How many times have we read an academic paper, report, or book on some aspect of coastal hazards where somewhere within the first few paragraphs or pages it states that approximately 53% (or more) of the U.S. population lives within coastal counties, the coastal zone, or in coastal regions? Some of these publications focus on coastal water quality or other environmental issues; others center on geomorphological issues, such as sea-level rise, coastal erosion, or the potential impacts of hurricanes and nor'easters on the coastal population. Examples include:

The oft-cited “More than 53% of the U.S. population lives in the coastal zone” usually comes from one of two reports available online from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): “Population: distribution, density and growth,” by Thomas J. Culliton (1998),2 or “Population trends along the coastal United States: 1980–2008,” by Crossett et al. (2004)...

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