So those of you who are REALLY into transportation may remember the discussions a few years back leading up to the 2010 Census on Core Based Statistical Areas. Well, we just got new information on this from the Census and there are some changes for our area. This is complicated so first, a little background:
Core-Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs) are an umbrella term for Metro and Micropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA), Combined Statistical Areas (CSA), and a few other terms that don’t particularly apply to our area.

These areas (CBSAs, MSAs, CSAs) exist only for the purpose of statistical boundaries. I say this because their impact on policy importance is sometimes exaggerated.

MSAs are built by county, and the level of interaction with neighboring counties can create MSAs made up of numerous counties. In 2000, Spokane County made up the Spokane MSA and Kootenai County made up the Coeur d’Alene MSA.

Going to the next level, Combined Statistical Areas are made up of separate MSAs, that have a high enough level of interaction to create an additional area (CSA). Now here’s the hook: while there was considerable conversation about Spokane and Coeur d’Alene’s MSA becoming a Combined Statistical Area in 2000, this did not occur.
We have also just found out however, that based on 2010 info, Kootenai County will continue to make up the Coeur d’Alene MSA. Spokane’s MSA has grown though, to include Stevens and Pend Oreille counties, to make up the Spokane MSA. All four of these counties make up the “Spokane-Spokane Valley-Coeur d’Alene, WA-ID” Combined Statistical Area.

So what does this mean for us? Technically, nothing. Ultimately, as I said above, these are simply boundaries used for gathering statistical data. It is possible being a CSA will bring this area to the attention of businesses because we technically show up as a larger market now than in the past, but this is really the only impact expected as a result.

Questions? Did you follow along? Clear as mud? There are some maps that can probably help to clarify, posted on our blog site.

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