Metropolitan Statistical Area - MSA

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DEFINITION of 'Metropolitan Statistical Area - MSA'

A formal definition of metropolitan areas established by the Office of Management and Budget, a division of the U.S. Government. Metropolitan statistical areas serve to group counties and cities into specific geographic areas for the purposes of a population census and the compilation of related statistical data.

BREAKING DOWN 'Metropolitan Statistical Area - MSA'

An earlier version of metropolitan statistical areas were known as standard metropolitan statistical areas (SMSAs). Modern MSAs are configured to represent contiguous geographic areas with a relatively high density of human population.

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