The term "micropolitan" gained currency in the 1990s to describe growing population centers in the United States that are removed from larger cities, in some cases by 100 miles (160 km) or more. Lower land and labor costs have led some micropolitan areas to develop many housing subdivisions and suburban cultures similar to those found in larger metropolitan areas.
Micropolitan cities do not have the economic or political importance of large cities, but are nevertheless significant centers of population and production, drawing workers and shoppers from a wide local area. Because the designation is based on the core urban cluster's population and not on that of the whole area, some micropolitan areas are actually larger than some metropolitan areas.[examples needed] The largest of the areas, centered on Torrington, Connecticut, had a population in excess of 180,000 in 2000; Torrington's population in that year's census was only 35,202.