About Social Indicators

Lobster Shack in Maine

Social indicators are numerical measures that describe the well-being of individuals or communities. Indicators are comprised of one variable or several components combined into an index. They are used to describe and evaluate community well-being in terms of social, economic, and psychological welfare. To learn more, see indicator development.

These indicators have been updated to include all communities in coastal counties in the United States. They provide a characterization of the well-being and level of dependence on commercial and recreational fishing for over 3,800 communities. The index score for a particular community is relative to all communities in the index and would differ with a more regional focus. For a regional assessment contact a NOAA Fisheries social scientist in your region.

Explore the Indicator Map


Check out the interactive map of social indicators to see where your community ranks among other communities.

Indicator Definitions


Curious to learn more? Check out indicator definitions to see what the indicators mean.

Community Vulnerability


Indicators help to gauge community vulnerability and resilience to change. See our conceptual diagram and example to learn more.

Using the Indicators


Are fishing communities different from other communities? Check out the answer.