|Map by The Daily Yonder, based on Office of Management and Budget data|
The Biden administration has dropped a Trump-administration proposal that would have doubled the threshold to qualify as a metropolitan area, a move that would have greatly broadened the rough but most widely used definition of "rural" in the United States.
"The change would have reclassified 251 currently metropolitan counties as nonmetropolitan, based on current population figures," Marema reports. "The affected counties contain a combined population of about 18 million. The change would have raised the nation’s nonmetropolitan population from about 46 million to 64 million."
OMB noted, "Counties included in metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas [central cites of 10,000 to 50,000] may contain both urban and rural territory and population. For instance, programs that seek to strengthen rural economies by focusing solely on counties located outside MSAs could ignore a predominantly rural county that is included in an MSA because a high percentage of the county’s residents commute to urban centers for work."