United States metropolitan area

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In the United States, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has produced a formal definition of metropolitan areas, which are organized around county boundaries. These are referred to as "Metropolitan Statistical Areas" (MSAs).

MSAs are used for official purposes but they are not the only estimates of metro area populations available. The appropriate figures for some metro areas are much debated, and in some cases reputable sources provide figures which differ by millions. The most contentious examples include Greater Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay Area metro. The official definitions used for the last U.S. Census differed from those for previous censuses, making comparisons difficult even between official figures at different dates. Care should also be taken when comparing MSA figures with population figures for cities or metro areas outside the U.S., which may be based on substantially different boundary systems and definitions of terms.

As of February 2005, there is now an additional classification, that of a “Metropolitan Division.” The term Metropolitan Division is used to refer to a county or group of counties within a Metropolitan Statistical Area that has a population core of at least 2.5 million. While a Metropolitan Division is a subdivision of a larger Metropolitan Statistical Area, it often functions as a distinct social, economic, and cultural area within the larger region.

The following is a list of the 25 most populated metropolitan statistical areas and Metropolitan Divisions in the United States, according to the 2000 Census:

Rank Metropolitan Area Metropolitan Division States/Territories Population Other names*
1 New York--Northern New Jersey--Long Island   NY--NJ--CT 18,323,002 Tri-state Area, New York area, Greater New York
-   Edison, NJ NJ 2,173,869  
-   Nassau-Suffolk, NY NY 2,753,913 Long Island
-   Newark-Union NJ 2,098,843  
-   New York-Wayne-White Plains NJ, NY 11,296,377  
2 Los Angeles--Long Beach--Santa Ana   CA 12,365,627 The Southland, Southern California (The latter also refers to the entire southern portion of the state)
-   Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale CA 9,519,338 Greater Los Angeles, LA Area
-   Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine CA 2,846,289 Orange County Area, OC
3 Chicago--Naperville--Joliet   IL--IN--WI 9,098,316 Chicagoland, Greater Chicago, Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana (the latter refers to the eastern part extended until South Bend, Indiana)
-   Chicago-Naperville-Joliet IL 7,628,412 Chicagoland, Greater Chicago
-   Gary IN 675,971 Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana
-   Lake County-Kenosha County IL--WI 793,933  
4 Philadelphia--Camden--Wilmington PA--NJ--DE--MD 5,687,147 The Delaware Valley, Tri-state Area
-   Camden NJ 1,186,999  
-   Philadelphia PA 3,849,647  
-   Wilmington DE--NJ--MD 650,501  
5 Dallas--Fort Worth--Arlington   TX 5,161,544 The Metroplex, DFW, North Texas
-   Dallas-Plano-Irving TX 3,451,226  
-   Fort Worth-Arlington TX 1,710,318  
6 Miami--Fort Lauderdale--Miami Beach   FL 5,007,564 South Florida metropolitan area
-   Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach FL 1,623,018  
-   Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall FL 2,253,362 Metro Dade
-   West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Boynton Beach FL 1,131,184  
7 Washington--Arlington--Alexandria   DC--VA--MD--WV 4,796,183 Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area (now defunct)
-   Bethesda-Frederick-Gaithersburg MD 1,068,618  
-   Washington-Arlington-Alexandria DC--VA--MD--WV 3,727,565  
8 Houston--Sugar Land--Baytown   TX 4,715,407 Greater Houston
9 Detroit--Warren--Livonia   MI 4,452,557 Metro Detroit, Southeast Michigan, Southeastern Lower Michigan**
-   Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn MI 2,061,162 Metro Detroit
-   Warren-Farmington Hills-Troy MI 2,391,395  
10 Boston--Cambridge--Quincy   MA--NH 4,391,344 Greater Boston
-   Boston-Quincy MA 1,812,937  
-   Cambridge-Newton-Framingham MA 1,465,396  
-   Essex County MA 723,419  
-   Rockingham County-Strafford County NH 389,592  
11 Atlanta--Sandy Springs--Marietta   GA 4,247,981 Atlanta Metropolitan Area
12 San Francisco--Oakland--Fremont   CA 4,123,740 The Bay Area***
-   Oakland-Fremont-Hayward CA 2,392,557 East Bay
-   San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City CA 1,731,183 The City (San Francisco only), The Peninsula (San Mateo County only), Marin (Marin County Only)
13 Riverside--San Bernardino--Ontario   CA 3,254,821 Inland Empire
14 Phoenix--Mesa--Scottsdale   AZ 3,251,876 The Valley of the Sun
15 Seattle--Tacoma--Bellevue   WA 3,043,878 Greater Puget Sound, Seattle metropolitan area
-   Seattle-Bellevue-Everett WA 2,343,058  
-   Tacoma WA 700,820  
16 Minneapolis--St. Paul--Bloomington   MN--WI 2,968,806 The Twin Cities****
17 San Diego--Carlsbad--San Marcos   CA 2,813,833  
18 St. Louis   MO--IL 2,698,687 Greater St. Louis, St. Louis City (city only), North/South/West County (respective portions of St. Louis County), Metro East (Illinois side only)
19 Baltimore--Towson   MD 2,552,994  
San Juan--Caguas--Guaynabo   PR 2,509,007  
20 Pittsburgh   PA--WV 2,431,087  
21 Tampa--St. Petersburg--Clearwater   FL 2,395,997 Tampa Bay Area
22 Denver--Aurora   CO 2,179,240  
23 Cleveland--Elyria--Mentor   OH 2,148,143 Greater Cleveland, Northeast Ohio
24 Cincinnati--Hamilton--Middletown   OH--KY--IN 2,009,632 Tri-State Area, Queen City
25 Portland--Vancouver--Beaverton   OR--WA 1,927,881  

* Not necessarily equivalent to the Census definition of the metropolitan area.
** This metropolitan area does not include Canadian cities. A larger metropolitan area containing the Windsor, Ontario area is used internationally.
*** The Bay Area is often considered to include the San Jose region as well.
**** The cities referred to as the "Twin Cities" are Minneapolis and St. Paul; Bloomington is generally considered to be a suburb of the two.
† The Census Bureau ranks Puerto Rican cities separately. This is where the San Juan metro area would rank if it were included with state data.

For a complete list, see List of United States metropolitan statistical areas by population.

See also

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