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Outlying counties in metropolitan statistical areas grew faster than central counties between 2000 and 2007, according to a Census Bureau report released today. These outlying counties saw their population increase 13 percent, compared with an 8 percent increase for the central counties of metro areas. Metro area central and outlying counties both grew faster than the remainder of the nation (2 percent).
The report, Population Change in Central and Outlying Counties of Metropolitan Statistical Areas: 2000 to 2007 [PDF], provides an analysis of population change and demographic components of change over the period. Central counties contain all or a substantial portion of the core urban area of the metro area. Metro areas may also contain outlying counties: adjacent counties that have a high degree of social and economic integration (as measured by commuting to work) with the central counties. The population change in central and outlying counties is examined by region, division and metro area population size category.
More than 80 percent, or 252 million, of the nation's population live in metro areas. About 92 percent of these people live in central counties.
The report shows that outlying counties grew faster in the South (17 percent) than in any other region. The percentage-point difference in growth between the South's outlying and central counties (which grew by 11 percent) was the largest among the four regions. Besides the South, outlying counties also grew faster than central counties in the Midwest and West.
The central county or counties of a metro area are those containing all or a substantial portion of the core urbanized area. Metro areas may also contain outlying counties. A county qualifies as outlying under the following circumstances: (1) one-quarter or more of the employed residents in the potential outlying county work in the central county or counties of the metro area, or (2) one-quarter or more of the employment in the potential outlying county is composed of workers who live in the central county or counties.