Impacts of demographic and economic change in Oregon's coastal communities Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/wm117t40h

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  • Coastal communities in Oregon have experienced dramatic economic and demographic change during the 1980s. Although the timber and fishing sectors are still important, the economies of coastal communities now rely more on non-earned income and tourism. Non-earned income sources, such as transfer payments and investment earnings, account for over forty percent of total personal income in coastal communities. This increase in non-earned income is mainly due to the increasing elderly population, which is perhaps the most notable demographic change in coastal communities. The immigration of retirees accounts for a high percentage of the increase in the elderly population. On the other hand, tourism is important not only for its direct impact, but also for secondary and induced impacts in the economy. Encouragement of this sector is now an economic development priority in coastal communities. Growth of the tourism industry is expected to offset, in part, economic decline of the timber and the fishing industry. This study investigates the impacts of economic and demographic change on natural resource based industry. Analysis of economic and demographic characteristics of three coastal communities shows that economic and demographic changes differ in each community. These differences, together with differences in community characteristics, make the potential impacts arising from economic and demographic change unique in each community. Findings suggest that generalization of potential impacts among communities is not always adequate. Investigating these impacts community by community is a better approach and will provide more reliable information needed for local policy making. This study hypothesized that the natural resource based industry is affected by economic and demographic changes through local government policy. Examples from three coastal communities, Newport, Reedsport and Gold Beach, illustrate how economic and demographic changes are influencing local policy. However, only examples from Newport provided clear evidence of impacts on natural resource based industry. Therefore, current evidence is not yet conclusive for rejecting or failing to reject this hypothesis. The findings show, however, that there is a need to study these impacts more extensively. This study proposes a methodology which may be instructive for further research.
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