Is Your Locality Impacted by the Changes to the 2023 Core Based Statistical Area Definitions?

Posted on December 27, 2023 by Patrick Clapp

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) periodically updates the definitions of Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) and Micropolitan Statistical Areas (µSAs) based on Census commuting and population data. Significant changes often follow the decennial census as more detailed information becomes available on these trends.

Though the Census Bureau provides historical delineations and the current definitions , it is difficult to find a list of what actually changed. The current definitions were released in July 2023, while the second most recent definitions were released in March 2020. As 2023 definitions are now incorporated into JobsEQ, Chmura developed the dashboard below to allow users to filter and view various changes to MSAs and µSAs between the 2020 and 2023 definitions.[1]  A lot of data are available in the dashboard, but it may not be intuitively accessible—keep scrolling down to see a detailed example in Virginia.



We can use Virginia as an example of the various changes in delineations. As shown in the map,

  • Floyd County was added to the Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford MSA
  • Surry County was added to the Virginia Beach-Chesapeake-Norfolk MSA
  • Orange County was added to the Lake of the Woods µSA
  • Southampton County was removed from the Virginia Beach-Chesapeake-Norfolk MSA
  • Madison County was removed from the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria MSA
  • Bland County was removed from the Bluefield µSA
  • There were no level changes to or from MSA or µSA
  • Blacksburg-Christiansburg MSA changed to Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford
  • Staunton MSA changed to Staunton-Stuarts Draft
  • Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News MSA changed to Virginia Beach-Chesapeake-Norfolk
  • Calvert County, MD was removed from the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria MSA to join the Lexington Park MSA




MSA and µSA definitions are constructed based on changes in population and commuting patterns, but changes in the definitions are not sufficient to tell the whole story of a community. JobsEQ® subscribers can start using these latest region definitions immediately to explore population, commuting, and other trends in their regions.



[1]  Note that data for Connecticut are not available at this time as the State of Connecticut has started changing to County-Equivalent “planning regions” beginning in late 2022. The Census Bureau expects to release all data using the nine new planning regions by 2024, but these regions are not yet available in JobsEQ or in this dashboard.


This blog reflects Chmura staff assessments and opinions with the information available at the time the blog was written.