A local economy is essentially a geographic area in which a preponderance of the people live and work, earn and spend. The area is typically defined by the commuting patterns of the resident population.
POLICOM specializes in analyzing local economies and uses Metropolitan and Micropolitan Areas along with individual counties as the building blocks for the study.
Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) have at least one urbanized area of 50,000 or more population, plus adjacent territory that has a high degree of social and economic integration with the core as measured by commuting ties. They must have at minimum one county and most of the time include several counties.
As of January 1, 2017 there are 382 Metropolitan Statistical Areas comprised of 1,167 of the 3,142 counties in the United States.
Micropolitan Statistical Areas (MICRO) are smaller areas. A Micropolitan area must have an urbanized area of at least 10,000 population but less than 50,000 population. It must be at least one county.
As of January 1, 2017 there are 551 Micropolitan Statistical Areas comprised of 658 of the 3,142 counties in the United States.
Annually POLICOM ranks all Metropolitan and Micropolitan areas for "economic strength" which is the long-term tendency for an area to consistently grow in both size and quality.
POLICOM then studies the characteristics of the strong and weak economies to better advise communities on what they need to do to improve.
To view the rankings for the Metropolitan Areas, click here.
To view the rankings for the Micropolitan areas, click here.
To view the geographic definitions for all areas, click here.
The following chart provides the list of the ten strongest and ten weakest Metropolitan and Micropolitan Areas for 2017.
|382 Metropolitan Areas||551 Micropolitan Areas|
|2017||Ten Strongest Metropolitan Areas||2017||Ten Strongest Micropolitan Areas|
|1||Austin-Round Rock, TX (MSA)||1||Dickinson, ND (McrSA)|
|2||San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA (MSA)||2||Williston, ND (McrSA)|
|3||Napa, CA (MSA)||3||Claremont-Lebanon, NH-VT (McrSA)|
|4||Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX (MSA)||4||Carlsbad-Artesia, NM (McrSA)|
|5||San Diego-Carlsbad, CA (MSA)||5||Minot, ND (McrSA)|
|6||Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO (MSA)||6||Laconia, NH (McrSA)|
|7||San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA (MSA)||7||Bozeman, MT (McrSA)|
|8||Fargo, ND-MN (MSA)||8||Barre, VT (McrSA)|
|9||Bismarck, ND (MSA)||9||Summit Park, UT (McrSA)|
|10||Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro, TN (MSA)||10||Lewisburg, PA (McrSA)|
|2017||Ten Weakest Metropolitan Areas||2017||Ten Weakest Micropolitan Areas|
|373||Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC (MSA)||542||Middlesborough, KY (McrSA)|
|374||Muncie, IN (MSA)||543||Clarksdale, MS (McrSA)|
|375||Sebring, FL (MSA)||544||Forrest City, AR (McrSA)|
|376||Bay City, MI (MSA)||545||Helena-West Helena, AR (McrSA)|
|377||Albany, GA (MSA)||546||Indianola, MS (McrSA)|
|378||Danville, IL (MSA)||547||Bainbridge, GA (McrSA)|
|379||Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville, AL (MSA)||548||Espanola, NM (McrSA)|
|380||Weirton-Steubenville, WV-OH (MSA)||549||Valley, AL (McrSA)|
|381||Rocky Mount, NC (MSA)||550||Las Vegas, NM (McrSA)|
|382||Beckley, WV (MSA)||551||Fitzgerald, GA (McrSA)|