What are the Social Sciences and Social Science Data?

Using Social Science Data and Tools

What are the Social Sciences and Social Science Data?

The social sciences encompass a broad range of disciplines that aim to describe, explain, and predict human behavior and institutional structures as they interact with their environments. The following prominent social science disciplines are included: Economics, sociology, anthropology, demography, geography, psychology, and policy.

This site focuses specifically on coastal economic and demographic data and the benefits of using these data to help address coastal issues.Examples

Economics can examine the potential financial impacts of weather and climate variability as a basis for planning and decision-making. Economics is used to estimate the value of a day at the beach or the value of surf boards that are sold.

Sociology, anthropology, demography, and geography can provide information on a population’s vulnerabilities and behavioral responses to weather risk and climate change. These disciplines can look at the number of elderly people at risk during a hurricane and the likelihood of whether or not they evacuate.

Psychology can interpret how people perceive the risks of an impending storm or whether or not they worry about rising sea levels.

The social sciences encompass a broad range of topics. This site focuses specifically on coastal economic and demographic data and the benefits of using these data to help address coastal issues. The site also provides mapping and visualization techniques to help stakeholders and community leaders better understand the power of this information.

How does one compute the benefits of a beautiful day at the beach?Economic Data

Coastal communities frequently make important natural resource management decisions. Each decision involves trade-offs, with tangible and intangible benefits to consider. Some are easy to factor in, like jobs and wages, but how does one compute the benefits of a beautiful day at the beach? Economics can help. Officials can use economic tools and data to make wise decisions about a variety of scenarios. Additionally, putting economic information into a geospatial format helps users visualize this information and better understand the results.

There are two kinds of economic data: market and nonmarket.

Market Data generally pertain to things that are made and sold but also include the number of businesses in a community, the number of employees, and the amount of money that is generated.

Ocean and Great Lakes Economic Data

Total Economy Data for Coastal Watersheds

Other Market Data Sets (both represented in ENOW)

Other Market Data Sets

Nonmarket data pertain to values that aren’t reflected in the market. For example, data are available on the cost of surfboards, but no sales receipts are generated for the value of a good day of surfing. This information is difficult to quantify, but some data are available.

Demographic Data

Demographics describe population characteristics such as age, gender, race, and location. Some data sets can be used to project future community characteristics. Demographic data are available from many different sources; therefore, the challenge lies in extracting the coastal component from the larger data sets.