National Coral Reef Monitoring Program:
Understanding Socioeconomic Connections

A young boy fishes with a bamboo rod in the Multiple Use Zone of National Marine Sanctuary of American SamoaA young boy fishes with a bamboo rod in the Multiple Use Zone of National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa. (Photo: Apulu Veronika Molio'o Mata'utia Mortenson)

The Socioeconomic Component of the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP) collects and monitors socioeconomic information, including human use of coral reef resources, knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions of coral reefs and coral reef management, and demographics of the populations living in coral reef areas. The overall goal of the socioeconomic monitoring component is to track relevant information regarding each jurisdiction's population, social and economic structure, the benefits of coral reefs and related habitats, the perceived impacts of society on coral reefs, and the impacts of coral management on communities. NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) uses the information to improve programs designed to protect coral reefs at local, regional, and national levels, as well as to inform continuing research and communication products.


In 2007, the NOAA CRCP underwent an external review by an expert panel to provide an independent assessment of CRCP's effectiveness in meeting its mandates and to suggest recommendations for improvement. One of the key recommendations of this review was to increase CRCP's social science portfolio by engaging local communities and better assessing the social and economic consequences of management policies, interventions, and activities on those communities. The main purpose of the Socioeconomic Component of NCRMP is to answer the following questions: What is the status of human knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions regarding coral reefs? And, how are human uses of, interactions with, and dependence on coral reefs changing over time?


The NCRMP socioeconomic indicators were developed through an iterative process. These 13 indicators provide information that assists CRCP in answering the questions above.

Two streams of data are integrated to inform the indicators for each of the seven inhabited US coral reef jurisdictions: South Florida, the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Hawai’i, American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). First, residents in each coral jurisdiction are surveyed every 5-7 years. Second, additional socioeconomic data are compiled using secondary data sources, such as the US Census Bureau and local government agencies. Jurisdictional findings are then able to support national metrics.

Additional information on the indicators and survey results from each jurisdiction can be found in the links below.

Updates for Active NCRMP Socioeconomic Survey Efforts

Outreach Products



Complete list of publications produced by the NCRMP Socioeconomic Team.


For more information, contact: