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An Analysis of State and County Population Changes by Characteristics: 1990-1999

By Amy Symens Smith, Bashir Ahmed, and Larry Sink

Population Division
U.S. Census Bureau
Washington, D.C. 20233-8800

November 2000

Working Paper Series No. 45


DISCLAIMER:

This paper reports the results of research and analysis undertaken by Census Bureau Staff. It has undergone a more limited review than official Census Bureau publications. This report is released to inform interested parties of research and to encourage discussion.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

ABSTRACT

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I.  Introduction

II.  State Level Population Change

III.  County Level Population Change

IV.  Summary and Conclusions


Figures:

Figure 1. Distribution of U.S. Population by Race: 1990 and 1999
Black/White Map Image (18k) Color Map Image (19k)
Figure 2. Distribution of U.S. Population by Hispanic Origin: 1990 and 1999
Black/White Map Image (15k) Color Map Image (16k)
Figure 3. Age Distribution of U.S. Population: 1990 and 1999
Black/White Map Image (17k) Color Map Image (18k)
Figure 4. Percent Change in the White Population by State: 1990-1999
Black/White Map Image (145k) Color Map Image (95k)
Figure 5. Percent Change in the Black Population by State: 1990-1999
Black/White Map Image (138k) Color Map Image (95k)
Figure 6. Percent Change in the Asian and Pacific Islander Population by State: 1990-1999
Black/White Map Image (169k) Color Map Image (97k)
Figure 7. Percent Change in the American Indian and Alaska Native Population by State: 1990-1999
Black/White Map Image (127k) Color Map Image (99k)
Figure 8. Percent Change in the Hispanic Population by State: 1990-1999
Black/White Map Image (152k) Color Map Image (94k)
Figure 9. Median Age by State: 1990
Black/White Map Image (182k) Color Map Image (95k)
Figure 10. Median Age by State: 1999
Black/White Map Image (152k) Color Map Image (92k)


Tables:

Table 1: Counties Ranked by Numeric Change in White Population: April 1, 1990 - July 1, 1999 (5k)

Table 2: Counties Ranked by Percent Change in White Population: April 1, 1990 - July 1, 1999 (4k)

Table 3: Counties Ranked by Numeric Change in African American Population: April 1, 1990 - July 1, 1999 (5k)

Table 4: Counties Ranked by Percent Change in African American Population: April 1, 1990 - July 1, 1999 (4k)

Table 5: Counties Ranked by Numeric Change in Asian and Pacific Islander Population: April 1, 1990 - July 1, 1999 (5k)

Table 6: Counties Ranked by Percent Change in Asian and Pacific Islander Population: April 1, 1990 - July 1, 1999 (5k)

Table 7: Counties Ranked by Numeric Change in American Indian and Alaska Native Population: April 1, 1990 - July 1, 1999 (5k)

Table 8: Counties Ranked by Percent Change in American Indian and Alaska Native Population: April 1, 1990 - July 1, 1999 (4k)

Table 9: Counties Ranked by Numeric Change in Hispanic Population: April 1, 1990 - July 1, 1999 (5k)

Table 10: Counties Ranked by Percent Change in Hispanic Population: April 1, 1990 - July 1, 1999 (4k)


Population Division Working Papers Series


ABSTRACT

This report is a companion to the 1990-1999 state and county population estimates by age, sex, race, and Hispanic origin that were released in August 2000. It informs data users about evolving population trends affecting the demographic landscape of the United States. This report concentrates primarily on two topics: the increasing racial and ethnic diversity occurring in the United States and the gradual aging of the population. It includes tables and maps to illustrate population change between April 1, 1990 to July 1, 1999.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The authors wish to thank Claudette Bennett (Racial Statistics Branch) and Nicole Stoops (Special Projects Staff) for their helpful comments as peer reviewers. Jeffrey Schulz (Administrative Records and Methodology Research Branch intern) provided invaluable help preparing the tables and figures, as well as editing early versions of the text. Myoung-Ouk Kim and Lucinda Pearson (Administrative Records and Methodology Research Branch) provided assistance in preparing the maps.


