New Definitions Released for Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Divisions

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Based on information from the latest American Community Survey, the Office of Management and Budget issued updated definitions — i.e., the list of counties that belong to a metro area — for 45 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) and Metropolitan Divisions in 2018. It will likely be about a year before the metropolitan-based system of income limits and fair market rents are affected by these changes. These updates reflect changes in population counts and commuting patterns. Previously, major changes had been issued once a decade. However, going forward, updates will occur in years ending in "3" based on data from the decennial census and in years ending in "8" based on updated data from the American Community Survey. New definitions include both additions and deletions of counties, based on changes to the geographic composition of the area. The New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA Metropolitan Area was also revised to dissolve one division (Dutchess County-Putnam County, N.Y.) and create another (New Brunswick-Lakewood, N.J.). In addition to definition changes, two new MSAs were created: Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, N.Y. and Enid, Okla. To see how housing affordability currently stacks up in the largest 50 metro areas, check out this recent report from Freddie Mac. Rose Quint, NAHB assistant vice president of survey research, provides more information in this Eye on Housing blog post.

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