While Iowa is considered a rural state, it’s now officially a little more metropolitan. The Federal Office of Management and Budget says 2000 census data shows the city of Ames has surpassed the 50-thousand population mark and is now officially designated as a metropolitan statistical area. Beth Henning of the State Library says the metro designation can bring lots of dollars to a community. She says many federal programs give funding based on the metropolitan status, including Medicare. The census data also prompted a change in Iowa’s other metro areas. The O-M-B also expanded the counties that are considered part of Iowa’s seven other metropolitan areas — for example the Cedar Rapids metro area used to just be Linn Count, now it includes Benton and Jones counties. She says the changes in the metro areas were made based on the number of commuters into a city from various surrounding counties. She says the counties that were added had at least 25-percent of their workers commuting into the metro areas. Henning says Iowa’s border cities saw changes due to commuters too. She says the Davenport, Moline, Rock Island area added a county in Illinois, the Omaha-Council Bluffs area added Harrison and Mills Count and Sioux City added a county in Nebraska and one in South Dakota. Henning says the addition of counties to a metro area is also important. She says it has ramifications on funding that’s handed out based on the number of people in a metro area. The new and revised metropolitan statistical areas and their populations can be found on the State Library’s State Data Center web site.
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