RUPRI, led by the Rural Health Panel and the Population and Place Analytics Panel, has released comments on Recommendations from the Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Area Standards Review Committee to Changes in Metropolitan and Micropolitan Area Standards.
In our comments, we recommend that OMB not implement a change in the metropolitan statistical area population threshold from 50,000 to 100,000 without a more thorough exploration and vetting of the following three considerations:
- OMB should consider if the 1950s worldview of metropolitan (used to establish the 50,000 metropolitan threshold) is still relevant for setting the 2020 standards.
- Increasing evidence suggests that non-federal statistical applications of current core-based statistical areas are increasingly being challenged. A piece-meal approach of only addressing the threshold for the core urban area without considering other elements of the definition of metropolitan is an insufficient revision.
- OMB should reconsider its position that it “does not take into account or attempt to anticipate any public or private sector nonstatistical uses that may be made of the delineations.” Similarly, OMB should reconsider its position that “areas are not designed to serve as a general-purpose geographic framework applicable for nonstatistical activities or for use in program funding formulas.”
We also offer comments on the other five committee recommendations, with support or conditional support for these proposals.