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OMB establishes new metropolitan classifications.

Recent changes to the metropolitan classification system by the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have potentially far-reaching impacts on policy and funding at all levels of government.

A report by the Brookings Institution, "Tracking Metropolitan America into the 21st Century: A Field Guide to the New Metropolitan and Micropolitan Definitions," notes that the OMB standards of classifying localities are incorporated into federal and state policies that allocate public resources to local areas and establish program eligibility for individuals and businesses

They are also used widely in the private sector and the research community to identify consumer, labor and housing markets.

Changes to the metropolitan classification system include:

* The use of Metropolitan Statistical Area as the standard tool for analysis, as opposed to the Metropolitan Statistical Area, Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area and/or the Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area under the old system.

* The introduction of new Micropolitan Statistical Areas to recognize smaller communities located outside metropolitan areas. When combined with Metropolitan Statistical Areas, the OMB's reach of statistical areas is doubled and encompasses 93 percent of the U.S. population and 46 percent of its land area.

* The introduction of "principal cities," which replace central cities and are found in both Metropolitan and Micropolitan Areas.

* Changes in territory and population of 81 of the 102 largest metropolitan areas in the United States.

* Changes in the social and economic attributes of metropolitan areas and their national rankings that are based on these attributes

Focus: Micropolitan Statistical Areas

The OMB recognized that smaller communities outside of major metropolitan areas deserve recognition as self-contained areas as well. The new classification system introduces Micropolitan Statistical Areas (MicroSAs).

Similar to Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MetroSAs), MicroSAs are core-based. They consist of one or more counties centered on a contiguous urban area.

The core population of MicroSAs is generally between 10,000 and 50,000, where as MetroSAs tend to have at least 50,000 people. There are 573 MicrosSAs, which incorporate 690 counties and include cities such as Andrews, Texas, and Torrington, Conn.

Focus: Principal Cities

Principal cities are found in both MicroSAs and MetroSAs and generally replace what were formerly known as central cities.

These are prominent places within areas and include the largest incorporated place as well as additional cities that meet population and employment thresholds.

The new standards identify 1,255 principal cities among the 361 MetroSAs and 573 MicroSAs.
Geographic and Demographic Coverage, Old and New Standards
(Source: Census 2000 and OMB)

OLD STANDARDS # of Share of National Share of National
 Counties Land Area Population

Metropolitan 848 20% 80%
Non-metropolitan 2293 80% 20%

NEW STANDARDS # of Share of National Share of National
 Counties Land Area Population

Metropolitan 1089 25% 83%
Micropolitan 690 20% 10%
Non-core based 1362 55% 7%
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Office of Management and Budget
Author:Wheel, Elisabeth
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 16, 2005
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