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September 2023 Map of the Month – Revised Delineation of the Metropolitan Statistical Area

September 2023 Map of the Month – Revised Delineation of the Metropolitan Statistical Area

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recently released the latest revision of core based statistical area (CBSA) delineations, which includes the existing Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).  The new delineations incorporate 2020 Census population data and 2015-2020 5-Year ACS commuting data.

The revised delineation for Hampton Roads includes the following localities:

Principal Cities: Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Newport News, and Portsmouth

Central Counties: Chesapeake, Gloucester County, Hampton, Isle of Wight County, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, and York County

Outlying Counties: Camden County (NC), Currituck County (NC), Gates County (NC), James City County, Mathews County, Suffolk, Surry County, and Williamsburg.

An MSA must have at least one Urban Area over 50,000 population (the Urban Areas were revised in 2023 as well). The central counties (or county equivalents) comprise the core of the MSA and contain a substantial portion of the population of an Urban Area. The central counties are also used to measure commuting to and from them to qualify outlying counties for inclusion in the MSA. An outlying county must have at least 25% of its workers that live in the county work in the central counties or 25% of the employment in the outlying county comes from workers that reside in the central counties.

Summary of Changes

It is not unusual for MSAs to change as the standards for Urban Areas and CBSAs are reviewed and updated following each decennial census. Updates to the standards along with regular updates of ACS data and commuting counts, drive the final delineations.

The name of the MSA has changed to Virginia Beach-Chesapeake-Norfolk, VA-NC which contains the names of the three principal cities in the MSA with the highest population.

Surry County has been added back to the MSA after it was removed in the 2013 update. The inclusion of Surry County reflects increased commuting ties between Surry and the other central counties of the MSA. Isle of Wight County became a central county in this update, which likely influenced this change as well.

The City of Franklin and Southampton County have been removed from the MSA; they were added for the first time in 2018. The removal of Franklin and Southampton is a consequence of the creation of the new Suffolk Urban Area which was split from the Virginia Beach-Norfolk Urban Area in the 2023 update. As a result, Suffolk is an outlying county in the MSA, rather than a central county, as it was previously. Only central counties are used to measure the commuting ties between localities. Franklin and Southampton did not meet the 25% commuting thresholds for this revision, as described above. 

Combined Statistical Area (CSA) Update

A Combined Statistical Area (CSA) is another type of CBSA. It consists of adjacent Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas (µSA) with economic ties measured by commuting patterns. The Virginia Beach-Chesapeake-Norfolk, VA-NC MSA is combined with the Elizabeth City, NC µSA and the Kill Devil Hills, NC µSA to create the Virginia Beach-Chesapeake, VA-NC CSA. In addition to the changes in the MSA, the Elizabeth City, NC µSA lost Perquimans County, NC so it is not included in the revised CSA delineation.

This month’s map shows the latest revision of the MSA and the CSA.

Purpose and Use of CBSAs

  • CBSAs are delineated for statistical purposes only.
  • CBSAs allow for consistently calculated Federal statistics across the country.
  • CBSAs do not establish an urban-rural classification.
  • The OMB cautions agencies and organizations against using the CBSA delineations for nonstatistical programs and policies, including allocation of Federal funding.
  • The MSA designation does not affect membership to the HRPDC/HRTPO.

Future Updates

The OMB acknowledges the profound impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on census data collection and the nature of commuting. It plans to research the lasting effect of the pandemic on commuting patterns and may propose methodology changes for the next review cycle.