Does the 'Metropolitan' Designation Really Pay Off?

Chuck Eckenstahler examines the “Benton Harbor Rule”—the desired funding and support that comes from a designation by the federal government as “metropolitan.” But does the “metropolitan” designation pay off as intended?
March 12, 2014, 8am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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“In the 1970’s being ‘metropolitan’ meant more than increased state and federal money, according to the supporters. ‘Metropolitan’ meant growth – increasing population and prosperity,” writes Chuck Eckenstahler.

After a successful lobbying effort by local political leaders, Benton Harbor-St. Joseph was one of nine new Metropolitan Areas created for the 1980 Census. Eckenstahler examines the population growth of Benton Harbor-St. Joseph since then to examine if the designation paid off.

“This data reveals population of the Benton Harbor/St. Joseph MAS did not grow to the same extent as other comparative MSA’s created in 1980 – being a population loss of 8.4% compared to a 35.2% growth in population over the past three decades.”

Eckenstahler then explores dynamics like “geographic isolationism” and “paralysis of political geography” as causes of the decline.

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Published on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 in Urbanophile
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