An Analysis of State and County Population Changes by Characteristics: 1990-1999


I.  Introduction

Over the last decade, the demographic landscape of the United States marked increasing racial and ethnic diversity and changes in the age structure. Racial groups White, Black1, Asian and Pacific Islander, and American Indian and Alaska Native and the Hispanic2 population each grew disproportionately, compared to the population as a whole. For example, from April 1, 1990 to July 1, 1999, the country’s total population grew to 272.7 million from 248.8 million, an increase of 9.6 percentage points. However, over the same period, the White population grew 7.6 percent to 224.6 million (from 208.7 million); African Americans, 14.4 percent, to 34.9 million (from 30.5 million); Asian and Pacific Islanders, 44.0 percent to 10.8 million (from 7.5 million); and the American Indian and Alaska Native population, 14.3 percent, to 2.4 million (from 2.1 million). The Hispanic population had a gain of 39.7 percent, increasing from 22.4 million in 1990 to 31.3 million in 1999.

Due to the disproportionate increase in racial groups and Hispanics, the racial and ethnic distribution of the United States population changed. For example, the proportion of Whites, declined to 82.4 percent in 1999 from 83.9 percent in 1990, while the proportion of Asians and Pacific Islanders increased to 4.0 percent in 1999 from 3.0 percent in 1990. The Hispanic population increased from 9.0 percent in 1990 to 11.5 percent in 1999.

Figure 1. Distribution of U.S. Population by Race: 1990 and 1999

Figure 2. Distribution of U.S. Population by Hispanic Origin: 1990 and 1999

As for age, the United States population continued to grow older, with the median age increasing from 32.8 years in 1990 to 35.5 years in 1999. From 1990 to 1999, the population aged 65 and over increased 11.1 percent to 34.5 million, the population aged 18-64 increased 9.2 percent to 168.0 million, and the population under age 18 increased 9.8 percent to 70.2 million. While the proportion of the U.S. population under age eighteen remained unchanged (25.7 percent), the population aged 65 and over increased its share from 12.5 percent to 12.7 percent.

Figure 3. Age Distribution of U.S. Population: 1990 and 1999

The changes in the race and ethnic composition and in the age structure of the United States population between 1990 and 1999 vary across the states and counties. This report looks at these geographic patterns by analyzing population change by race, Hispanic origin, and median age at the state and county levels. It is a companion report to the 1990-1999 state and county population estimates by age, sex, race, and Hispanic origin detail that were released in August 2000.3

We present the state level analysis in section II, and the county level analysis in section III. At each level, we discuss the population change by race (White; African American; Asian and Pacific Islander; and American Indian and Alaska Native) and Hispanic origin, and changes in median age. Finally, in section IV, we summarize the results.


II. State Level Population Change

The variations in population growth by race are more dramatic at the state level than for the United States.


White Population

From April 1, 1990 to July 1, 1999, the growth of the White population varied substantially across states, particularly by region. Eight states, located in the South4 and the West5, each had a gain of over half a million in the White population: Texas (2,365,000), California (2,043,000), Florida (1,464,000), Arizona (962,000), Georgia (737,000), North Carolina (723,000), Washington (693,000), and Colorado (677,000). On the other hand, seven states or state equivalents, primarily in the Northeast6, each had a loss of White population: New York (-277,000), Connecticut (-65,000), Rhode Island (-25,000), Pennsylvania (-20,000), North Dakota (-12,000), the District of Columbia (-9,000), and Massachusetts (-8,000).

The percentage growth of the White population was less than 10.0 percent for most states, with only five states experiencing growth greater than 20.0 percent and none greater than 50.0 percent. The highest growth was concentrated in mountain states7, including Nevada (45.9 percent), Arizona (29.3 percent), Idaho (24.0 percent), Utah (22.7 percent), and Colorado (22.0 percent).

Figure 4. Percent Change in the White Population by State: 1990-1999


African American Population

In 1999, the District of Columbia had the largest concentration of African Americans of any state or state equivalent, representing 61.4 percent of the total population. However, the District of Columbia experienced the largest decline in its African American population of any state or state equivalent during the period 1990 to 1999, declining 20.8 percent from 402,000 people to 319,000 people.

Among the other states, six from the South each gained over 200,000 African Americans: Florida (561,000), Georgia (485,000), Texas (422,000), Maryland (258,000), North Carolina (225,000), and Virginia (216,000). Although New York gained only 157,000 African Americans between 1990 and 1999, its population of African Americans (3,222,000) in 1999 was the largest of any state.

