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Tracking Metropolitan America into the 21st Century: A Field Guide to the New Metropolitan and Micropolitan Definitions

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An overhaul of the widely-recognized metropolitan classification system by the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will refashion the way research is conducted and federal dollars are spent. The new system, designed to capture 21st-century settlement patterns, alters the names, types, and boundaries for metropolitan areas and creates new “micropolitan” areas. A comparison of this new system with its older counterpart, reveals that:



Jill H. Wilson

Former Senior Research Analyst & Associate Fellow - Metropolitan Policy Program

Not simply statistical arcana, OMB-defined metropolitan and micropolitan areas have real-world implications for public- and private-sector research, for federal programs—think Medicare, Section 8 housing assistance—and for how big-city and small-town residents view the places that they live. This survey provides both casual and expert users with a “field guide” to the new system and its potential impacts in each of these areas.

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