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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 530:233-242 (2015)  -  DOI:

Health, wealth, and education: the socioeconomic backdrop for marine conservation in the developing world

Brendan Fisher1,2,*,**, Alicia M. Ellis2,**, Diane K. Adams3, Helen E. Fox1,5, Elizabeth R. Selig4

1Conservation Science Program, World Wildlife Fund, 1250 24th Street NW, Washington, DC 20037, USA
2Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Vermont, 617 Main Street, Burlington, VT 05405, USA
3Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University, 71 Dudley Road, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA
4Betty and Gordon Moore Center for Science and Oceans, Conservation International, 2011 Crystal Drive, Arlington, VA 22202, USA
5Present address: RARE, 1310 N. Courthouse Rd., Ste. 110, Arlington, VA 22201, USA
*Corresponding author: **These authors contributed equally to this work

ABSTRACT: Interacting drivers and pressures in many parts of the world are greatly undermining the long-term health and wellbeing of coastal human populations and marine ecosystems. However, we do not yet have a well-formed picture of the nature and extent of the human poverty of coastal communities in these areas. In this paper, we begin to fill the gap and present a multi-dimensional picture of the wellbeing of coastal communities, using nationally representative survey data to examine the health, wealth, and educational status of households in over 38000 communities across 38 developing countries. In general, we found high levels of poverty across the 3 dimensions (health, wealth, and education) analyzed, but each dimension also showed large heterogeneity within and across countries. We found that coastal communities had statistically significant higher levels of wellbeing than non-coastal communities. Coastal children were less stunted, less poor, and more likely to live in a higher educated household when compared to non‑coastal households. However, we found that across coastal communities, rural coastal communities had 1.5 times lower height-for-age standard deviation scores (representing high childhood stunting rates), were 4 times more likely to be poor, and were 1.6 times more likely to have low levels of educational attainment. A deeper understanding of human wellbeing along coasts is critical for generating wider social and more long-term economic benefits with respect to coastal marine management.

KEY WORDS: Coastal marine systems · Human health · Childhood stunting · Poverty · Human wellbeing · Education

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Cite this article as: Fisher B, Ellis AM, Adams DK, Fox HE, Selig ER (2015) Health, wealth, and education: the socioeconomic backdrop for marine conservation in the developing world. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 530:233-242.

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