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Old 05-23-2018, 08:41 AM
 
154 posts, read 25,723 times
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I wonder why are US metropolitan areas so grossly overstated and their numbers exorbitantly raised? The appear very large to Europeans and Canadians but are actually much smaller in reality, when you make an in-depth analysis.

In US-America, a city - and all of its entire surrounding regions, no matter how large they are - is declared to be a metropolitan area or part of a metropolitan area.

Basically, almost all of US metro areas are not real metro areas, they are just supperregions that are named after the largest city in that superregion. These metropolitan areas usually include cities and towns that are as far as 70km away from the actual city-centre core, they include large stretches of rural land area, they include towns that are terribly connected to the city-centre, they contain towns and cities that may barely have to do with the "central city". They include so many sparsely populated areas, that it is hilarious to call them "metropolitan area". Such a term becomes nebulous, imprecise and over the top.

To me as a non-US-American, these area do not appear metropolitan at all.
Here, some examples for you:

Miami metropolitan area: 6,1 million inhabitants on 15896km², density: 383 people per km².
Boston metropolitan area: 4,5 mill. Inhabitants on 12105km², density: 371 people per km².
Seattle metropolitan area: 3,8 million inhabitants on 15,209km², density 250 people per km².
Portland, Maine, metropolitan area: 514000 inhabitants on 7,404km², density 69 people per km². (What the hell, why does even a small city like Portland have a metro area..? It's basically nothing more than a collection of towns that happen to be dispersed in the region.)
So Miami's metropolitan area is larger than Northern Ireland. Boston's metro area is 5x the size of Luxembourg.


In Canada, metropolitan areas are, I would say a mix of the overstated US-American definition and the very precise European understanding of a metropolita area:


Metropolitan Montréal: 4,1 million inhabitants on 4,600km², density: 890 people per km².
Lille metropolitan area: 1,15 mill. Inhabitants on 647km², density 1800 km².
Orléans Métropole (NOT to be confused with New Orleans!): 282000 inhabitants on 334km², density: 843 people km².
Naples metropolitan area: in Italy, 4,4 million inhabitants on 2,260km², density: 1950 people per km².
Milan metropolitan area: 5,2 million inhabtitants on 2,950 km², density: 1762 people per km².


In Canada and Europe, people who are responsible for defining metropolitan areas actually carefully examine whether a city and town has "much enough to do with the central city at a higher degree", so that it deserves to be incorporated into the metropolitan area. Therefore, the numbers of such metropolitan areas more accurately reflect its corresponding metropolitan feeling and real metropolitan dimension.


I see here on these forums many comparisons between metropolitan areas relating to growth, statistics on various issues, increases and decreases, I'm sorry to say but I hope you know that these comparions are often highly distorted when they involve US-American metros, they are good-for-nothing and barely meaningful because there will be huge discrepancies when comparing areas that are 800km² or 7000² or 15000² km large, or have multiple significant center-hubs within the metropolitan area.


Do you agree with me? Why are the metro areas so blatantly oversized? Or maybe you are an US-American reading this and you find them credible and plausible, why or why (not)?

This is now the World Forum, so this is the right place for a discussion.

The purpose of a metro area is to accurately reflect the real dimension of a city and its urban continuum connected to it that extends beyond city limits, such an extension should normally stop when the intensity of interaction between the core-city and more distant areas signifcantly decreases. However, US-American metro areas are even more nebulous than merely comparing cities within their city limits with each other.

Last edited by QuebecOpec; 05-23-2018 at 08:55 AM..
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Old 05-23-2018, 09:22 AM
 
Location: Great Britain
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I agree, vast metro areas that are not really linked to the outskirts of a city are fairly pointless.
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Old 05-23-2018, 09:32 AM
 
Location: San Diego, California Republic
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To some degree, it has to do with commuting patterns. Many find the city limits of an actual city as arbitrary but so are all borders. Thing is, those boundaries don't change so when a population of a city rises or falls, it's a more accurate picture as there is a control factor. Metro populations can rise just by including a newer, farther outlying areas. In Northern California, the cities of Stockton and Tracy are physically outside of the San Francisco Bay Area. However, recently, they are often now included with it due to many people commuting to work there. To add to your point of having rural areas in a metro, the drive from these cities to say, Oakland takes you through a lot of open range hillsides with horses and cows grazing. Past some protected wildland areas too.
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Old 05-23-2018, 05:08 PM
 
Location: Seattle WA, USA
3,226 posts, read 1,518,150 times
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Metropolitan areas in the US are not precise because they are based on county lines, so for instance Seattle metro area, the counties have huge swaths of territory in uninhabited mountains. This is not a precise measurement, but it makes it easier to make yearly estimates, and the tiny outlying towns are so insignificant that they don't contribute much to the total population, so whether it's 3,439,809 people or 3,059,3939 people it doesn't make a huge difference, however there is a more precise definition and that would be urban area, however because it's a lot more difficult to calculate, they only get updated every 10 years with the official census.

