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Old 01-20-2011, 02:27 PM
 
Location: South St Louis
3,795 posts, read 3,459,652 times
Reputation: 1957

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Why are the names assigned to America's MSA's so blasted inconsistant??
Here's a list of MSA's: Table of United States Metropolitan Statistical Areas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
You'll see that nearly all of the larger MSA's have hyphenated city names, such as "Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, AZ" and "San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA".
But there are some exceptions to the "hyphenated cities" thing, and those exceptions are what I just don't understand.
For example: Look at Pittsburgh, whose MSA is simply called "Pittsburgh, PA". The name isn't combined with any other city in the Pittsburgh region. Why not? It's the same story with St. Louis, Kansas City, Columbus, and Memphis. No hyphens. Why the inconsistancies?

At first, I figured the explanation must be that cities must be of a certain population to be included in the MSA name. Not so! In the "Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI" MSA, West Allis is given special recognition-- but has only about 60,000 people. Yet, in the St Louis MSA, you have O'Fallon, MO with a population of 77,000-- and it's not part of the MSA name. An even better comparison is the "Kansas City, MO-KS" MSA, where there are 4 other cities (besides KCMO) that have populations of over 100k! So it's obviously not city size that determines this.

What's the explanation? Why does Cincinnati get a hyphen but Memphis doesn't? Anyone?
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Old 01-20-2011, 05:59 PM
 
Location: Fishers, IN
6,495 posts, read 10,811,614 times
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I would ask the OMB.
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Old 01-20-2011, 07:21 PM
 
Location: Jersey City
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It's been a long time since I've looked at the definitions, but I think the identification of smaller cities is a result of one of two things: either the smaller city is the principal city in a "metropolitan division" within the MSA, or the smaller city has a population equal to a certain fraction of the main city's population. For example, in the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington MSA, Camden and Wilmington are the principal cities in their respective metropolitan divisions of the MSA. In the case of Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News MSA, Norfolk and NN are around half of VB's population.

I reserve the right to do the necessary research and change my answer later, but I think that's how I recall it.
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Old 01-20-2011, 10:32 PM
 
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It's because of original sovereignty. If the two cities were independent but grew into one another (i.e., Dallas-Fort Worth), the name of the MSA is usually hyphenated. If the defined, singular nuclear city is characterized more by its own sprawl during which it generated its own suburbs (i.e. Houston), it will usually be singular in connotation. When an MSA crosses state lines, it is most often hyphenated.
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Old 01-21-2011, 06:03 AM
 
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It's all so weird. Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC was divided into Raleigh-Cary and Durham-Chapel Hill despite the fact that Raleigh and Durham's city limits meet one another in places. The OMB is smoking some good crack it appears.
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Old 01-21-2011, 07:03 PM
 
Location: South St Louis
3,795 posts, read 3,459,652 times
Reputation: 1957
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cleveland_Collector View Post
It's because of original sovereignty. If the two cities were independent but grew into one another (i.e., Dallas-Fort Worth), the name of the MSA is usually hyphenated. If the defined, singular nuclear city is characterized more by its own sprawl during which it generated its own suburbs (i.e. Houston), it will usually be singular in connotation. When an MSA crosses state lines, it is most often hyphenated.
I understand what you're saying, except that Houston's MSA is officially called the "Houston-Sugarland-Baytown, TX". So in this example, why do Sugarland and Baytown (each about 80,000 people) get special mention but not Texas City or Pasadena?
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Old 02-04-2011, 09:55 PM
 
Location: western Centennial, CO
655 posts, read 1,810,585 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cleveland_Collector View Post
It's because of original sovereignty. If the two cities were independent but grew into one another (i.e., Dallas-Fort Worth), the name of the MSA is usually hyphenated. If the defined, singular nuclear city is characterized more by its own sprawl during which it generated its own suburbs (i.e. Houston), it will usually be singular in connotation. When an MSA crosses state lines, it is most often hyphenated.
Actually it appears to be based on a combination of size and jobs. The official definition I found is:

1)The largest city is always part of the name
2)Any other city with at least 250,000 or at least 100,000 workers
3)Population of between 50,000-250,000 and number of workers exceeds number of workers living there (ie net jobs in)
4)Population of between 10,000-50,000, at least 1/3 of largest city and more people who work there than workers who live there (ie net jobs in).

And that's how you get your name in a MSA.
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