Bulletin No. 03-04

OMB Letterhead

June 6, 2003

OMB BULLETIN NO. 03-04

TO THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS

SUBJECT: Revised Definitions of Metropolitan Statistical Areas, New Definitions of Micropolitan Statistical Areas and Combined Statistical Areas, and Guidance on Uses of the Statistical Definitions of These Areas
  1. Purpose: This bulletin establishes revised definitions for the Nation's Metropolitan Statistical Areas and recognizes 49 new Metropolitan Statistical Areas. The bulletin also designates Metropolitan Divisions in those Metropolitan Statistical Areas that have a single core with a population of at least 2.5 million. In addition, the bulletin establishes definitions for two new sets of statistical areas: Micropolitan Statistical Areas and Combined Statistical Areas. New England City and Town Areas also are defined.

    The definitions of the statistical areas in the attached eight lists take effect immediately. The definitions reflect the Standards for Defining Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published on December 27, 2000, in the Federal Register (65 FR 82228 - 82238), and the application of those standards to Census 2000 population and journey-to-work data. This bulletin also provides guidance on the use of the definitions of these statistical areas.
     
  2. Background: Pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 3504(e)(3) and 31 U.S.C. 1104(d) and Executive Order No. 10253 (June 11, 1951), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) defines Metropolitan Statistical Areas, Micropolitan Statistical Areas, Combined Statistical Areas, and New England City and Town Areas for use in Federal statistical activities. The attached lists represent the product of OMB’s once-a-decade comprehensive review of statistical area standards and definitions. OMB issues periodic updates of the areas between decennial censuses based on Census Bureau data. 
     
  3. Update of Statistical Areas: This bulletin provides the definitions of all Metropolitan Statistical Areas, Metropolitan Divisions, Micropolitan Statistical Areas, Combined Statistical Areas, and New England City and Town Areas in the United States and Puerto Rico based on the standards published on December 27, 2000, in the Federal Register (65 FR 82228 - 82238) and Census 2000 data. The attachment to this bulletin provides the following lists of statistical areas that are recognized under the standards:
List 1 is an alphabetical list by title of 935 Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Micropolitan Statistical Areas.


List 2 provides titles, definitions, principal cities, and Metropolitan Divisions for 370 Metropolitan Statistical Areas. There are 49 new Metropolitan Statistical Areas that are identified in the list. There are 11 Metropolitan Statistical Areas that have a total of 29 Metropolitan Divisions.

List 3 presents the titles, definitions, and principal cities for 565 Micropolitan Statistical Areas.

List 4 identifies 116 Combined Statistical Areas and their 314 component Metropolitan and/or Micropolitan Statistical Areas.

List 5 identifies in each state the Metropolitan Statistical Areas, Metropolitan Divisions, Micropolitan Statistical Areas, and Combined Statistical Areas.

List 6 provides titles, definitions, principal cities, and New England City and Town Area Divisions for 42 New England City and Town Areas.

List 7 provides titles and definitions for 9 Combined New England City and Town Areas and their 25 component New England City and Town Areas.

List 8 identifies in each state the New England City and Town Areas, the New England City and Town Area Divisions, and the Combined New England City and Town Areas.

  1. Uses of Statistical Area Definitions: All agencies that conduct statistical activities to collect and publish data for Metropolitan, Micropolitan, Combined Statistical Areas, and New England City and Town Areas should use the most recent definitions of these areas established by OMB.

    OMB establishes and maintains the definitions of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas, Combined Statistical Areas, and New England City and Town Areas solely for statistical purposes. This classification is intended to provide nationally consistent definitions for collecting, tabulating, and publishing Federal statistics for a set of geographic areas. The Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Area Standards do not equate to an urban-rural classification; many counties included in Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas, and many other counties, contain both urban and rural territory and populations.

    In periodically reviewing and revising the definitions of these areas, OMB does not take into account or attempt to anticipate any nonstatistical uses that may be made of the definitions, nor will OMB modify the definitions to meet the requirements of any nonstatistical program. Thus, OMB cautions that Metropolitan Statistical Area and Micropolitan Statistical Area definitions should not be used to develop and implement Federal, state, and local nonstatistical programs and policies without full consideration of the effects of using these definitions for such purposes. These areas should not serve as a general-purpose geographic framework for nonstatistical activities, and they may or may not be suitable for use in program funding formulas.

    OMB recognizes that some legislation specifies the use of Metropolitan Statistical Areas for program purposes, including the allocation of Federal funds, and will continue to work with the Congress to clarify the foundations of these definitions and the resultant, often unintended consequences of their use for nonstatistical purposes. In cases where there is no statutory requirement and an agency elects to use the Metropolitan, Micropolitan, or Combined Statistical Area definitions in nonstatistical programs, it is the sponsoring agency's responsibility to ensure that the definitions are appropriate for such use. When an agency is publishing for comment a proposed regulation that would use the definitions for a nonstatistical purpose, the agency should seek public comment on the proposed use.

    An agency using the statistical definitions in a nonstatistical program may modify the definitions, but only for the purposes of that program. In such cases, any modifications should be clearly identified as deviations from the OMB statistical area definitions in order to avoid confusion with OMB’s official definitions of Metropolitan, Micropolitan, and Combined Statistical Areas.
     
  2. Lists of Metropolitan, Micropolitan, and Combined Statistical Areas and New England City and Town Area Definitions: This bulletin and its attachment that provides the eight lists of statistical areas are available electronically from the OMB web site at http://www.whitehouse.gov/OMB -- go to "Bulletins" or "Statistical Programs and Standards." The 2000 Standards for Defining Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas are also available at http:/www./whitehouse.gov/OMB -- go to "Statistical Programs and Standards." (Information on historical definitions of Metropolitan Statistical Areas is available from the Census Bureau’s web site at: http://www.census.gov/population/www/estimates/metroarea.html.)
     
  3. Inquiries: Inquiries concerning the Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Area Standards and the statistical uses of their definitions should be directed to Suzann Evinger (202-395-3093). Inquiries about uses of the statistical area definitions in program administration or regulation should be directed to the appropriate agency.

Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr.
Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr.
Director

Attachment (141 pages, 659 kb) PDF Information
-- Errata Sheet for the Lists of Areas in the Attachment to OMB Bulletin 03-04