United States metropolitan area

type of geographical region in the United States, utilized for statistical purposes

Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) are large metropolitan areas of the United States as defined by the Office of Management and Budget. These areas are urban areas with a lot of people. An earlier version of the MSA was the "Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area" (SMSA). MSAs are used for official purposes. They are made up of counties and for some, county equivalents.

MSAs are created around a central urban area —an area where there are a lot of people. The counties with the urbanized area are known as the central counties of the MSA. Other nearby counties (known as outlying counties) can be a part of the MSA if these counties have strong social and economic connections to the central counties. Some areas within these outlying counties may actually be rural areas.

The population estimates for some metro areas are not always agreed upon. In some cases, different sources give numbers of people which differ by millions. The definitions used for the last U.S. Census differed from those for previous censuses. This makes it hard to compare official information from different dates. MSA boundaries do not stretch into Canada or Mexico. This can affect the number of people in several cities. For example, Detroit, Buffalo, El Paso and San Diego are often much larger than their MSA figures.

As of June 2003, there is now an additional classification, “Metropolitan Division.” The term metropolitan division is used for a county or group of counties that are a distinct employment area within a metropolitan statistical area that has at least 2.5 million people. A metropolitan division is a part of a larger metropolitan statistical area but it is often a distinct social, economic, and cultural area within the larger region.[1]

List of metropolitan statistical areas


The following is a list of the 387 metropolitan statistical areas in the United States.[2] This list includes:

  1. The MSA rank by population as of July 1, 2023, as estimated by the United States Census Bureau
  2. The MSA name, given by the United States Office of Management and Budget[3]
  3. The MSA population as of July 1, 2023, as estimated by the United States Census Bureau[2]
  4. The MSA population as of April 1, 2020, counted by the 2020 United States census[2][a]
  5. The percent MSA population change from April 1, 2020, to July 1, 2023[2]
  6. The combined statistical area (CSA)[4] that includes this metropolitan area, if any.[1]

Notes and references

  1. These are the populations of the MSAs, as they were defined in 2023.
  1. 1.0 1.1 "OMB Bulletin No. 20-01: Revised Delineations of Metropolitan Statistical Areas, Micropolitan Statistical Areas, and Combined Statistical Areas, and Guidance on Uses of the Delineations of These Areas" (PDF). United States Office of Management and Budget. March 6, 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on June 12, 2021. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas Population Totals: 2020-2023". United States Census Bureau, Population Division. March 14, 2024. Retrieved March 15, 2024.
  3. "OMB Bulletin No. 23-01" (PDF). Office of Management and Budget. July 21, 2023. Archived (PDF) from the original on July 21, 2023. Retrieved April 7, 2024.
  4. A CSA (CSA) is a group of adjacent (touching) metropolitan or micropolitan areas. These areas are linked by economic connections, but they are linked less closely than the counties in an MSA.