Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in the U.S. are comprised of counties. Within MSAs, the Census Bureeau makes a distinction between "Central" and "Outlying" counties: https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/metro-micro/about.html

I have searched far and wide for a user friendly (data analysis friendly) list of counties that contains information for their central/outlying status within MSAs. Unfortunately, I cannot find anything resembling a spreadsheet or data table.

I did find a list in an OMB bulletin https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Bulletin-20-01.pdf?# , beginning on page 41, that contains the relevant information, but I am unable to extract this information in a systematic manner.

Does a spreadsheet/data table of this information exist anywhere?

  • 1
    Is the wikipedia page helpful en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_metropolitan_statistical_areas ? If not, what information does it lack?
    – Marcus D
    Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 10:56
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    The Wikipedia page neither contains information for the counties that comprise an MSA, nor (more importantly) for the status of a county within the MSA, namely whether it is a central or outlying county .
    – Alex
    Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 15:31
  • Ok. thats fine. I wasnt sure of the detail of your data request! Maybe you could update your question with the detail of fields you require? That will help other SE members.
    – Marcus D
    Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 18:09

1 Answer 1


A statistician at the Office of Management and Budget directed me to this website: https://www.census.gov/geographies/reference-files/time-series/demo/metro-micro/delineation-files.html and the files under the Core based statistical areas (CBSAs), metropolitan divisions, and combined statistical areas (CSAs) heading contain the relevant information. This is the only spot on the web where I have seen this!

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