Table 4-53: Number of People Residing in High Noise Areas Around U.S. Airports (Within 65 dB DNL noise-level contours)

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Year Exposure U.S. resident population (millions)
People (thousands)R Percent of U.S. resident population
1975 7,000 3.25 215.5
1980 5,200 2.29 227.2
1985 3,400 1.43 237.9
1990 2,700 1.08 R249.5
1995 1,700 0.65 262.8
1996 R1,500 0.57 265.2
1997 1,300 0.49 267.8
1998 R1,100 R0.41 270.2
1999 R680 0.25 272.7
2000 R440 R0.16 d 282.1
2001 446 0.16 d 284.8

KEY: dB = decibels; DNL = day-night sound level; R = revised.

a Noise-level contours are graphical representations of noise levels on a map, similar to elevation contours on a topographic map. Noise-level contours are lines that join points of equal sound levels. Areas between given noise-level contour lines would have a noise level between the two contour values. The U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has identified DNL 65 dB as the highest threshold of airport noise exposure that is normally compatible with indoor and outdoor activity associated with a variety of land uses, including residential, recreational, schools, and hospitals.

b Estimates are for areas surrounding airport property of 250 of the largest civil airports with jet operations in the United States. They exclude exposure to aircraft noise within an airport boundary.

c 1975 exposure estimates were made by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 1980-2001 estimates were made by FAA. See the source and accuracy statement for more details on how exposure estimates are made.

d Population estimates for 2000 and 2001 reflect the results of the 2000 census. Data prior to 2000 is still based on data from the 1990 census, but will be updated to reflect the 2000 census in the 2002 edition of the Statistical Abstract of the United States. Therefore, population estimates for 2000 and 2001 may not be comparable to data that does not reflect the 2000 census.

SOURCES

Exposure:

1975-2001: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Office of Environment and Energy (AEE-12), personal communication, Sept. 19, 2002.

Population:

1975-99: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Statistical Abstract of the United States 2001 (Washington, DC: 2001), table 2.

2000-2001: Ibid., table US-2001EST-01 ("Time Series of National Population Estimates: Apr. 1, 2000 to July 1, 2001").