As a service to the economic-development community, I have revised, updated, and relaunched this website’s accompanying database of metropolitan geography components. The tables in this database may be useful to economic geographers and economic developers, particularly those looking for a quick and ready reference to metropolitan areas they are not already familiar with. Some may find the tool useful for scoping out benchmarks or competitors, or for just getting a better handle on already-familiar geographies and their components.

The database is simply a skeleton without actual demographic data, intended to exhibit the relationship among various federal geographies and taxonomies in a way that is not easily available on any single government website. The tables have now been updated with 2013 OMB metro area definitions and 2010 and later Census data files, and every “place” record now includes a Google Maps URL. ((I built these tables for my own use and reference, and make no warranties of any kind as to accuracy, completeness or suitability for any particular analytic purpose.)) Instructions including video screencasts are here. I hope some of my readers may find this database useful, and I welcome feedback using the contact form or in the comments. ((While not implying any endorsement by them, and retaining complete responsibility for any and all errors, I’d like to acknowledge encouragement and/or critical feedback I’ve had from: Martin Grueber of Battelle Memorial Institute’s Technology Partnership Practice; Dr. Joshua Drucker of the University of Illinois at Chicago; Dr. Kent Gardner of CGR; Kevin Jack of the NYS Department of Labor; and Dr. Dror Etzion of McGill University.))

With all the recent interest in metropolitan regions as a unit of economic competitiveness (most prominently in the White House’s Regional Clusters of Innovation Initiative, but also its intellectual antecedents at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program and the Science Progress project of the Center for American Progress), some readers might find interesting a database on metropolitan geographies that I have built from U.S. Census data. I am making it available free of charge here.

The database includes no demographic variables: it is purely a way to gain familiarity with how Census classifies the U.S. geography into metropolitan and non-metropolitan regions. I built it because I realized I would need something like it in order to refresh my tbed program database (a project I will take on later this year), and I could find no sufficiently comprehensive and easy-to-use tool on the Census website. This is basically a sandbox of taxonomies to play in, to gain some quick insight into the way metropolitan regions are put together in the U.S.

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