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METRO indicates whether the household was located within a metropolitan area. For households within metropolitan areas, METRO also indicates whether the housing unit was within a metropolitan area's central/principal city (or cities), or within the remainder of the metropolitan area.
Codes and Frequencies
While METRO yields essentially the same information for all years, the comparability of the variable is limited by two factors:
- Definitions of what is "metropolitan" have changed slightly from census to census; see METAREA for detailed discussion of this issue.
- Since 1940, confidentiality requirements have limited the METRO detail for some households. Although the confidentiality requirements were lifted from the 1940 data in 2012, they were still in effect at the time we constructed METRO for 1940. The following year-by-year discussion summarizes the confidentiality and sampling issues, and refers to the IPUMS variable names.
- 1850-1930: There are no confidentiality requirements. The metro/non-metro and central city distinctions are made for all households.
- 1940 and 1950: The metro/non-metro distinction is indicated for all households, even for those in metropolitan areas too small to be identified by name in METAREA. A household's central city status was reported only if the central city (or cities) and the remainder of the metropolitan area each exceeded 100,000 residents in 1980. For interstate metropolitan areas, these criteria were applied separately to each portion of the metropolitan area within a particular state. Households in metropolitan areas not meeting these criteria are classified as "In metro area, central city status unknown." The IPUMS retroactively identified a number of metropolitan areas that did not meet the necessary criteria for metropolitan status in 1940, but that had been labeled metropolitan areas in the original 1940 PUMS. In the IPUMS, such areas are coded non-metropolitan in METRO (see the METAREA variable description for further discussion).
- 1960 and 1970: The samples are designed so that no geographic space containing fewer than 250,000 residents can be identified directly or indirectly. As applied to METRO, this meant that metro and central city status could not be revealed for households in the entire 1970 Metro samples and for the following states or state portions in the 1960 sample and the 1970 State samples; households in these areas are all coded 0 ("Not identifiable") in METRO. METRO is available for the 1970 Puerto Rican state sample.
- 1960: Metropolitan and central city status is not available for the entire states of Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Utah; plus the rural parts of Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, West Virginia, Wisconsin; plus the urban part of Maryland.
- 1970: metropolitan and central city status is available for households in the State samples except for those located in the entire states of Arizona, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Utah; plus the rural parts of Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, West Virginia; plus the urban parts of Connecticut and Maryland. Metropolitan and central city status is not available for households in the 1970 Metro samples.
- 1980: Metropolitan and central city status is specified for all households in the Metro sample. This status is not identifiable for some households in the State sample because that sample's geographical scheme does not always follow Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area lines.
- 1990: The metro/nonmetro distinction and central city status is specified for almost all households in the Metro sample. METRO is a recode of PUMATYPE, and some households in the Metro sample are identified as located in mixed metro/nonmetro areas. (These cases are coded as "Not identifiable" in METRO.) Metro/nonmetro distinctions are not made for households in the State sample.
- 2000: The 1 percent sample is designed so that no geographic unit containing fewer than 400,000 people can be identified (see PUMASUPR). For this sample, METRO is derived from the variable PUMATY00. Because of the large population threshold, central city status is unknown for most cases in metropolitan areas.
- 2005-2011 ACS: The low-level geography in the 2005-2011 ACS was the PUMA, which had the exact same boundaries as the the PUMAs in the 2000 Census data. The Census Bureau has not released information associating these PUMA boundaries with 2005-2011 metropolitan area definitions. For the version of METRO in the 2005-2011 ACS samples, metropolitan classifications are based on metropolitan boundaries from 2000. In 2005-2011, the METRO variable is thus not consistent with 2005-2011 metropolitan area definitions. However, it is consistent with 2000 metropolitan area definitions. METRO is not available for the 2005-onward PRCS.
- 2012-onward ACS: like the previous ACS samples, the low-level geography in the 2012 ACS was the PUMA, however the 2012 ACS was the first sample to use 2010 Decennial Census based PUMAs. These PUMAs were mapped onto the 2013 OMB (Office of Management and Budget) metropolitan definitions to create METRO for 2012-onward ACS samples.
The term "Central City" was retired by the OMB in 2003 and replaced with the term "Principal City." The term was changed to alleviate confusion as "central city" can connote "inner city" which is not related to this concept. The definition of "Principal City" was also broadened to include both census designated places as well as incorporated places.
- 1850-1900: All households and group quarters.
- 1910-1920: All households and group quarters; not available for Puerto Rico.
- 1930-1960: All households and group quarters.
- 1970: All households and group quarters; not available for Puerto Rico.
- 1980-2000: All households and group quarters.
- ACS: All households and group quarters; not available for Puerto Rico.
- 2017: All samples
- 2016: All samples
- 2015: All samples
- 2014: All samples
- 2013: All samples
- 2012: All samples
- 2011: All samples
- 2010: ACS; ACS 3yr; ACS 5yr
- 2009: All samples
- 2008: All samples
- 2007: All samples
- 2006: All samples
- 2005: All samples
- 2004: --
- 2003: --
- 2002: --
- 2001: --
- 2000: 5%; 1% old; 1% unwt; 1%
- 1990: 1% metro
- 1980: 5% state; 1% metro
- 1970: 1% state fm1; 1% state fm2
- 1960: All samples
- 1950: All samples
- 1940: All samples
- 1930: All samples
- 1920: All samples
- 1910: All samples
- 1900: All samples
- 1880: All samples
- 1870: All samples
- 1860: All samples
- 1850: All samples
FlagsThis variable has no flags.
There is no editing procedure available for this variable.