So for instance here are the urban areas of the cities you listed, stats from 2010

Miami: 5,502,379 inhabitants on 3,208.0 km2, density: 1,715.2 people per km2
Boston: 4,181,019 inhabitants on 4,852.2 km2, density: 861.7 people per km2
Seattle: 3,059,3939 inhabitants on 2,616.7 km2, density: 1,010.3 people per km2
Portland, OR: 1,849,898 inhabitants on 1,358.1 km2, density: 1,362.1 people per km2

*oops I thought you meant Portland Oregon, didn't realize you were talking about Maine lol
Portland, ME: 203,914 inhabitants on 352.0 km2, density: 579.3 people per km2

Last edited by grega94; 05-23-2018 at 05:28 PM..
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Old 05-23-2018, 07:51 PM
 
Location: Cebu, Philippines
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Considering cities by metro is more credibly to me than thinking that Fresno is bigger than Atlanta, or Corpus Christi is bigger than St. Louis.
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Old 05-23-2018, 08:03 PM
 
Location: San Diego, California Republic
16,008 posts, read 20,787,594 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grega94 View Post
Metropolitan areas in the US are not precise because they are based on county lines, so for instance Seattle metro area, the counties have huge swaths of territory in uninhabited mountains. This is not a precise measurement, but it makes it easier to make yearly estimates, and the tiny outlying towns are so insignificant that they don't contribute much to the total population, so whether it's 3,439,809 people or 3,059,3939 people it doesn't make a huge difference, however there is a more precise definition and that would be urban area, however because it's a lot more difficult to calculate, they only get updated every 10 years with the official census.

So for instance here are the urban areas of the cities you listed, stats from 2010

Miami: 5,502,379 inhabitants on 3,208.0 km2, density: 1,715.2 people per km2
Boston: 4,181,019 inhabitants on 4,852.2 km2, density: 861.7 people per km2
Seattle: 3,059,3939 inhabitants on 2,616.7 km2, density: 1,010.3 people per km2
Portland, OR: 1,849,898 inhabitants on 1,358.1 km2, density: 1,362.1 people per km2

*oops I thought you meant Portland Oregon, didn't realize you were talking about Maine lol
Portland, ME: 203,914 inhabitants on 352.0 km2, density: 579.3 people per km2
Thank you and even that is highly irregular and inconsistent. San Diego metro is entirely within one county. San Francisco Bay Area consist of nine counties, sometimes 11. And yes, those counties contain large areas of pretty much wilderness.
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Old 05-23-2018, 08:08 PM
 
Location: San Diego, California Republic
16,008 posts, read 20,787,594 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cebuan View Post
Considering cities by metro is more credibly to me than thinking that Fresno is bigger than Atlanta, or Corpus Christi is bigger than St. Louis.
Why because Fresno is not urban enough to you? What criteria are you basing this opinion on?
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Old 05-23-2018, 09:07 PM
 
Location: London, UK
2,187 posts, read 1,057,718 times
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The most reliable information is urban agglomeration. So for example the bay area urban agglomeration should include Hayward-Fremont-San Jose-Palo Alto-Redwood-San Francisco-Oakland-Berkely-Richmond.
However, it should exclude the likes of Antioch-Brentwood or San Ramon-Pleasanton-Livermore as they aren't part of the continuous urban footprint. They could be part of the wider metro area just not the urban agglomeration.

A more simpler example will be Minneapolis-St Paul or Dallas-Fort Worth, both urban agglomerations that wouldn't include satellite towns such as Weatherford, which is part of the Dallas-Fort Worth met area but not part of the urban agglomeration.
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Old 05-23-2018, 09:16 PM
 
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IMO any place unreachable by (at least hourly) public transportation is not urban.
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Old 05-23-2018, 09:20 PM
 
Location: Seattle WA, USA
3,226 posts, read 1,518,150 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pueblofuerte View Post
The most reliable information is urban agglomeration. So for example the bay area urban agglomeration should include Hayward-Fremont-San Jose-Palo Alto-Redwood-San Francisco-Oakland-Berkely-Richmond.
However, it should exclude the likes of Antioch-Brentwood or San Ramon-Pleasanton-Livermore as they aren't part of the continuous urban footprint. They could be part of the wider metro area just not the urban agglomeration.

A more simpler example will be Minneapolis-St Paul or Dallas-Fort Worth, both urban agglomerations that wouldn't include satellite towns such as Weatherford, which is part of the Dallas-Fort Worth met area but not part of the urban agglomeration.
San Fran and San Jose are always split apart according to official stats, they are only combined in CSA.

San Francisco and San Jose are 50 mi (80 km) apart, it's quite a distance, further apart than Washington, DC and Baltimore which are only 38 mi (61 km) apart.
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