U.S. Department of LaborBureau of Labor Statistics Geographic ProfileBLS HomeWhat's NewBLS ContactsSearch BLS
Accessibility Information Geographic Profile of Employment and Unemployment, 2014 Bulletin 2873
Geographic Profile, 2014

Appendix C: Geographic boundary definitions

Metro Areas/Cities

Appendix C Tables: (PDF)

Table C-1 of this appendix lists the States composing the census regions and divisions for which data are published in section I. Tables C-2 and C-3 provide the geographic boundary definitions of the metropolitan areas and metropolitan divisions, respectively, for which data are published in section III. The information for metropolitan areas and metropolitan divisions reflects the standards and definitions established by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on June 6, 2003.1

Effective December 22, 1987, the boundary of the St. Louis metropolitan area was redefined to include the part of Sullivan city in Crawford County, Missouri. That change is not reflected in the data for St. Louis shown in this bulletin, although the addition of entire counties in 2003 is reflected.

Metropolitan areas and metrpolitan divisions

The general concept of a metropolitan area is that of a core area containing a large population nucleus, together with adjacent communities that have a high degree of economic and social integration with that core.

A Metropolitan Statistical Area consists of at least one urbanized area that has a population of at least 50,000. The Metropolitan Statistical Area comprises the central county or counties containing the urbanized core area, plus adjacent outlying counties having a high degree of social and economic integration with the central county or counties, as measured through commuting ties.

A Metropolitan Division is essentially a separately identifiable employment center within a very large Metropolitan Statistical Area (one with a core population of 2.5 million or more). The Metropolitan Division consists of one or more main or secondary counties that represent an employment center, plus adjacent counties associated with the main or secondary county or counties through the strongest commuting ties.

The data published in section III reflect New England City and Town Area definitions, rather than the county-based Metropolitan Statistical Area and Metropolitan Division definitions, in the six New England States. In previous decades, the statistical areas that OMB had defined for the New England States were city and town based, with county-based areas specified as an alternative for users seeking a comparable geographic basis. For the current definitions, all Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Metropolitan Divisions are county based, with New England City and Town Areas serving as an equivalent alternative for the New England States.


1 The standards were published in the Federal Register on December 27, 2000. The definitions and a complete listing of the areas were first published on June 6, 2003, in OMB Bulletin No. 0304. Area titles appearing in this publication reflect updates per OMB Bulletin No. 1002, Update of Statistical Area Definitions and Guidance on Their Uses, dated December 1, 2009.

 Top of Page

Other Publications:
Beyond the Numbers | Spotlight on Statistics | The Editor's Desk
Occupational Outlook Handbook | Occupational Outlook Quarterly
Monthly Labor Review

Additional information:
Local Area Unemployment Statistics Home | BLS Home Page

E-Mail: gpinfo@bls.gov
Last Updated: September 23, 2015