Statistical Area Definitions

The Office of Management and Budget, which determines the statistical areas in the United States, has made a large number of changes to the statistical  area definitions which will go into effect during 2019.

Statistical areas are used by economists and Federal agencies to measure economic activity. For the most part, a statistical area has certain geographic boundaries in which a preponderance of the residents live and work, earn and spend, forming a “contained, measurable economy.”

The major criteria for determining the boundaries of a statistical area are the commuting patterns of the workforce and residents.

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 the location of the commuting workforce.  They must have at minimum one county and most of the time includes several counties.

Micropolitan Statistical Areas (MICRO) are smaller areas. A Micropolitan area must have an urbanized area with a population of at least 10,000 people but fewer than 50,000 people and must be at least one county.

On September 14, 2018, the OMB issued Bulletin 18-04, which altered the definition of 125 counties. Bulletin 18-04 identifies 384 Metropolitan Areas and 542 Micropolitan Areas.

This is the most comprehensive change in the definitions of the Metropolitan and Micropolitan areas since 2002, the year Micropolitan Areas were created. During 2019, government agencies are aggregating their data to the definitions in Bulletin 18-04 and will likely complete the process by 2020.

Scroll to the bottom of this page for a list of the counties which were affected by Bulletin 18-04. 

The maps for each state which follow are based upon Bulletin 18-04.

The 2019 Economic Strength Rankings are based on definitions identified in Bulletin 18-03. At the time they were created, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) had yet to aggregate its data set to the definitions reflected in Bulletin 18-04 (it used Bulletin 18-03). 

Includes changes made in Bulletin 18-04.

The BEA has informed POLICOM such aggregation would not occur until the data release of October 2019.

Based on Bulletin 18-03, published April 10, 2018, there are 383 Metropolitan Statistical Areas and 551 Micropolitan Areas.

POLICOM utilizes maps of the states which show the statistical area boundaries for its research.

Two sets of state maps are provided.

The maps used for the economic strength rankings, based on Bulletin 18-03, are in 2019 State Maps (PDF)

Includes definitions for 2019 Economic Strength Rankings.

The maps which reflect the new definitions included in 18-04 are in 2019-2020 State Maps (PDF).

The lines on the maps point to the "Metropolitan or Micropolitan area" and not specifically to the location of the central city - the name of the area - which might be different than the point of the line.

The following chart links you to the map for individual states reflecting Bulletin 18-04.

OMB Bulletin 18-04

The Office of Management and Budget issued OMB Bulletin 18-04 – Statistical Area Definitions, on September 14, 2018. The new definitions changed the status of 124 counties, consequently 124 Metropolitan and Micropolitan areas.

The number of Metropolitan Statistical Areas increased from 383 to 384 and the number Micropolitan Statistical Areas decreased from 551 to 542.

In previous years, the OMB itemized the change of status for each county in its Bulletins.

An itemized list for the 124 counties affected was not included in Bulletin 18-04. The OMB advised POLICOM that since there were so many changes, it did not include this list.

As a result, POLICOM painstakingly reviewed the new definitions. The following are the counties which were affected and the result of the “change” in status.

