Hoeven Urges OMB to Reject Proposed Changes to Metropolitan Statistical Area Minimum Population Definition

Senator Highlights Impacts on Federal Formula Funding for North Dakota Communities

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven this week urged Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Acting Director Robert Fairweather to reject a recent proposal to change the definition of Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA). The proposal would increase the minimum population to qualify as an MSA from 50,000 to 100,000. As this category is used in funding formulas for multiple federal programs, as well as in determining geographical regions for federal labor market statistics, this change would have a negative impact on many communities across rural America, including those in North Dakota, such as Bismarck, Grand Forks and Minot. 

“Adopting this recommendation could negatively impact over 140 metropolitan areas, as well as numerous micropolitan areas that may achieve the MSA status with the release of the 2020 census data,” said Hoeven. “This change would not only impact federal labor market statistics, which help inform the decisions of local governments, business leaders, real estate developers and social service providers, it would directly affect the federal funding that communities receive for infrastructure, housing and other key economic development efforts. That’s why we’re pressing Acting Director Fairweather to reject this change.”

The full text of Hoeven’s letter can be found here.