By on 3.10.21 in Carolina Demographics

Two recently published Federal Register Notices address how urban areas will be identified after the 2020 Census data are released and how metropolitan areas will be defined. In this post, we detail what the recommendations are, and how that will impact communities in North Carolina.

Changing metropolitan definition would impact 3 NC metros

Federal Register notice: Recommendations from the Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Area Standards Review Committee to the Office of Management and Budget Concerning Changes to the 2010 Standards for Delineating Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas.

What changes are proposed and what it means: The key recommendation shifts the minimum urban area population for the core of a metropolitan area from 50,000 to 100,000. In North Carolina, there are three current metropolitan areas that would be classified as micropolitan under this shift: Goldsboro, New Bern, and Rocky Mount. The Daily Yonder has an extended overview on the potential implications of this change.

Want to send feedback? Comments are due by Friday, March 19, 2021.

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55 NC communities may be impacted by new urban area criteria

Federal Register Notice: Urban Areas for the 2020 Census – Proposed Criteria

What changes are proposed and what it means: This proposal has two key proposed changes:

1. It proposes using housing unit density (385 housing units per square mile) instead of population density as the primary criteria for including blocks in urban areas.

Why this is necessary: The use of new formal privacy techniques that will be implemented in the 2020 Census to help ensure responses are confidential require the Bureau to use housing units instead of population count at the block level.

What does it mean: This change will increase the likelihood that vacation destinations with high housing unit density but potentially smaller population will be classified as urban and will better reflect the built environment.

2. The urban definition will change from 2,500 people to 4,000 housing units OR 10,000 people.

What does it mean: In North Carolina, there are 55 communities that were classified as urban areas in 2010 that may not be identified as urban under the 2020 definition.

Want to send feedback?  Comments are due by May 20, 2021.

North Carolina communities that may be affected by the proposed criteria

Name2010 Population2010 Housing Units
Franklin, NC6,7813,709
Holden Beach, NC3,1363,422
Siler City, NC9,0763,305
Whiteville, NC7,4463,258
Elkin, NC6,5213,206
Cherryville, NC6,3402,873
Lake Norman of Catawba, NC5,6032,744
Wadesboro, NC5,7912,674
Williamston, NC5,3612,644
Manteo, NC5,3992,631
Pembroke, NC7,4362,427
Edenton, NC4,7902,389
Mount Olive, NC5,1962,380
Mocksville, NC5,1912,270
Ahoskie, NC4,9512,267
Mayodan, NC4,3822,257
Farmville, NC4,8152,254
Sneads Ferry, NC3,8992,141
Jefferson, NC4,1292,072
Wallace, NC4,3452,020
Taylorsville, NC5,3882,009
Plymouth, NC4,2652,003
Boiling Spring Lakes, NC4,3971,975
Richlands South, NC5,2781,871
St. James, NC2,6041,853
Seven Lakes, NC3,7571,819
Red Springs, NC4,1851,810
Buies Creek, NC5,6281,801
Fairfield Harbour, NC2,7261,703
Fearrington Village, NC2,6421,601
Grifton, NC3,6881,588
Elizabethtown, NC3,0851,581
Whispering Pines, NC3,5141,567
Maiden, NC3,5721,561
Pittsboro, NC3,4101,551
Benson, NC3,1071,520
Louisburg, NC3,6941,489
Yadkinville, NC3,5301,478
Warsaw, NC3,0451,428
Spruce Pine, NC4,7001,407
Boiling Springs, NC4,5491,401
La Grange, NC2,7131,381
St. Pauls, NC3,2881,361
Troy, NC3,6181,320
Burgaw, NC3,4561,258
Ramseur, NC2,9511,221
Locust, NC2,9251,218
Lillington, NC3,3161,197
Enfield, NC2,6721,189
Fairmont, NC2,5071,179
Windsor, NC3,5661,169
Tabor City, NC--SC3,8281,166
Biscoe, NC2,8211,071
Murfreesboro, NC2,7861,059
Landrum, SC--NC1,5851,027
Source: U.S. Census Bureau