Defining "Detroit"

Pingree's Potato Patch
Studying the Economics of Detroit

Those who have checked out the charts will have noticed that they cover two different geographical areas which include Detroit: the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and the Metropolitan Divsion. After a bit of poking around, I've tracked down the definitions. More...

The Metropolitan Statistical Area is described as "Detroit-Warren-Livonia", while the Metropolitan Division is described as covering just the Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn area. As it turns out, these names are a bit misleading, as they suggest that the boundaries are a bit messy. However, the formal definitions from the Census Bureau indicate that they are in fact defined by county boundaries. Specifically, the MSA contains:

  • Warren-Farmington Hills-Troy, MI Metropolitan Division
    • Lapeer County, MI
    • Livingston County, MI
    • Macomb County, MI
    • Oakland County, MI
    • St. Clair County, MI
  • Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, MI Metropolitan Division
    • Wayne County, MI

This presents a bit of a problem for data interpretation. The Census Bureau's 2006 reports show Detroit with a population of 918,849 and Wayne county with a population of 1,971,853. So, even when working with data for the Detroit-Livionia-Dearborn area, Detroit represents less than 50% of the population covered. That's better than for the MSA, which contains 4,468,966 people, but it still means that there's a real benefit to finding Detroit-specific statistics where possible.

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