United States metropolitan area

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In the United States, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has produced a formal definition of metropolitan areas. These are referred to as "Metropolitan Statistical Areas" (MSAs) and "Combined Statistical Areas." An earlier version of the MSA was the "Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area" (SMSA). MSAs are composed of counties and for some county equivalents[1]. In New England, because of the greater importance of towns over counties, similar areas are defined based on town units, known as New England City and Town Areas (NECTAs).

[edit] Definition issues

MSAs are delineated on the basis of a central urbanized area—a contiguous area of relatively high population density. The counties containing the core urbanized area are known as the central counties of the MSA. Additional surrounding counties (known as outlying counties) can be included in the MSA if these counties have strong social and economic ties to the central counties as measured by commuting and employment. Note that some areas within these outlying counties may actually be rural in nature.

MSAs are used for official purposes, but they are not the only estimates of metro area populations available. The appropriate boundaries - and therefore population figures - for some metro areas are much debated, and in some cases reputable sources provide figures which differ by millions. The most contentious examples include the Greater Los Angeles Area, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Greater Cleveland. The official definitions used for the last U.S. Census differed from those for previous censuses, making comparisons difficult even between official figures at different dates (comparing 2000 with 1990, Baltimore was separated from Washington, D.C., but West Palm Beach was combined with Miami-Fort Lauderdale, which made a considerable difference to the rankings of both metros). Care should also be taken when comparing MSA figures with population figures for cities or metro areas outside the U.S., which may be based on substantially different boundary systems and definitions of terms. Additionally, United States MSA boundaries do not stretch into neighboring countries such as Canada or Mexico, so border cities such as Detroit, Buffalo, El Paso and San Diego would count only U.S. population figures.

As of June 2003, there is now an additional classification, that of a “Metropolitan Division.” The term metropolitan division is used to refer to a county or group of closely-tied contiguous counties that serve as a distinct employment region within a metropolitan statistical area that has a population core of at least 2.5 million. While a metropolitan division is a subdivision of a larger metropolitan statistical area, it often functions as a distinct social, economic, and cultural area within the larger region.

[edit] Top 25

As of July 2008, 83.6 % of the population of the United States lives in a Metropolitan area.[2] The following is a list of the 25 most populous metropolitan statistical areas and metropolitan divisions in the United States, according to the July 1, 2008 U.S. Census Bureau estimates:[3]

Rank Metropolitan Area Metropolitan Division State(s) Population
1 New York–Northern New Jersey–Long Island   NYNJPA 19,006,798
  Edison NJ 2,325,224
  Nassau–Suffolk NY 2,863,849
  NewarkUnion NJ-PA 2,121,076
  New YorkWhite PlainsWayne NY-NJ 11,696,649
2 Los Angeles–Long Beach–Santa Ana   CA 12,872,808
  Los AngelesLong BeachGlendale 9,862,049
  Santa Ana–Anaheim–Irvine 3,010,759
3 Chicago–Naperville–Joliet   ILINWI 9,569,624
  ChicagoNapervilleJoliet IL 7,990,248
  Gary IN 702,458
  Lake CountyKenosha County IL–WI 876,918
4 Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington   TX 6,300,006
  DallasPlanoIrving 4,226,003
  Fort WorthArlington 2,074,003
5 Philadelphia–Camden–Wilmington PA–NJ–DEMD 5,838,471
  Camden NJ 1,250,569
  Philadelphia PA 3,892,194
  Wilmington DE–MD–NJ 695,708
6 Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown   TX 5,728,143
7 Miami–Fort Lauderdale–Pompano Beach   FL 5,414,772
  Fort LauderdalePompano BeachDeerfield Beach 1,751,234
  MiamiMiami BeachKendall 2,398,245
  West Palm BeachBoca RatonBoynton Beach 1,265,293
8 Atlanta–Sandy Springs–Marietta   GA 5,376,285
9 Washington–Arlington–Alexandria   DCVA–MD–WV 5,358,130
  Bethesda-GaithersburgFrederick MD 1,176,401
  WashingtonArlingtonAlexandria DC–MD–VA–WV 4,181,729
10 Boston–Cambridge–Quincy   MANH 4,522,858
  BostonQuincy MA 1,884,659
  CambridgeNewtonFramingham 1,482,478
  Peabody 736,457
  Rockingham CountyStrafford County NH 419,264
11 Detroit–Warren–Livonia   MI 4,425,110
  DetroitLivoniaDearborn 1,949,929
  WarrenTroyFarmington Hills 2,475,181
12 Phoenix–Mesa–Scottsdale   AZ 4,281,899
13 San Francisco–Oakland–Fremont   CA 4,274,531
  OaklandFremontHayward 2,504,071
  San FranciscoSan MateoRedwood City 1,770,460
14 Riverside–San Bernardino–Ontario   CA 4,115,871
15 Seattle–Tacoma–Bellevue   WA 3,344,813
  SeattleBellevueEverett 2,559,174
  Tacoma 785,639
16 Minneapolis–St. Paul–Bloomington   MN–WI 3,229,878
17 San Diego–Carlsbad–San Marcos[4]   CA 3,001,072
18 St. Louis   MOIL 2,816,710
19 Tampa–St. Petersburg–Clearwater   FL 2,733,761
20 Baltimore–Towson   MD 2,667,117
21 Denver–Aurora   CO 2,506,626
22 Pittsburgh   PA 2,351,192
23 Portland–Vancouver–Beaverton   OR–WA 2,207,462
24 Cincinnati–Middletown   OH-KY-IN 2,155,137
25 Sacramento   CA 2,109,832
For all U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Areas, see the Table of United States Metropolitan Statistical Areas.
For a list including combined metropolitan areas, see the Table of United States primary census statistical areas.

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Census Geographic Glossary, U.S. Census Bureau
  2. ^ http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/population/013426.html
  3. ^ http://www.census.gov/popest/metro/tables/2008/CBSA-EST2008-01.csv
  4. ^ This population is only for the United States side. The area is also included together with the city of Tijuana in Mexico in the bi-national conurbation known as the San Diego-Tijuana Metropolitan Area which together have a population of 4,945,410.

[edit] See also

U.S. Census Bureau statistical areas by state, district, or territory


[edit] External links

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