Template talk:Largest metropolitan areas of the United States

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The best way to do this is use CSA IF there is one. If no CSA then use the MSA. By doing this you would include large areas like Miami which have no CSA but still should be noted.

So start with the CSA list and an MSA list. Where an MSA has no CSA throw it into the correct ranking on the CSA list and it would be a better representation. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:57, 10 May 2012 (UTC)[reply]

That's a terrible suggestion. There's no need to "compromise." This is a table of the largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. and we use the widely recognized Metropolitan Statistical Areas and their figures. Simple, straightforward, right. DocKino (talk) 04:39, 10 May 2012 (UTC)[reply]

CSA vs MSA[edit]

I recommend showing a list of the largest Combined Statistical Areas (CSAs) instead of MSAs for USA page. This will show are more accurate view of where the economic, political and cultural power of the USA lies and be more in line with the data representing other countries. For example the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland region is totally absent from this table, and it is third largest concentration of corporate headquarters and a major source of political and social trends partly due to its population. Also CSAs more accurately show the reality of an urban area or modern city as defined by international NGOs and governments. For example when one drives from Menlo Park, California(in the SF-Oakland MSA) to Palo Alto, California (in the SJ MSA) you are not entering a new "Metropolitan Area" as defined by most geographers and economists, but you very much remain in one interconnected metropolitan area with the same media, industries and urban centers. Additionally the linkages to San Jose is arguably stronger for Fremont, CA than to San Francisco. The same rationale can be applied to many other areas such as Washington and Los Angeles.

Ideally the Bay Area should be one, but if CSAs were included, Baltimore and Washington would be combined as well. And those are certainly distinct areas.
You raise a very good point. Maybe we should do it by media markets. The Bay Area would be one and Baltimore and Washington would be two. When I created this template, I was trying to find the best way to show the structure of US cities, and it seemed that municipal boundaries didn't cut it. Rumkles (talk) 05:32, 4 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
If you use media markets, you cannot use the ones Nielson has, because they are copyrighted, and there was an office action takedown on Wikipedia to use such information.--Jorfer (talk) 20:59, 19 October 2010 (UTC)[reply]

That Boston should be 9 city[edit]

It's Just Huge! —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jaycereid (talkcontribs) 22:28, 13 October 2010 (UTC)[reply]

That is not a good reason. This template uses MSA's, so those designations determined the rankings on this template.--Jorfer (talk) 20:59, 19 October 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Template Deleted[edit]

I don't know why this template was deleted, but it was a valuable addition to the United States page. The table of US cities is not as informative. Those municipal population figures are subject to all sorts of political wrangling and historical snafus. Plus, there are many major US cities missing: San Jose is listed but San Francisco is not? San Antonio is listed and Boston isn't? A table of Largest Metropolitan Areas better reflects US settlement patterns. [[.Rumkles (talk) 04:13, 18 April 2011 (UTC) In addition, the United States page was still linked to the Largest Metro Area template, so when I restored this template, it automatically restored it on that page. This template needs to be updated to reflect 2010 Census figures, not deleted.Rumkles (talk) 04:32, 18 April 2011 (UTC)[reply]


I agree with another editor above -- we should use CSAs because they more accurately reflect the population centers of the US. If you compare the lists, the main difference is the removal of Miami and the addition of San Francisco / San Jose -- which seems to make sense since the CSA of San Francisco Bay Area is substantially bigger than South Florida metropolitan area.


  1. New York
  2. Los Angeles
  3. Chicago
  4. Washington
  5. Boston
  6. San Francisco
  7. Dallas
  8. Philadelphia
  9. Houston
  10. Atlanta


  1. New York City
  2. Los Angeles
  3. Chicago
  4. Dallas
  5. Philadelphia
  6. Houston
  7. Washington
  8. Miami
  9. Atlanta
  10. Boston

CSAs by definition consist of multiple metropolitan areas. CSAs are also not meant to be compared to MSAs. Since the only definition that fully covers the United States is the MSA, that should be the one used for ranking. --Polaron | Talk 00:20, 8 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Changing to use CSA[edit]

there's been some talk but no action. i'm going to go ahead and shift this to use CSAs, and anyone who disagrees can continue on this talk page or edit it back. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Simulcra (talkcontribs) 14:50, 24 August 2011 (UTC)[reply]

new template is at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Largest_Combined_Statistical_Areas_of_the_United_States much thanks to the guy who created this one, as i just copy-pasted and edited the data. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Simulcra (talkcontribs) 15:06, 24 August 2011 (UTC)[reply]