Based on percentage increase, the African American population in each of the following seven states, primarily from the West or the Midwest8, grew 50.0 percent or more from 1990 to 1999: Idaho (114.9 percent), Nevada (75.3 percent), Vermont (61.4 percent), Utah (61.2 percent), South Dakota (54.9 percent), Minnesota (54.5 percent), and Arizona (52.7 percent). The growth was in the range 25.0-49.9 percent for eight states, 10.0-24.9 percent for 23 states, and 0.0-9.9 percent for 11 states, with only the District of Columbia (-20.8 percent) and West Virginia (-0.5 percent) experiencing negative growth.

Figure 5. Percent Change in the Black Population by State: 1990-1999

As expected, the higher percentage growth of the African American population was experienced mostly by states that had relatively small Black populations in 1990. For example, 21 of the 29 states where the African American population grew by 15.0 percent or more had less than half a million Black population in 1990. On the other hand, of the 20 states where the African American population grew by 5.0-14.9 percent, 10 had a base Black population of over a million in 1990.


Asian and Pacific Islander Population

Every single state, including the District of Columbia, shared the nation’s addition of 3.3 million Asian and Pacific Islanders during 1990-1999. However, states differed widely both in their numerical and percentage increases in this population. California had the largest numerical increase in the Asian and Pacific Islander population (1,087,000) of any state. The other six states with the largest gains were New York (315,000), Texas (246,000), New Jersey (192,000), Washington (128,000), Florida (125,000), and Illinois (124,000). Thus, at least one state from each region of the country registered a gain of at least 100,000 Asian and Pacific Islanders during 1990-1999.

For percentage increase, states in the West and the South showed large percentage increases in the Asian and Pacific Islander population. For example, 17 of the 29 states that each had a 50.0 percent or more increase in the Asian and Pacific Islander population were in the West and the South. The top five states for percentage increase were Nevada (123.7 percent), Georgia (109.0 percent), North Carolina (99.0 percent), Florida (79.9 percent), and Nebraska (78.7 percent). Of the remaining 21 states and the District of Columbia, the percentage growth for 19 fell in the range 25.0-49.9 percent. Due to the high concentration of Asian and Pacific Islanders in Hawaii (62.8 percent in 1990 and 63.6 percent in 1999) this state experienced the slowest percentage growth during 1990-1999, with an increase of only 8.4 percent.

Figure 6. Percent Change in the Asian and Pacific Islander Population by State: 1990-1999


American Indian and Alaska Native Population

During 1990-1999, the American Indian and Alaska Native population increased in 47 states and the District of Columbia, and declined in three states. The top five gainers in this population were Arizona (47,000), New Mexico (28,000), California (27,000), Texas (25,000), and Florida (23,000). The three states that had declines were Alabama, Maine, and Vermont. Except for Alabama which lost just under 2,000 American Indians and Alaska Natives, the loss in each of the other two states was less than 500 people. Among all states in 1999, California had the largest number of American Indian and Alaska Native people (314,000), while Alaska had the highest concentration of this population (16.4 percent).

The percentage increase of the American Indian and Alaska Native population was in the range of 25.0 percent or more for six states, 10.0-24.9 percent for 32 states and the District of Columbia, and 0.0-9.9 percent for nine states. Vermont, Alabama, and Maine experienced negative growth. The five fastest growing states were Florida (62.5 percent), Nevada (56.0 percent), New Jersey (42.3 percent), Georgia (36.5 percent), and Texas (34.7 percent).

Figure 7. Percent Change in the American Indian and Alaska Native Population by State: 1990-1999


Hispanic Population

Like the Asian and Pacific Islander population, the dramatic growth in the Hispanic population during 1990-1999 was shared by all states, including the District of Columbia. California experienced the largest numerical gain of 2.8 million, increasing the state’s Hispanic population to 10.5 million, the largest of any state in 1999. The other big gainers in Hispanic population, with gains of at least 160,000 people, were primarily located in the South and West and included: Texas (1,706,000), Florida (760,000), New York (447,000), Arizona (396,000), Illinois (372,000), New Jersey (280,000), Nevada (180,000), Colorado (179,000), and Washington (162,000).

The percentage growth of the Hispanic population ranged from 12.7 percent for Wyoming to 170.3 percent for Arkansas during 1990-1999. Following Arkansas, the five states with the largest percentage increase in the Hispanic population were Nevada (144.7 percent), North Carolina (128.9 percent), Georgia (119.9 percent), Nebraska (108.3 percent), and Tennessee (104.9 percent). After Wyoming, the five states or state equivalents with the lowest percentage increases were Hawaii (17.3 percent), the District of Columbia (17.5 percent), New York (20.2 percent), West Virginia (21.7 percent), and New Mexico (22.3 percent).

