As of 2011, 17.5 million people were estimated to live in the Bay watershed,up from 17.4 million in 2010. Experts predict the watershed’s population will increase to more than 20 million by 2030.
The way people use the land has a major effect on the Bay and its local waterways. Natural areas like forests and wetlands have a positive effect on the Bay’s health, whereas developed lands generally contribute more pollution.
The Chesapeake Bay’s decline is directly linked to the rise in the number of people that live in the watershed. Since 1950, the Bay watershed’s population has more than doubled.
The indicator is not related to a goal at this time.
Long-term trend (since start of data collection)
From 1950 through 2011, the Bay watershed’s population increased from 8,385,982 to 17,544,371.
Short-term trend (10-year trend)
Between 2000 and 2010, the watershed’s population increased 10.6 percent. This is compared to a 10.3 percent increase in the 1990s and an 11.6 percent increase in the 1980s.
Change from previous year (2010-2011)
The Bay watershed’s population increased from 17,362,535 to 17,544,371.
Variations in Population Growth
Although the Bay watershed’s overall population continues to grow, population changes vary from state to state and region to region. Some areas are gaining population at a high rate. In other areas, population is leveling out or declining.