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The narrow fringe comprising 17 percent of the contiguous land area of the United States is home to more than half of the nation’s population, according to a report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Between 1980 and 2003, population in coastal counties had increased by 33 million people, or 28 percent. Additionally, 23 of the 25 most densely populated counties were coastal. By the year 2008, coastal county population is expected to increase by approximately 7 million.

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