Long Beach Island, N.J.
In this aerial photograph, heavy equipment pushes sand to restore a barrier dune along the Atlantic Ocean on Long Beach Island, N.J., Friday, Nov. 9, 2012, after the region was pounded by Superstorm Sandy the previous week.
The population along the U.S. Coast will continue to boom in the coming years, despite the increased risk from extreme weather like Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Katrina. That's according to a report by NOAA and the U.S. Census Bureau.
If the current growth continues, the population along the U.S. coast will grow to 134 million people by 2020. Right now, 123 million people live along the coast.
The report offers coastal managers and residents a unique look at trends that could impact their communities. It provides a way to them to plan for the possibility of how monster storms and extreme weather will affect a burgeoning population.
"People who live near the shore, and managers of these coastal communities, should be aware of how this population growth may affect their coastal areas over time," said Holly Bamford, Ph.D., assistant NOAA administrator for the National Ocean Service.
"As more people move to the coast, county managers will see a dual challenge--protecting a growing population from coastal hazards, as well as protecting coastal ecosystems from a growing population."
Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Isaac severely damaged infrastructure and property along the East and Gulf Coasts last year. Sandy slammed the Northeast coast, causing more than a billion dollars in damage. New Jersey and New York were particularly hard hit. Isaac hit the Gulf Coast in August, knocking out power to almost a million customers and putting entire communities underwater.
"Whether you're talking about watershed counties or shoreline counties, the coast is substantially more crowded than the U.S. as a whole," said report editor Kristen Crossett of NOAA's National Ocean Service. "Population density in shoreline counties is more than six times greater than the corresponding inland counties."
From 1970 to 2010, the population alone the U.S. coast increased by 39 percent, according to NOAA and the U.S. Census Bureau.
See the complete report by NOAA and the U.S. Census Bureau.