Figure 8. Percent Change in the Hispanic Population by State: 1990-1999


Median Age

Both in 1990 and 1999, Utah had the youngest population with a median age of 26.2 years in 1990 and 26.7 years in 1999. In 1990, the population of Florida was the oldest with a median age of 36.2 years. However, by 1999, the population of West Virginia had become the oldest with a median age of 38.9 years.

The populations in every state and the District of Columbia grew older during 1990-1999, as measured by changes in the median age over this period. The changes in the median age were in the range 0.00-2.29 years for five states, 2.30-2.59 years for ten states, 2.60-2.99 years for 16 states, and 3.00 years or more for 19 states and the District of Columbia. The five states that had the largest change in the median age were Hawaii (4.5 years), the District of Columbia (4.3 years), Vermont (4.2 years), Wyoming (4.1 years), and Montana (4.1 years). The five states that had the smallest change in the median age were Utah (0.5 years), Alaska (1.6 years), Idaho (2.1 years), Nevada (2.1 years), and Arkansas (2.2 years).

Figure 9. Median Age by State: 1990

Figure 10. Median Age by State: 1999


III. County Level Population Change

Counties and county equivalents9 showed even wider variations in population growth with concentrations in metropolitan areas (MAs)10


White Population

The numerical change in the White population during 1990-1999 ranged from a decline of 156,000 people in Philadelphia County, PA to an increase of 648,000 people in Maricopa County, AZ. In addition to Maricopa County, AZ, there were six other counties all in the West that each gained at least 200,000 White people.

Besides Philadelphia County, PA, the following counties had losses of at least 55,000 in the White population: Allegheny County, PA (-99,000), Baltimore City, MD (-93,000), Kings County, NY (-84,000), Milwaukee County, WI (-83,000), Cuyahoga County, OH (-72,000), Queens County, NY (-66,000), Wayne County, MI (-63,000), Suffolk County, MA (-61,000), and Erie County, NY (-57,000). The declines in the New York and Pennsylvania counties contributed substantially to the overall loss in the White population in these states between 1990 and 1999.

Table 1: Counties Ranked by Numeric Change in White Population: April 1, 1990 - July 1, 1999 (5k)

The percentage change in the White population varied from -63.9 percent in the Aleutians West Census Area, AK to 158.5 percent in Douglas County, CO. The number of White people in Douglas County, CO increased from 59,000 in 1990 to 153,000 in 1999. Forsyth County, GA grew by 118.8 percent, an increase from 44,000 White people in 1990 to 96,000 in 1999. Elbert County, CO, grew by 103.9 percent, having only 9,000 White people in 1990 and increasing to 19,000 in 1999.

Table 2: Counties Ranked by Percent Change in White Population: April 1, 1990 - July 1, 1999 (4k)

Of the ten counties and county equivalents with the slowest growth rates, only Baltimore City, MD (-32.3 percent) and St. Louis City, MO (-25.4 percent) are located in metropolitan areas. The other slow growing counties included Aleutians West Census Area, AK (-63.9 percent), Bristol Bay Borough, AK (-35.7 percent), San Juan County, CO (-29.9 percent), Burke County, ND (-27.2 percent), Mineral County, NV (-23.3 perent), Sheridan County, ND (-22.6 percent), Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, AK (-22.5 percent), and Divide County, ND (-21.1 percent). The highest percentage declines in the Aleutians West Census Area, AK and Bristol Bay Borough, AK were attributed to the closing of military bases since 1990.


African American Population

Counties with the largest increases in the African American population between 1990 and 1999 were concentrated primarily in metropolitan areas. The seven counties that had increases of 50,000 or more African Americans were: Harris County, TX (97,000), Broward County, FL (91,000), Fulton County, GA (87,000), Prince George’s County, MD (85,000), Cook County, IL (68,000), Dallas County, TX (59,000), and Clark County, NV (56,000).

The five counties or county equivalents with losses of 9,000 or more African Americans were: Philadelphia County, PA (-22,000), Orleans Parish, LA (-13,000), St. Louis City, MO (-11,000), Bronx County, NY (-10,000), and Baltimore City, MD (-10,000).

