Sea-level budgets account for the contributions of processes driving sea-level change, but are predominantly focused on global-mean sea level and limited to the 20th and 21st centuries. Here we estimate site-specific sea-level budgets along the U.S. Atlantic coast during the Common Era (0–2000 CE) by separating relative sea-level (RSL) records into process-related signals on different spatial scales. Regional-scale, temporally linear processes driven by glacial isostatic adjustment dominate RSL change and exhibit a spatial gradient, with fastest rates of rise in southern New Jersey (1.6 ± 0.02 mm yr−1). Regional and local, temporally non-linear processes, such as ocean/atmosphere dynamics and groundwater withdrawal, contributed between −0.3 and 0.4 mm yr−1 over centennial timescales. The most significant change in the budgets is the increasing influence of the common global signal due to ice melt and thermal expansion since 1800 CE, which became a dominant contributor to RSL with a 20th century rate of 1.3 ± 0.1 mm yr−1.