivers, and other major bodies of water. Land area values are compiled from the U.S. Census Bureau and ESRI GIS tables.