State County Change
Alabama Greene County Added to the Tuscaloosa, AL Metropolitan Statistical Area
Alabama Walker County Removed from the Birmingham-Hoover, AL Metropolitan Statistical Area and is now the Jasper, AL Micropolitan Statistical Area
Alabama Washington County Added to the Mobile, AL Metropolitan Statistical Area
Alabama Chambers County Formerly the Valley, AL Micropolitan Statistical Area, now combined with the LaGrange, GA-AL Micropolitan Statistical Area
Alabama Coosa County Formerly a component of the Talladega-Sylacauga, AL Micropolitan Statistical Area, now a component of the Alexander City, AL Micropolitan Statistical Area
Arkansas Franklin County Added to the Fort Smith, AR-OK Metropolitan Statistical Area
Arkansas Sharp County Added to the Batesville, AR Micropolitan Statistical Area
Colorado Ouray County Added to the Montrose, CO Micropolitan Statistical Area
Florida Gulf County Removed from the Panama City, FL Metropolitan Area
Florida Levy County Added to the Gainesville, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area
Georgia Atkinson County Added to the Douglas, GA Micropolitan Statistical Area
Georgia Baker County Removed from the Albany, GA Metropolitan Statistical Area
Georgia Pulaski County Removed from the Warner Robins, GA Metropolitan Statistical Area
Georgia Stewart County Added to the Columbus, GA-AL Metropolitan Statistical Area
Georgia Talbot County Added to the Columbus, GA-AL Metropolitan Statistical Area
Georgia Treutlen County Added to the Dublin, GA Micropolitan Statistical Area
Hawaii Kalawao County Removed from the Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI Metropolitan Statistical Area
Idaho Lincoln County Removed from the Hailey, ID Micropolitan Statistical Area
Idaho Power County Added to the Pocatello, ID Metropolitan Statistical Area
Illinois De Witt County Removed from the Bloomington, IL Metropolitan Statistical Area
Illinois Ford County Removed from the Champaign-Urbana, IL Metropolitan Statistical Area
Illinois Fulton County Formerly the Canton, IL Micropolitan Statistical Area, added to the Peoria, IL Metropolitan Statistical Area
Illinois Johnson County Added to the Carbondale-Marion, IL Metropolitan Statistical Area
Indiana Franklin County Added to the Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN Metropolitan Statistical Area
Indiana Parke County Added to the Terre Haute, IN Metropolitan Statistical Area
Indiana Scott County Removed from the Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN Metropolitan Statistical Area, now the Scottsburg, IN Micropolitan Statistical Area
Indiana Warren County Added to the Lafayette-West Lafayette, IN Metropolitan Statistical Area
Indiana Wells County Removed from the Fort Wayne, IN Metropolitan Statistical Area
Iowa Boone County Formerly the Boone, IA Micropolitan Statistical Area, added to the Ames, IA Metropolitan Statistical Area
Iowa Davis County Removed from the Ottumwa, IA Micropolitan Statistical Area
Iowa Jasper County Formerly the Newton, IA Micropolitan Statistical Area, added to the Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA Metropolitan Statistical Area
Iowa Plymouth County Removed from the Sioux City, IA-NE-SD Metropolitan Statistical Area
Kansas Chase County Added to the Emporia, KS Micropolitan Statistical Area
Kansas Geary County Added to the Manhattan, KS Metropolitan Statistical Area
Kansas Kingman County Removed from the Wichita, KS Metropolitan Statistical Area
Kentucky Carter County Added to the Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH Metropolitan Statistical Area
Kentucky Clay County Added to the London, KY Micropolitan Statistical Area
Kentucky Estill County Added to the Richmond-Berea, KY Micropolitan Statistical Area
Kentucky Fulton County Removed from the Union City, TN-KY Micropolitan Statistical Area
Kentucky Green County Added to the Campbellsville, KY Micropolitan Statistical Area
Kentucky Rockcastle County Removed from the Richmond-Berea, KY Micropolitan Statistical Area
Kentucky Trimble County Removed from the Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN Metropolitan Statistical Area
Louisiana Assumption Parish Added to the Baton Rouge, LA Metropolitan Statistical Area
Louisiana Morehouse Parish Formerly the Bastrop, LA Micropolitan Statistical Area, added to the Monroe, LA Metropolitan Statistical Area
Louisiana Webster Parish Removed from the Shreveport-Bossier City, LA Metropolitan Statistical Area, now the Minden, LA Micropolitan Statistical Area
Massachusetts Franklin County Formerly the Greenfield Town, MA Micropolitan Statistical Area, added to the Springfield, MA Metropolitan Statistical Area
Michigan Barry County Removed from the Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI Metropolitan Statistical Area
Michigan Ionia County Formerly the Ionia, MI Micropolitan Statistical Area, added to the Grand Rapids-Kentwood, MI Metropolitan Statistical Area
Michigan Shiawassee County Formerly the Owosso, MI Micropolitan Statistical Area, added to the Lansing-East Lansing, MI Metropolitan Statistical Area
Michigan Van Buren County Removed from the Kalamazoo-Portage, MI Metropolitan Statistical Area
Minnesota Lake County Added to the Duluth, MN-WI Metropolitan Statistical Area
Minnesota Sibley County Removed from the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI Metropolitan Statistical Area
Mississippi Amite County Removed from the McComb, MS Micropolitan Statistical Area
Mississippi Benton County Removed from the Memphis, TN-MS-AR Metropolitan Statistical Area
Mississippi Claiborne County Removed from the Vicksburg, MS Micropolitan Statistical Area
Mississippi Covington County Added to the Hattiesburg, MS Metropolitan Statistical Area
Mississippi Holmes County Added to the Jackson, MS Metropolitan Statistical Area
Mississippi Prentiss County Added to the Tupelo, MS Micropolitan Statistical Area
Mississippi Stone County Added to the Gulfport-Biloxi, MS Metropolitan Statistical Area
Mississippi Webster County Added to the Starkville, MS Micropolitan Statistical Area
Missouri Cooper County Added to the Columbia, MO Metropolitan Statistical Area
Missouri Howard County Added to the Columbia, MO Metropolitan Statistical Area
Missouri McDonald County Removed from the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO Metropolitan Statistical Area
Missouri Ripley County Added to the Poplar Bluff, MO Micropolitan Statistical Area
Missouri Stone County Removed from the Branson, MO Micropolitan Statistical Area
Montana Golden Valley County Removed from the Billings, MT Metropolitan Statistical Area