Table 3: Counties Ranked by Numeric Change in African American Population: April 1, 1990 - July 1, 1999 (5k)

Like the White population, the African American population had the fastest or slowest growth rates in the counties that had relatively smaller African American population bases in 1990. For example, Wayne County, TN which grew the fastest (597.8 percent) had only 138 African Americans in 1990. Aleutians West Census Area, AK, on the contrary, declined the most (-74.6 percent) from a 1990 base population of 685 people.

Table 4: Counties Ranked by Percent Change in African American Population: April 1, 1990 - July 1, 1999 (4k)


Asian and Pacific Islander Population

With three exceptions, all counties and county equivalents had increases in the Asian and Pacific Islander population during the 1990 to 1999 period. Ten counties, all in the largest metropolitan areas, gained 59,000 or more Asians and Pacific Islanders during this period: Los Angeles County, CA (260,000), Orange County, CA (119,000), Queens County, NY (98,000), San Diego County, CA (98,000), Santa Clara County, CA (98,000), Harris County, TX (77,000), Alameda County, CA (76,000), Cook County, IL (68,000), King County, WA (63,000), and San Francisco County, CA (60,000). The top ten counties were from five states California, New York, Texas, Washington, and Illinois and each state had overall gains of 120,000 or more Asian and Pacific Islanders.

Table 5: Counties Ranked by Numeric Change in Asian and Pacific Islander Population: April 1, 1990 - July 1, 1999 (5k)

The three counties or county equivalents where the Asian and Pacific Islander population declined during 1990-1999 were: Aleutians West Census Area, AK; Aleutians East Borough, AK; and Hancock County, WV. However, the size of the decline in this population was fewer than 300 in each county. The size of the Asian and Pacific Islander population in each of these counties was less than 1,100 in 1990.

Turning to percentage growth, the Asian and Pacific Islander population showed the same pattern as the White and African American populations: the smaller counties experienced the faster growth. Eight of the ten counties with the largest percentage increases between 1990 and 1999 had a 1990 base population of less than 600 Asian and Pacific Islanders: Douglas County, CO (263.7 percent), Henry County, GA (259.0 percent), Coweta County, GA (197.3 percent), Cherokee County, GA (188.4 percent), Flagler County, FL (179.6 percent), Walter County, GA (179.3 percent), Camden County, GA (171.7 percent), and Barrow County, GA (169.6 percent). Seven of these counties are in Georgia and Florida. Within Georgia, four of these counties are clustered in the Atlanta, GA MSA.

Table 6: Counties Ranked by Percent Change in Asian and Pacific Islander Population: April 1, 1990 - July 1, 1999 (5k)


American Indian and Alaska Native Population

The numerical change in the American Indian and Alaska Native population ranged from a decline of 645 people in Los Angeles County, CA to an increase of 14,069 people in Maricopa County, AZ. In addition to Los Angeles County, CA, there were four other counties or county equivalents with losses of over 500 American Indian and Alaska Native people: Oklahoma County, OK, Comanche County, OK, Lawrence County, AL, and Aleutians West Census Area, AK. In addition to Maricopa County, AZ, the counties with numerical increases of 5,000 or more in the American Indian and Alaska Native population were: Navajo County, AZ (11,000), San Juan County, NM (9,000), Robeson County, NC (7,000), Sandoval County, NM (7,000), Cococino County, AZ (6,000), Clark County, NV (6,000), and Apache County, AZ (5,000). Like the population in the other three race groups, the American Indian and Alaska Native population grew (or declined) faster in counties with smaller base populations.

Table 7: Counties Ranked by Numeric Change in American Indian and Alaska Native Population: April 1, 1990 - July 1, 1999 (5k)

Table 8: Counties Ranked by Percent Change in American Indian and Alaska Native Population: April 1, 1990 - July 1, 1999 (4k)


Hispanic Population

During the 1990 to 1999 period, the numerical change in the Hispanic population ranged from a decline of 700 people in Reeves County, TX to an increase of 790,000 people in Los Angeles County, CA. Reeves County, TX was the only county in the country that lost over 700 Hispanics during 1990-1999. On the other hand, there were 10 counties that gained 150,000 or more Hispanics. The top five counties with gains of 150,000 or more Hispanics were: Los Angeles County, CA (790,000), Miami-Dade County, FL (296,000), Harris County, TX (263,000), Maricopa County, AZ (238,000), and Orange County, CA (237,000). Large increases in the Southern and the Western counties made California, Texas, Florida, and Arizona the top gainers in the Hispanic population in the country.

