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Home > LMI > Employment-Unemployment > ES202 > Redefinition of MSA

In 2000, the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) revised the standards for defining federal statistical areas. It was then announced in 2003 that statistical area definitions would be updated to follow the new standards in 2005. The updated Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) are defined in terms of whole counties and must meet two criteria based on the 2000 Census.


Each MSA must include

  • at least one (1) urbanized area of 50,000 or more people,


  • all adjacent counties showing a high degree of social and economic integration with the core as measured by commuting ties.


      When the changes are implemented in January 2005, Oklahoma will be left with three MSAs:  Lawton, Oklahoma City and Tulsa.  Enid, which has qualified under previous guidelines, will lose MSA status because its urban area population is less than 50,000.


      Population won’t be the only factor affecting the state, as commuting patterns will also force change. LeFlore County in eastern Oklahoma will join Sequoyah County as part of the Fort Smith (Arkansas) MSA. In addition, two of the remaining three MSAs for the state will see changes in their county makeup. The Oklahoma City MSA (Canadian, Cleveland, Grady, Lincoln, Logan, McClain and Oklahoma counties) will add Grady and Lincoln Counties but drop Pottawatomie County. The Tulsa MSA (Creek, Okmulgee, Osage, Pawnee, Rogers, Tulsa and Wagoner counties) will add Okmulgee and Pawnee counties.  The Lawton MSA will remain as is.


      For the Oklahoma City and Tulsa MSAs, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages data for 4th quarter 2004 and before will not be comparable with data published using the new definitions due to the addition and subtraction of counties. These new MSA definitions will be implemented with the release 1st quarter 2005 employment data. To address data comparability issues, historical data from 1st quarter 2001 to 4th quarter 2004 have been revised to incorporate the changes. Historical data with the new MSA definition is available online in the New MSA tab. In the mean time, we will only provide Old MSA data up to 4th quarter 2004.
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