Montana Stillwater County Added to the Billings, MT Metropolitan Statistical Area
Nebraska Hamilton County Removed from the Grand Island, NE Metropolitan Statistical Area
New Mexico Mora County Added to the Las Vegas, NM Micropolitan Statistical Area
New York Dutchess County Removed from the New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA Metropolitan Statistical Area, now part of the Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area
New York Orange County Removed from the New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA Metropolitan Statistical Area, now part of the Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area
North Carolina Anson County Added to the Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC Metropolitan Statistical Area
North Carolina Camden County Removed from the Elizabeth City, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area, added to the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC Metropolitan Statistical Area
North Carolina Granville County Formerly the Oxford, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area, added to the Durham-Chapel Hill, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area
North Carolina Harnett County Formerly the Dunn, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area, added to the Fayetteville, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area
North Carolina Swain County Added to the Cullowhee, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area
North Carolina Tyrrell County Removed from the Kill Devil Hills, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area
North Dakota Billings County Added to the Dickinson, ND Micropolitan Statistical Area
North Dakota Sioux County Removed from the Bismarck, ND Metropolitan Statistical Area
Ohio Ottawa County Formerly the Port Clinton, OH Micropolitan Statistical Area, added to the Toledo, OH Metropolitan Statistical Area
Oklahoma Ellis County Added to the Woodward, OK Micropolitan Statistical Area
Oklahoma Le Flore County Removed from the Fort Smith, AR-OK Metropolitan Statistical Area
Oklahoma Love County Added to the Ardmore, OK Micropolitan Statistical Area
South Carolina Abbeville County Removed from the Greenwood, SC Micropolitan Statistical Area
South Carolina Clarendon County Added to the Sumter, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area
South Carolina Union County Removed from the Spartanburg, SC Metropolitan Area, now the Union, SC Micropolitan Statistical Area
South Dakota Custer County Removed from the Rapid City, SD Metropolitan Statistical Area
South Dakota Hamlin County Added to the Watertown, SD Micropolitan Statistical Area
South Dakota Jerauld County Added to the Huron, SD Micropolitan Statistical Area
South Dakota Sully County Removed from the Pierre, SD Micropolitan Statistical Area
Tennessee Gibson County Added to the Jackson, TN Metropolitan Statistical Area
Tennessee Hickman County Removed from the Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN Metropolitan Statistical Area
Tennessee Stewart County Added to the Clarksville, TN-KY Metropolitan Statistical Area
Tennessee Grainger County Formerly a component of the Knoxville, TN Metropolitan Statistical Area, now a component of the Morristown, TN Metropolitan Statistical Area
Texas Aransas County Removed from the Corpus Christi, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area, now the Rockport, TX Micropolitan Statistical Area
Texas Camp County Added to the Mount Pleasant, TX Micropolitan Statistical Area
Texas Duval County Added to the Alice, TX Micropolitan Statistical Area
Texas Glasscock County Removed from the Big Spring, TX Micropolitan Statistical Area
Texas Harrison County Formerly the Marshall, TX Micropolitan Statistical Area, added to the Longview, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area
Texas Hood County Removed from the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area, now the Granbury, TX Micropolitan Statistical Area
Texas Loving County Added to the Pecos, TX Micropolitan Statistical Area
Texas Newton County Removed from the Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area
Texas Roberts County Added to the Pampa, TX Micropolitan Statistical Area
Texas Somervell County Removed from the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area
Texas Sterling County Added to the San Angelo, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area
Texas Trinity County Removed from the Huntsville, TX Micropolitan Statistical Area
Texas Frio County Now the Pearsall, TX Micropolitan Statistical Area (Bulletin 18-03)
Utah Summit County Formerly the Summit Park, UT Micropolitan Statistical Area, added to the Heber, UT Micropolitan Statistical Area
Vermont Essex County Removed from the Berlin, NH-VT Micropolitan Statistical Area
Virginia Bland County Added to the Bluefield, WV-VA Micropolitan Statistical Area
Virginia Buckingham County Removed from the Charlottesville, VA Metropolitan Statistical Area
Virginia Caroline County Removed from the Richmond, VA Metropolitan Statistical Area
Virginia Dickenson County Removed from the Big Stone Gap, VA Micropolitan Statistical Area
Virginia Floyd County Removed from the Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford, VA Metropolitan Statistical Area
Virginia King and Queen County Added to the Richmond, VA Metropolitan Statistical Area
Virginia Madison County Added to the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area
Virginia Southampton County Added to the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC Metropolitan Statistical Area
Washington Columbia County Removed from the Walla Walla, WA Metropolitan Statistical Area
Washington Pend Oreille County Removed from the Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA Metropolitan Statistical Area
West Virginia Jackson County Added to the Charleston, WV Metropolitan Statistical Area
West Virginia Morgan County Added to the Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area
West Virginia Lincoln County Formerly a component of the Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH Metropolitan Statistical Area, now a component of the Charleston, WV Metropolitan Statistical Area
Wisconsin Lincoln County Formerly the Merrill, WI Micropolitan Statistical Area, added to the Wausau-Weston, WI Metropolitan Statistical Area
Wyoming Crook County Added to the Gillette, WY Micropolitan Statistical Area
Wyoming Weston County Added to the Gillette, WY Micropolitan Statistical Area