Seven Alabama population centers could see their designation go from “metro” to “micro” under a proposal before the federal Office of Management and Budget. It’s open to question whether the proposed change from “metropolitan statistical area” to “micropolitan statistical area” would be a mere bureaucratic recategorization or an actual downgrade. Those proposing say it shouldn’t be used as a basis for funding decisions. The possibility that it might be is causing some concern among officials in affected areas around the country. Nationally, 144 areas would be affected by the change if it’s adopted, including these in Alabama: Anniston-Oxford, Auburn-Opelika, Daphne-Fairhope-Foley, Decatur, Dothan, Florence-Muscle Shoals and Gadsden. The Associated Press reported that Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller was among those concerned. In a letter to the OMB he wrote that “The risk to vital services within our community, our state and the millions of impacted Americans across this country far outweigh any limited statistical value that might be gained from this proposal.”The proposal goes back at least as far as August 2019, when an OMB committee submitted a draft document with a title only a bureaucrat could love: “Report and Recommendations from the Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Area Standards Review Committee to the Office of Management and Budget Concerning Changes to the 2010 Standards for Delineating Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas.”The committee said that the threshold for being classed as a metropolitan statistical area had been set at 50,000 people since 1950, and the country’s population had more than doubled in the meantime. The committee recommended doubling the threshold to 100,000 to reflect that context. Metropolitan areas with core populations of 50,000 to 99,999 would now be classed as micropolitan. Areas with populations between 10,000 and 49,999 would continue to qualify as micropolitan. Other areas affected by the change would include Albany, Ga.; Bismarck, N. D.; Dubuque, Iowa; Fairbanks, Alaska; Hammond, La.; Jackson, Tenn.; Napa, Calif.; Santa Fe, N. M.; and Walla Walla, Wash. Nancy Potok, a former chief statistician of the Office of Management and Budget who helped develop the new recommendations, told The Associated Press that officials in some cities will be upset with the changes because they believe it could hurt efforts to lure jobs or companies to their communities. Fuller isn’t alone in holding that view.“I won’t lie. We would be dismayed to see our MSA designation go away, Patrick Rollins, a spokesman for Corvallis, Ore., told The AP. “We aren’t a suburb of any other, larger city in the area, so this is very much part of our community’s identity. Losing the designation would also have potentially adverse impacts on recruitment for local businesses, as well as Oregon State University.
All data is taken from the source: http://al.com
Article Link: https://www.al.com/news/mobile/2021/03/seven-alabama-cities-could-go-from-metro-to-micro-under-proposal.html
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