Population and Environment

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 284–303 | Cite as

Demographic change and shifting views about marine resources and the coastal environment in Downeast Maine

  • Thomas G. Safford
  • Lawrence C. Hamilton
Original Paper


Connections to the sea often define the character of coastal towns. However, as migrants arrive and economic diversification occurs, views about the use of marine resources and the ocean environment can change. Using survey data from Maine, we examined whether shifting demographics affect public perceptions of marine resource uses and coastal environmental concerns. We tested resource use and environmental items against a common set of demographic, background, and place-related variables. Results indicate that the level of education and the county of residence predict Mainers’ views about different marine resource uses and ocean-related environmental issues. Political party affiliation strongly influences environmental concern but not views about the use of marine resources. Migration history, on the other hand, has little effect. Understanding community contexts as well as individual background and ideological orientations will be critical as managers attempt to balance alternative uses of marine resources and resolve coastal environmental problems.


Environmental attitudes Marine resource management Community Maine 



Funding for this research was provided by the Carsey Institute through a grant from the Ford Foundation. The authors would like to thank Megan Henly, Wil Buxton, and Jessica Ulrich for their contributions to this project. The comments and suggestions from the anonymous reviewers also helped greatly improve the final version of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of New HampshireDurhamUSA

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