Visualization: Metropolitan statistical area populations

An interactive visualization of populations of metropolitan statistical areas, or MSA, in the United States.

For most types of economic and demographic analysis, metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) are preferred to cities proper. The United States Census Bureau notes: “The general concept of a metropolitan or micropolitan statistical area is that of a core area containing a substantial population nucleus, together with adjacent communities having a high degree of economic and social integration with that core.” 1

There is more economic data available at the MSA level (compared to the city level) from agencies like Bureau of Labor Statistics and Bureau of Economic Analysis. This data includes important measures like employment, labor force, unemployment rate, gross domestic product, and personal income.

I’ve gathered data from the Census Bureau and present it in an interactive visualization using Tableau Public. Click here to access the visualization.

Data is from Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2017. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. For counties, municipios, metropolitan statistical areas, micropolitan statistical areas, metropolitan divisions, and combined statistical areas, March 2018. Also earlier Census Bureau publications.

Example from the visualization. Click for larger.


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