Research Minute: Updates to Utah's Core Based Statistical Areas

January 26, 2024

The EDCUtah’s Research Minute highlights interesting economic development data and timely research insights. This month, we explain a change in the way the federal government defines and evaluates Utah regions based on the huge population growth in Utah over the past several years.

One of the competencies that sets EDCUtah apart from other economic development organizations is our focus on quality research and economic data. EDCUtah’s research team provides data to:

  • Help companies choose Utah for their next business location.
  • Inform decision-makers with best-in-class economic research.
  • Support Utah communities in identifying their competitive advantages.

Last fiscal year, EDCUtah completed 187 research requests for more than 50 projects. We also regularly update our research publications to keep a pulse on how Utah compares against regional and national competitors. For the purposes of our research, EDCUtah defines communities according to US Census Bureau defined Core Based Statistical Area (CBSA) boundaries. CBSA boundaries are used in all governmental data sources for reporting data for community regions. They provide a helpful framework for comparing locations across the nation.

The US Census Bureau recently made changes to Utah’s Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs) as part of their normal update rotation. The Census Bureau looks at both metropolitan statistical areas and micropolitan statistical areas and makes any necessary updates every five years. Utah’s areas have not been changed in more than a decade, but changes were made in 2023 based on population center guidelines that the US Census Bureau uses to determine the areas.

These changes impact how data is collected and reported by the federal government and how Utah is perceived by site selectors and companies considering Utah for expansion opportunities.

The Salt Lake City, UT MSA is now called the Salt Lake City-Murray, UT MSA. The boundaries of the MSA remain the same and include both Salt Lake County and Tooele County. The Provo-Orem, UT MSA is now called the Provo-Orem-Lehi, UT MSA. The boundary for this MSA remains the same as well, encompassing Utah County and Juab County. The Logan, UT-ID MSA, comprised of Cache County and Franklin County, ID has not changed, nor has the St. George, UT MSA, which includes just Washington County.

In northern Utah, the US Census Bureau changed the boundaries of one metropolitan statistical area and created a new micro area. The Ogden-Clearfield, UT MSA was renamed the Ogden, UT MSA and now includes Davis County, Weber County, and Morgan County. Box Elder County was removed from the former MSA and assigned to a new micropolitan area called the Brigham City, UT-ID micro area. This new micro area also includes Oneida County, ID.  

Rich County has also been added to the Evanston, WY micro area, which was renamed the Evanston, WY-UT micro area. Utah’s other four micropolitan statistical areas remain the same.

These changes reflect the significant growth that Utah has experienced over the past decade, both on the Wasatch Front and off, particularly for Brigham City and other population centers in Box Elder County. Utah’s population growth over the last decade is the highest in the nation at 18.4%. This is more than double the national average of 7.4%. While the old 2020 map is still available online, the US Census Bureau has not yet released new maps that reflect the recent changes. It will take time for these updates to be made on government and private websites and to be reflected in data and available resources. EDCUtah will make necessary adjustments to our data and marketing materials as this new information becomes available.

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Michael Stachitus

Director of Research