I wouldn’t say that most people live near the coasts per se. Given the space between the coasts and the major cities not near coasts, there are a lot of people who live inland. Historically, port cities are usually bustling hubs. Port cities are centers for commerce and trade because that’s where ships come and go with cargo. Economic growth also sparks immigration (into a country) and emigration (out of a country), so port cities are the entries for both immigrants and emigrants. Given the economic possibility within port cities, it’s easy to see why we have huge cities on coasts (New York, Boston, Seattle, etc.).
More people do not necessarily live on the coasts, but the populations there are generally more dense than in the middle of the country. Many of the country’s largest-populated cities (New York, Boston, San Francisco) are on the coast, and they have the most dense populations.
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