MSA vs. CSA: What’s in a Name?

A recent post of mine, pointed out that by 2018, the Washington-Baltimore Combined Statistical Area (CSA) would likely have more people than the Chicago-Naperville CSA. It elicited several responses including that the analyses was pointless because CSA is a meaningless measure – what matters are MSAs (Metropolitan Statistical Areas).

This critique is not new but it reminded me that many are skeptical of CSAs and that how we define (and measure) an integrated urban area, and compare it against others, is both important and contentious.


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