Friday is the final day to submit public comments on a proposal that would eliminate Mankato’s status as a Metropolitan Statistical Area.

If passed, the proposal from the Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Area Standards Review Committee would change the threshold of the urban area population from 50,000 to 100,000. The change would result in eliminating 144 Metropolitan Statistical Areas across the country, including Mankato/North Mankato.

The Mankato region’s status as a Metropolitan Statistical Area is important for several reasons, says Greater Mankato Growth.

Without MSA designation:

Eligibility for federal funding for infrastructure, transportation, and other critical services could be eliminated without MSA distinction.

The Mankato/North Mankato MSA would be eliminated from business databases that bring new investment into the region, including communities within Blue Earth and Nicollet counties.

Larger southern Minnesota communities like Mankato/North Mankato would be forced to compete for state funding against smaller communities.

Why the proposed change? The MSASR Committee says because the population has doubled since the implementation of the designation, the threshold should also double.

Here’s what the committee said in its report of recommendations to the Office of Management and Budget:

“… the population of the United States had more than doubled since the 1950 census (the population in 2019 is about 2.2 times larger than in 1950), while the standards have maintained the same minimum
population. Thus, the committee recommends doubling the minimum required population of an urban area to qualify a metropolitan statistical area from 50,000 to 100,000. Areas with a core of 50,000 to 99,999 population would become micropolitan statistical areas.”

OMB is seeking public comment on the proposed change.

Greater Mankato Growth has provided a list of talking points for those who are opposed to changing the MSA population threshold.


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