I've reverted. While CSAs are certainly important for students of demographics, metropolitan areas and their populations are of considerably greater general interest and thus much more appropriate for a national overview article such as United States. DocKino (talk) 16:48, 24 August 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Actually, this subject comes up regularly in WP. But CSAs should never be substituted for MSAs to denote "metropolitan areas". As defined by the US Census Bureau and the OMB, the MSA is the metropolitan area; the CSA is a larger trading area that can sometimes include up to four metro areas. A CSA is often very far removed from its core city, too, and can include other core cities and their metropolitan areas. True, a CSA will make your city look much bigger than it really is (and local chambers of commerce love them for that), but CSAs should not be the "metropolitan area" yardstick in Wikipedia.Mason.Jones (talk) 23:48, 25 August 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Unless either of you have some kind of credential that I can defer to, I strongly disagree with the interpretation and use in the US article. The context article is not talking about 'metropolitan areas' but 'population centers' (the fact that this discussion is taking place on the talk page for the largest metro area template is misleading). In that case, using MSAs are a bit misleading. What I (and I imagine some of the other past proponents on this discussion page) are shooting for is matching up expectations with statistical data (so long as we're talking about general interest). Good example is the bay area. MSA wise, San Jose/SF are split. CSA wise, they're grouped. I would hazard to say that when people think 'bay area', they don't think strictly SF, as silicon valley is included in that discussion, which is San Jose.
WRT to 'a CSA is often very far removed from its core city', i think, that's at best, a value judgment. Some MSAs are pretty outlandish compared to popular conception anyway.
And just in case anyone thinks I'm being chamber-of-commerce-style here, I hail from Chicago, which is unaffected by which table is used.
I'm still open to discussion, but I'm reverting the revert. Don't misconstrue this as me being combative - i just have a general disdain for wp talk pages that don't result in anything, so i'd rather do something now rather than at some indeterminate time later.
(Simulcra (talk) 17:22, 21 September 2011 (UTC))[reply]
Bah, I'm reverting my last edit. A more demographic-savvy friend of mine just pointed out to me that CSAs don't have the coverage of the US that MSAs do, i.e. even large MSAs don't necessarily map to a CSA. Apologies nonetheless.
(Simulcra (talk) 17:29, 21 September 2011 (UTC))[reply]

new pics[edit]

Why not add pictures of the next few largest cities just like virtually every other country's page on Wikipedia? Dillan.Murray (talk) 19:57, 29 September 2011 (UTC)[reply]

NYC, L.A. Images[edit]

I agree that there is logistically only room for these two cities' images. The issue where I disagree with editor DocKino (talk) is his insistence that the NYC and L.A. images have to be chosen to embody identical aspect sizes - sounds fair, right? Actually this logic ends up shortchanging the visual aesthetics of NYC's image because the Manhattan skyline is inherently far bigger and more sprawling, naturally taking up a greater width than a comparable picture of downtown L.A. On the other hand, the image posted of L.A. needs less width but has been given ample height to accommodate a towering mountain in the background (which New York doesn't have, and therefore whose image can actually be a bit less vertical). In summary, the status quo compels a NY image to fit the aspect size that actually ideally suits L.A., and I'm happy to see an excellent result for L.A. but also not thrilled with the Manhattan image.

Compare two possible NYC images:
The corresponding L.A. image:

I believe the first NYC image gives a more accurate perspective of the NYC skyline and therefore enables amore visually appealing image than the second (status quo) image. Which NYC image do people think is more appropriate in context of the visual perspective of both cities' skylines?

Also, I should note my opinion that the NYC image should be titled as (and linked to) "New York City", rather than "New York", which actually links to the New York State article. Castncoot (talk) 05:37, 14 January 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Basic rules of good design call for images with the same aspect ratio here. It's not even about "fairness". It's about visual balance, it's about parallel structure, it's about avoiding unnecessary dead space.
As for the image's caption, "New York" is good--in proper style, it agrees with "New York" in the text under "Core city"--and we've got it linking to the New York City article already, so there's truly no problem at all. DocKino (talk) 09:40, 14 January 2012 (UTC)[reply]
OK, glad we have a constructive discussion here - so maybe we can at least look for a more visually aesthetic picture of NYC with the same aspect ratio. The current one (as well as the previous one, before the recent flurry of changes) both appear as if they were put in just because they "fit the suit". I think we can do better than this. Can you help out with this effort? As far as the caption, what I meant is that both the text and the caption really ought to be changed to ""New York City", rather than using an indirect link. Technically, the "core city" of the New York Metropolitan Area is "New York City".

