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New Standards and Geographic Definitions for Metropolitan Statistical Areas​

By: Rich Reinhold

Metropolitan Statistical Areas were first established more than 50 years ago and provide nationally consistent definitions for reporting federal statistics, including economic data. While the definition has changed over time, a Metropolitan Statistical Area generally includes a city with substantial population along with adjacent communities having a high degree of economic and social integration. The U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) maintains and updates Metropolitan Statistical Area classifications following the completion of each decennial census. In December 2000, the OMB announced new standards for designating Metropolitan Statistical Areas, including new statistical areas called Micropolitan Areas. The 2000 standards were developed over the course of several years with public comment and review. In June 2003, the OMB announced the official list of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas, based on population and worker commuting data reported in the 2000 Census.

Metropolitan Statistical Areas

Under the 2000 standards, Metropolitan Statistical Areas are defined as having a central county or counties with an urbanized area of at least 50,000 people, plus adjacent outlying counties having a high degree of economic integration with the central county, as measured through worker commuting ties. Multiple counties are included in a Metropolitan Statistical Area if at least 25 percent of employed residents in the central county commute to work in one or more adjacent counties. The largest city in the Metropolitan Statistical Area is listed first in the title and additional cities may be included in the name if they meet certain population and employment criteria.

The Metropolitan Statistical Areas including a population of 2.5 million or more were further subdivided into Metropolitan Divisions. For example, the interstate Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL-IN-WI Metropolitan Statistical Area was subdivided into three separate Metropolitan Divisions: Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL, Lake County-Kenosha, IL-WI and Gary, IN.

The application of the 2000 standards to Census 2000 data resulted in the designation of 49 new Metropolitan Statistical Areas, bringing the total number of areas in the U.S. and Puerto Rico to 370 (as of June 2003). In Illinois, there are 11 Metropolitan Statistical Areas, including the Illinois part of the St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area. The Chicago-Naperville-Joliet IL-IN-WI Metropolitan Statistical Area has two Metropolitan Divisions that includes Illinois counties. The table below presents the Metropolitan Statistical Area names and geographic definitions that were announced in June 2003.

Micropolitan Statistical Areas

The 2000 standards also provide for Micropolitan Statistical Areas. These are areas with a central county or counties and an urban cluster of 10,000-49,999 people, plus adjacent counties having a high degree of economic and social integration as measured through worker commuting. Multiple counties are included in a Micropolitan Area if at least 25 percent of employed residents in the central county commute to work in one or more adjacent counties. The naming convention for Micropolitan Areas is the same as for Metropolitan Areas, with the largest community presented first. As of June 2003, there were a total of 565 Micropolitan Statistical Areas in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. In Illinois, there were 23 Micropolitan Statistical Areas, including four shared with border states. The table below shows the names and geographic definitions of Illinois Micropolitan Statistical Areas.

Labor Force and Non-farm Employment Data for Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas

The Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program will publish monthly labor force estimates for 2000-based Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas, beginning in March 2005, with the release of January 2005 data. The Current Employment Statistics (CES) program will publish non-farm industry employment estimates for 2000-based Metropolitan Statistical Areas beginning in March 2005, with the release of January 2005 data. Historical monthly and annual labor force and non-farm jobs data under the 2000-based geographic definitions will be available back to 1990.

You can find more information on Metropolitan Statistical Area standards and definitions as well as maps at: http://www.bls.gov/lau/lausmsa.htm.

2000 Census-based Illinois Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Metropolitan Divisions

Name Counties

Bloomington-Normal MSA

McLean

Champaign-Urbana MSA

Champaign

Ford

Piatt

Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL Metropolitan Division

Cook

DeKalb

DuPage

Grundy

Kane

Kendall

McHenry

Will

Lake County-Kenosha County, IL-WI Metropolitan Division

Lake

Kenosha, WI

Danville, IL MSA

Vermilion

Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL MSA

Henry

Mercer

Rock Island

Scott, IA

Decatur, IL MSA

Macon

Kankakee-Bradley, IL MSA

Kankakee

Peoria, IL MSA

Peoria

Marshall

Peoria

Stark

Tazewell

Woodford

Rockford, IL MSA

Boone

Winnebago

Springfield, IL MSA

Menard

Sangamon

St. Louis MO-IL MSA (Illinois part)

Bond

Calhoun

Clinton

Jersey

Macoupin

Madison

Monroe

St. Clair

2000 Census-based Illinois Micropolitan Statistical Areas

Name Counties

Burlington IA-IL Micropolitan Area

Henderson

Des Moines, IA

Canton, IL Micropolitan Area

Fulton

Cape Girardeau-Jackson, MO-IL Micropolitan Area

Alexander

Bollinger, MO

Cape Girardeau, MO

Carbondale, IL Micropolitan Area

Jackson

Centralia, IL Micropolitan Area

Marion

Charleston-Mattoon Micropolitan Area

Coles

Cumberland

Dixon, IL Micropolitan Area

Lee

Effingham, IL Micropolitan Area

Effingham

Freeport, IL Micropolitan Area

Stephenson

Galesburg, IL Micropolitan Area

Knox

Warren

Harrisburg, IL Micropolitan Area

Saline

Jacksonville, IL Micropolitan Area

Morgan

Scott

Lincoln, IL Micropolitan Area

Logan

Macomb, IL Micropolitan Area

McDonough

Marion-Herrin, IL Micropolitan Area

Williamson

Mount Vernon, IL Micropolitan Area

Hamilton

Jefferson

Ottawa-Streator, IL Micropolitan Area

Bureau

LaSalle

Putnam

Paducah, KY-IL Micropolitan Area

Massac

Ballard, KY

Livingston, LY

McCracken, KY

Pontiac, IL Micropolitan Area

Livingston

Quincy, IL-MO Micropolitan Area

Adams

Lewis, MO

Rochelle, IL Micropolitan Area

Ogle

Sterling, IL Micropolitan Area

Whiteside

Taylorville, IL Micropolitan Area

Christian

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