North Atlantic Region

Geography & Economy

NOAA’s North Atlantic region extends from Maine to Virginia and encompasses the marine coastlines of 11 states, as well as Vermont and the Connecticut, Delaware, Hudson and Susquehanna river watersheds. It varies from the largest city (New York City) to the smallest state (Rhode Island). This area is rich with history, culture and economic opportunities. It is characterized by several large scale geographic features including the Gulf of Maine and Cape Cod Bay and estuarine systems including Long Island Sound, New York Bight, Delaware Bay and Chesapeake Bay. The geology includes rocky shorelines, wetlands, and beach/dune complexes as well as significant barrier island systems with extensive intertidal and freshwater wetland complexes, and low lying sandy coastal plains.

The North Atlantic is home to 70 million people. One hundred eighty coastal counties (and the District of Columbia) constitute 40 percent of the total land area, and 58 million residents, approximately 82 percent of the region’s population. Almost the entire U.S. eastern seaboard is linked by the I-95 Interstate, which runs from Florida through Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, and up to Boston and into Maine. Climate change will place additional areas at risk due to coastal storm surge, flooding, sea level rise, salt water intrusion, and changes to temperature and precipitation extremes. Over 1,000 square miles along the Northeast coast are threatened by a predicted 20-inch rise in sea level by the end of this century.

The North Atlantic has significant coastal-dependent industries. In New England, the ocean economy accounts for 200,000 jobs, $6.1 billion in wages and $11.2 billion of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) [3] with seventy-five percent of the jobs in tourism and recreation. In the Mid-Atlantic, the ocean economy accounts for over 600,000 jobs, $20.3 billion in wages and $40.2 billion of GDP, with seventy-nine percent in tourism and recreation and another 12 percent from marine transportation. The North Atlantic has four of the Nation’s ten largest metropolitan areas, three of the top five U.S. ports (value of fish landed) and five of the Nation’s top 20 ports (international cargo volume).


NOAA in Your State

To view a summary of NOAA facilities, staff, programs, or activities based in, or focused on, your state or territory, please click here. This site has a list available as an MS Word document and/or PDF by each state.

NOAA has 81 facilities and 9,215 employees in the North Atlantic region, including headquarters employees in Silver Spring, MD and Washington, DC. Excluding these two major centers brings our employee total to 4,104. Additionally, a significant amount of regional capacity resides in NOAA-funded non-governmental entities.


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