Castncoot (talk) 03:39, 15 January 2012 (UTC)[reply]

I think the image you just added already constitutes an improvement. I really like the visual contrast the night image creates, though if we could find one where the detail is a little clearer at the small size we're working with, that would be great. I'll be on the lookout for one.
As for your second point, technically it's the "City of New York", just like technically it's the "City of Los Angeles" and the "City of Philadelphia". "New York" is thus no less proper than "New York City". That said, I have no particular problem with "New York City" and it does match the nearby text in the United States article. If you want to make that change, as far as I'm concerned, feel free to go ahead. DocKino (talk) 05:03, 16 January 2012 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you. Castncoot (talk) 00:25, 17 January 2012 (UTC)[reply]

New York image[edit]

If you really need a nighttime image of New York (as if it really matters) at least let it be the skyline at night. There are a number of them in Commons. Times Square is just one little intersection so it doesn't properly represent the city. Cadiomals (talk) 01:23, 18 January 2012 (UTC)[reply]

I was thinking that a skyline image might work better. What's your thought Castncoot? DocKino (talk) 03:28, 18 January 2012 (UTC)[reply]
I certainly wouldn't mind a skyline image. The problem here is the space constraint, DocKino and Cadiomals. Unfortunately, the only "aesthetically pleasing" (which I fully realize lies in the eye of the beholder) type of image which would fit this constraint and still represent an adequate portion of the skyline, in my opinion, would be one looking Downtown from Midtown. Unfortunately, the problem here is the lack of a current World Trade Center pic, but this problem should readily be solved once new pictures emerge with the new One WTC skyscraper, which should be topping out soon. In the meantime, I would think that Times Square actually represents the City just as well as the skyline, being a worldwide icon - everybody instantly associates either with NYC. One could argue that even the skyline represents only Manhattan and not, say, Staten Island. Would there be a problem in leaving the Times Square image up for the time being until a "better" (prettier, please) skyline image can be found?

Castncoot (talk) 03:57, 18 January 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Sure, I guess. I'm not the kind of person who likes to blow up little things. Cadiomals (talk) 05:06, 19 January 2012 (UTC)[reply]

I changed Washington D.C. to "East" rather than "South", does anyone else agree? — Preceding unsigned comment added by PaCmAnRoCkShOk (talkcontribs) 06:37, 25 January 2012 (UTC)[reply]

No. It's not a matter of our opinion, really. We follow the official designations of our source, the U.S. Census Bureau. DocKino (talk) 06:47, 25 January 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Phoenix, AZ[edit]

According to other Wikipedia pages, Phoenix, AZ is the 6th largest city in the United States according to US Census Bureau. Shouldn't that be considered? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:46, 29 April 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Which other Wikipedia articles? The Phoenix metropolitan area says it's 14th. —Mrwojo (talk) 15:39, 31 May 2012 (UTC)[reply]

"Leading Population Centers"[edit]

I agree with most of the people on this talk page (even though it's actually a template talk page). There is a confusion or misconception by some people that a CSA is not a metropolitan area. That however is wrong. A metro area is one continuous uninterrupted geographic area of population. The fact that a CSA can contain multiple "Metropolitan Areas" (as defined by the OMB or Census Bureau), does not mean that a CSA is not (just) a (larger) metro area. It is in fact a more accurate definition (or description) of a metropolitan area, as it includes the entire contiguous geographic population center. If you do the research, you will find that I am correct. Even if you simply used common sense, you would realize that I am correct.

This table/subcategory is entitled "Leading Population Centers" and as such, it should include all of the "actual" leading populations centers (only). That is in fact the subcategory that should be used (either leading, or largest population centers of the U.S.). The leading population centers can only be defined by Combined Statistical Areas, because they are the leading population centers. MSAs clearly are not. Look at the facts. They are indisputable.

According to their own (conflicting) descriptions and data, both the OMB and the U.S. Census Bureau define "Combined Statistical Areas" as "Metropolitan Areas". There can be no arguement that they are in fact "Metropolitan Areas". The San Francisco Bay Area is not even on this list, but should be. It is definitely one of the leading population centers in the U.S. It's 2011 population was 7.56 million. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, it is the 6th largest metropolitan area in the United States (Table of United States Combined Statistical Areas). Therefore it is one of the top ten "Leading population centers" in the U.S. Even if there were no OMB or Census Bureau, or they didn't come up with definitions/descriptions of geographic population centers, the Bay Area would still be the 6th largest population center (metro area) in the U.S. Washington would still be the 4th largest, and Boston the 5th.

