Supporting Information

Here we have included some important information about the social indicators data, including map data specifications and caveats about the indicators themselves. For more in-depth information on the social indicators, read Development of Social Indicators of Fishing Community Vulnerability and Resilience in the U.S. Southeast and Northeast Regions or contact us.

Data Specifications

  • Area of Coverage: U.S. communities in coastal counties
  • Dates Available: Census 2005-2009 ACS 5yr; NMFS 2009
  • Format: Shapefile; Excel
  • Scale: Census Designated Place (CDP), Minor Civil Division (MCD)  and Census County Division (CCD)

Data Units

American Community Survey Census data from the 5 year estimates 2005-2009 was primarily collected at the Census Designated Place (CDP) level. In the Northeast, some community data were collected at the Minor Civil Division (MCD) level and in Hawaii at the Census County Division (CCD) level.

Indicator Rankings

The indicators are factor scores that are normalized such that 0 is the mean. We chose to categorize them by standard deviation to offer a more intuitive view of their ranking.

RankMathematical Description
HighAt or above 1 standard deviation
Medium High.50 to .99 standard deviation
Medium0 to .49 standard deviation
LowBelow 0 standard deviation
Not availableInsufficient data

Recreational Reliance and Engagement Indices

Recreational indices are available for the Northeast, Southeast and Alaska regions only. NOAA’s Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) data was used for the creation of the recreational engagement and reliance indices for Northeast and Southeast states except for Texas who does not participate in the MRIP data collection effort. Recreational indices for Texas were developed by the Southeast Regional Office using NOAA recreational permits data and boat ramp data from the state of Texas. The Alaska indices were developed by the Alaska Fisheries Science Center using data from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game on individual sportfishing, sportfishing guide businesses, and charter businesses in a community.

The indices for all states were developed using the same methodology (although variables for Alaska and Texas differed) and categorized on the same four item scale. Given the difference in data, it should be noted that the rankings for Texas and Alaska are relative to each state and are not part of a larger overview of recreational fishing engagement and reliance.

Sea Level Rise Risk

Land area at elevations from one to six feet above mean higher high water (MHHW) within community boundaries were calculated using coastal elevation data developed by the NOAA High-resolution digital elevation models (DEMs; five- to 10-meter horizontal resolution) from the National Elevation Dataset ( for coastal areas of the US, adjusting them for variations in local tide levels ( We chose a ‘bathtub’ approach that estimates the inland spread of water as sea level rises by comparing elevation values of the eight neighboring cells to the value of a particular cell in a DEM raster. Using the same coastal communities in our development of CSVIs, the area of potential sea level rise impacts in communities was computed by overlapping the remaining, or land, areas of municipality shapefiles with NOAA elevation shapefiles from one to six feet.

Note: See the Office of Coastal Management’s Digital Coast website for more information and other tools regarding Sea Level Rise: