The narrow fringe comprising 17 percent of the contiguous landarea of the United States is home to more than half of the nation'spopulation, according to a report from the National Oceanic andAtmospheric Administration. Between 1980 and 2003, population incoastal counties had increased by 33 million people, or 28 percent.Additionally, 23 of the 25 most densely populated counties werecoastal. By the year 2008, coastal county population is expected toincrease by approximately 7 million.

Public policy makers and coastal managers are confronted withfinding a balance between economic growth and mitigating theeffects of this growth on coastal environments. This task isbecoming ever more challenging, NOAA noted.

Population Trends Along the Coastal United States: 1980-2008 canbe downloaded

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