Federal officials are starting to take notice of some of the country’s cities and areas that aren’t quite big enough to be called a metro area. Beth Henning , the coordinator of the State Data Center at the State Library, says federal officials have coined a new name for those areas. She says the Office of Management and Budget calls them micropolitan statistical areas. They’re areas that have more than 10-thousand people, but less than 50-thousand. Henning says 50-thousand people is the mark used to designate a metropolitan area. She says there are fourteen Iowa areas that will take on the new micropolitan label. The metropolitan tag is an important designation when it comes to getting federal funds — but Henning isn’t sure if the micropolitan tag will carry the same weight. She says they don’t know yet if there will be programs that target the micropolitan statistical areas, but says it’s likely that will happen. The micropolitan areas include a city and the surrounding counties in which at least 25 percent of the residents commute to that city. The designated micropolitan areas in Iowa are: Boone, Burlington, Clinton, Fort Dodge, Keokuk-Fort Madison, Marshalltown, Mason City, Muscatine, Newton, Oskaloosa, Ottumwa, Spencer, Spirit Lake, and Storm Lake are Iowa’s first micropolitan statistical areas. The designation is based on data from the 2000 census.
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