Public Release: 

Explore The Coast Online

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Did you know?

  • Coastal areas are the most developed in the nation. This narrow fringe -- comprising 17% of the contiguous U.S. land area -- is home to more than 53% of the nation's population. Further, this coastal population is increasing by 3,600 people per day, giving a projected total increase of 27 million people between now and 2015.

  • In 1960, an average of 187 people were living on each square mile of coastal land (excluding that in Alaska). This population density increased to 273 persons per square mile by 1994, and is expected to reach 327 by 2015. Population densities are highest along the East Coast, especially in the Northeast.

  • Coastal counties are undergoing more development than noncoastal areas, as they include 16 of the 20 counties with the largest number of new housing units under construction.

  • Since 1990, the United States has consistently ranked fifth in world fisheries catch by weight. The U.S. catch was 5% of the world's total production of marine and freshwater products in 1995.

  • Each year, millions of gallons of oil and other hazardous chemicals are released into U.S. waters and sensitive habitats from vessels, oil wells, pipelines,and facilities across the nation

  • At the national level, no fewer than 14 Federal programs within five cabinet-level departments are working to restore coastal habitats, while at least 11 Federal laws authorize and fund restoration activities.

These and many other facts about the nation's coasts can be found in NOAA's State of the Coast Report, a World Wide Web site offering concise essays on a variety of topics related to the health of our nation's coastal areas. You can visit this site at

For more information, contact:
Tom La Pointe, 301-713-3000, x168

--March 16-17: JASON project
--April 24: EARTH DAY Visit the web site at
--May-September: EXPO 98: "Oceans, A Heritage for the Future, Lisbon, Portugal
-- June 8: OCEANS DAY


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