Press-Telegram (Long Beach)
144 cities could lose status as metro areas
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.