Wikipedia is about making unbiased factual information available to the world. If the largest city definition is not used in this table (as it existed before), than the largest (or leading) population centers should be used. The information that is disseminated in this or any Wikipedia article should be factually correct so people reading the article are not misinformed. There should not even be a debate about this. This list (as it currently is) is factually incorrect, so I'm going to change it to reflect the actual "Leading population centers" (as defined by CSAs). I will wait about two weeks before I do, to discuss and gather consensus. Please comment, and leave your opinion. Thanks.

Jcheckler (talk) 15:36, 2 May 2012 (UTC)[reply]

It's perfectly apparent that some people are upset that San Francisco isn't listed among the top ten population centers of the United States. But again: a CSA is a combined trading area with certain economic links; it is not a metropolitan area. The San Francisco CSA (as opposed to San Francisco MSA) is no longer "population Center San Francisco", for it includes San Jose and its suburbs, a huge and totally different population center. San Jose (city pop. over 900,000) is not "population center San Francisco". Similarly, Washington, DC's CSA includes Baltimore, a totally separate population center and metro area. The Census Bureau and OMB call metropolitan areas "Metropolitan Statistical Areas" for a reason: they are metro areas. CSAs are combined urban areas (the "C" actually stands for the word "combined"). Using the CSA for the MSA in Wikipedia is simple POV and boosterism. An encyclopedia must avoid both whenever possible.Mason.Jones (talk) 15:40, 24 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Request For Comment[edit]

New York MSA[edit]

The proper name should be "New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island". Also, only New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania should be listed as the states it encompasses - no part of Connecticut is part of the MSA (they are part of the New York CSA, though). I'd edit this myself, but I'm have issues navigating the edit button (keeps leading me to a single redirect line). Could someone please correct this? (talk) 19:45, 4 March 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Add 2 lines[edit]

I feel like 18 is an awkward number to have, and propose extending it to twenty, which would include Denver and St Louis on the list. AvRand (talk) 18:32, 24 September 2016 (UTC)[reply]

Are Texas cities in the West or the South?[edit]

The Census Bureau defines Texas as in the South, also, is Miami in the South? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Eric0928 (talkcontribs) 00:55, 2 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

Update needed[edit]

The population figures are from 2015 and aren't in accord with those at List of Metropolitan Statistical Areas, which are from 2016. Could someone update the figures here, someone who understands how to get those figures from the Census Bureau website better than I do? Dhtwiki (talk) 21:59, 12 October 2017 (UTC)[reply]

I've gone ahead and updated the figures. Someone should check the updated reference to see that it works properly. Dhtwiki (talk) 04:35, 13 October 2017 (UTC)[reply]

I have restored the first five cities to their 2016 MSA populations (not their CSA populations). It's not just that the table head specifically discusses "metro areas"—it also gives the official U.S. Census Metropolitan Statistical Area name for each city, plus a "complete list" link to the WP article on Metropolitan Statistical Areas. Look, I don't care if editors decide by consensus that CSA populations are better than MSAs. However, if CSAs are the yardstick, we must give the CSA statistic for every city in this Top 20 list. We must remove cities like Riverside–San Bernardino, which are included in the CSA population for Los Angeles. We must change the third column to official CSA names and link "complete list" to the WP article on Combined Statistical Areas. To include both metrics (that is, the CSA for the five largest U.S. population centers but MSA for the other fifteen) is to enter into serious POV territory, and disinformation. It's either one yardstick or the other. The list has to be coherent or at least consistent. Mason.Jones (talk) 16:43, 7 December 2017 (UTC)[reply]

The tone and placement of your post makes me think that you need to tell me not to use the CSA material. I didn't. I updated to 2016 MSA statistics (which were slightly different from your numbers, but not by much), although I evidently didn't update the table title. Another editor came along and made some changes whose variance I hadn't noticed, for not looking closely enough. Dhtwiki (talk) 06:56, 8 December 2017 (UTC)[reply]
I saw in the discussion that some editors prefer CSA designations over MSAs for this table. Some editor—not you—changed the first five cities to the CSA populations (23 million for NYC, 18.5 million for Los Angeles, etc.) without full consensus, and the 5th-ranked city ended up with a smaller population than the 6th-ranked. If the consensus is to redefine these population centers, the decision should be clear and final. (And editors must do the "continuity" tasks of changing official names of population centers from MSAs to CSAs and shifting the in-table WP link "Complete List" to CSAs.) Till then, I went back to the MSA designations. Mason.Jones (talk) 15:09, 8 December 2017 (UTC)[reply]

Proposal to replace the Largest Cities in the US template[edit]

See discussion here Talk:United States#Proposal to replace the Largest Cities in the US template. — AfroThundr (u · t · c) 23:40, 29 June 2018 (UTC)[reply]