Fast Facts / Economics and Demographics

Economics and Demographics

The information below includes the most up-to-date data available; statistics are for 2018 unless otherwise noted.

Live on the Coast

Coastal counties of the U.S. are home to over 128 million people, or almost 40 percent of the nation's total population, yet the coast accounts for less than 10 percent of the nation's land mass (excluding Alaska).1

34.8 Million Population Increase

From 1970 to 2010, the population in coastal counties increased by 34.8 million people, or approximately 40 percent.2

58.3 Million Jobs

Annually, coastal counties produce more than $9.5 trillion in goods and services, employ 58.3 million people, and pay $3.8 trillion in wages.3

Third in World GDP

If the nation's coastal counties were an individual country, it would rank third in the world in gross domestic product, surpassed only by the United States and China.4

Top Five Coastal Populations

California tops the coastal populations chart with 26.7 million people living in coastal counties, followed by New York with 16 million, Florida with 15.8 million, New Jersey with 7.1 million, and Texas with 6.8 million.5

461 People per Square Mile

Approximately 461 people per square mile live in coastal counties (excluding Alaska), compared to the nation's population density of roughly 87 people per square mile.6

Vulnerable Populations

Approximately 40 percent of Americans living in coastal counties fall into an elevated coastal hazard risk category. These include children, the elderly, households where English isn't the primary language, and those in poverty.7

Demographics graphic stating 40% of the population live on 10% of the land mass
Graphic is presentation-ready: copy and paste for use in a handout or presentation.

The basic geographic footprint for the data represented on this page is a suite of “Coastal Shoreline Counties” determined by using the Federal Emergency Management Agency's definition, which states that a coastal county must

  1. Have a coastline bordering the open ocean or the Great Lakes or
  2. Contain coastal high hazard areas (V-zones).

Handout: Top Ten Marine Economy