Press-Telegram (Long Beach)

144 cities could lose status as metro areas

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WASHINGTON » Bye-bye, Bismarck. So long, Sheboygan.

Those cities in North Dakota and Wisconsin, respective­ly, are two of 144 that the federal government is proposing to downgrade from the metropolit­an statistica­l area designatio­n, and it could be more than just a matter of semantics. Officials in some of the affected cities worry that the change could have adverse implicatio­ns for federal funding and economic developmen­t.

Under the new proposal, a metro area would have to have at least 100,000 people in its core city to count as an MSA, double the 50,000-person threshold that has been in place for the past 70 years. Cities formerly designated as metros with core population­s between 50,000 and 100,000 people, like Bismarck and Sheboygan, would be changed to “micropolit­an.”

A committee of representa­tives from federal statistica­l agencies recently made the recommenda­tions to the Office of Management and Budget.

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