Table 9: Counties Ranked by Numeric Change in Hispanic Population: April 1, 1990 - July 1, 1999 (5k)

The higher percentage change in the Hispanic population was experienced by counties that had smaller population bases in 1990. For example, each of the top five fastest growing counties had a population of less than 700 Hispanics in 1990.

Table 10: Counties Ranked by Percent Change in Hispanic Population: April 1, 1990 - July 1, 1999 (4k)


Median Age

Unlike states, the population of some counties grew younger while others grew older during the 1990 to 1999 period. The change in the median age ranged from -4.0 years to 34.8 years. For 43 of the 3,140 counties, there was a decrease in the median age between 1990 and 1999. Among the counties which showed an increase in the median age, 417 had an increase of less than two years, 2,419 counties registered an increase of between two to less than four years in the median age, while 261 counties had an increase of four years or more.

The four counties with the largest increase in the median age were: Edwards County, TX (34.8 years), Mineral County, CO (10.2 years), Lewis and Clark County, MT (9.5 years), and Butte County, SD (8.9 years). The dramatic change in the median age in Edwards County, TX was the result of the development of a rapidly-growing retirement community which has caused the proportion of the population aged 65 and older to increase from 12 percent in 1990 to 58 percent in 1999.

The five counties or county equivalents with the largest decline in the median age were all in Alaska: Northwest Arctic Borough, AK (-4.0 years), Nome Census Area, AK (-3.7 years), Bethel Census Area, AK (-3.4 years), Dillingham Census Area, AK (-3.1 years), and North Slope Borough (-2.9 years). The declines in the median age in the counties in Alaska were attributed to the increase in the school-age population in those counties.


IV. Summary and Conclusions

Between 1990 and 1999, the American population grew older and became more racially and ethnically diverse. Most striking has been the rapid increase in the Hispanic and Asian and Pacific Islander populations since the last census. This change has been felt most strongly in the South and the West. The Hispanic and Asian and Pacific Islander populations more than doubled in Nevada and Georgia. Similarly, the Hispanic populations in Arkansas, North Carolina, Nebraska, and Tennessee grew by more than 100 percent.

Changes in the demographic landscape of the United States are affected by the continuous influx of immigrants who are typically younger and have higher fertility rates. While these changes are evident in many states and counties they are more apparent in the South and the West. Aging of the United States population has been more gradual and evenly distributed among states. This change is driven by the natural aging of the baby boom population. Most areas experienced an increase in the median age similar to the 2.7-year increase that occurred at the national level. It is likely that both sets of forces, immigration as well as the aging of the baby boom population, will continue to shape the demographic landscape of the country in the foreseeable future.


1 The terms "Black" and "African American" are used interchangeably throughout this report.

2 Hispanics may be of any race.

3 For information about methodology and production of 1990-1999 state and county characteristics estimates, see the Population Estimates Web site: http://www.census.gov/popest/estimates.php

4 Southern states or state equivalents include Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

5 Western states include Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

6 Northeast states include Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

7 Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.

8 Midwest states are: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

9 Counties are the primary legal divisions of most states. Most counties are functioning governmental units, whose powers and functions vary from state to state. In Louisiana, these primary divisions are known as parishes. In Alaska, the county equivalents consist of legally organized boroughs or "census areas" delineated for statistical purposes by the State of Alaska and the Census Bureau (since 1980). In four states (Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, and Virginia), one or more cities are independent of any county organization and thus constitute primary divisions of their states; the Census Bureau refers to these places as "independent cities" and treats them as the equivalents of counties for estimates purposes.

10 Metropolitan Areas (MAs)- MAs are defined by OMB as a standard for collection and presentation of federal statistics. The general concept of an MA is that of a core area containing a large population nucleus, together with adjacent communities having a high degree of economic and social integration with that core.
In New England, metropolitan areas are defined in terms of cities and towns rather than counties.
MAs include metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), consolidated metropolitan statistical areas (CMSAs), and primary metropolitan statistical areas (PMSAs). An area that qualifies as an MSA and has a population of one million or more may be recognized as a CMSA if separate component areas that demonstrate strong internal, social, and economic ties can be identified within the entire area and local opinion supports the component areas. Component areas, if recognized, are designated PMSAs. If no PMSAs are designated within the area, then the area remains an MSA. The Office of Management and Budget defines an MA as one or more contiguous counties having a large population nucleus (50,000 or more) and a high degree of economic and social integration.