All of the 21 oceanfront municipalities have much larger seasonal populations due to the high number of second homes and vacation rental properties. In Emerald Isle, the peak summertime population can reach approximately 40,000 people - much larger than the official permanent population. Because there is not reliable and consistent data available on the total seasonal population among all of the 21 oceanfront municipalities, the total number of housing units (reported by the U.S. Census) is perhaps the most relevant indicator of the true size of a NC oceanfront community. As noted, Emerald Isle has the 2nd most housing units.
Total Housing Units: North Carolina Oceanfront Towns 2010 Census