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Old Posted Jun 26, 2021, 9:18 PM
wwmiv wwmiv is online now
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Location: Austin -> San Antonio -> Columbia -> San Antonio -> Chicago -> Austin -> Denver
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Originally Posted by Sam Hill View Post
As for this debate over whether MSA or CSA numbers more accurately describe SLC, SLC is in a unique situation. I can’t think of another metro with a larger disparity between its CSA and MSA figures. The fact of the matter is, every American metropolis is different, and there are no perfectly defined borders that can be used to determine where exactly the edge of suburbia lies and which populations should or shouldn’t count as part of the metro.

For example, neither the MSA nor the CSA definitions work well for my current city (Denver). One excludes Boulder, which is obviously part of the metropolis; the other includes Boulder but also includes a bunch of far-off towns which are obviously not part of the metropolis. The true population of this metro is somewhere in between.

As is the case with SLC.

I’ve spent much time in that town, having been a truck driver with a dedicated route based out of SLC (Costco distribution center), which meant I spent every other night there and had countless back-hauls that led to seemingly innumerable points within the metropolis - and having visited at least once a year all throughout my life since childhood, because my family is from Sandy and most of my family still lives there. Even in my current job as a flatbed driver I’ve picked up countless loads from Interstate Brick in West Jordan, delivered countless loads to the IFA DC on West 1700 South, etc, etc, etc. I know the town well. I know many towns well.

I think all of you on either side of the “how big is SLC” debate are kidding yourselves. I think it’s obvious SLC isn’t nearly as large or prominent as its CSA peers such as St Louis or Pittsburgh. It doesn’t feel that way, on the ground, within those towns, at all; nor does it feel that way in terms of the cultural, historical and economic gravitational pull those towns exert within the American collective consciousness. It’s equally obvious SLC is far larger and more prominent than its MSA peers such as Louisville or Buffalo. Those cities don’t belong in the same conversation with SLC.

It’s somewhere in between. And unfortunately a number in between those vastly disparate CSA and MSA figures - a number that could be used to accurately rank SLC among its peers - doesn’t exist. More than any other metropolis I can think of, SLC doesn’t have a definitive size that will work within the realm of this forum and its home-town-boosting, city-vs-city culture. There just isn’t a good, useful number for poor SLC.

Edit: I propose we just use SLC’s CSA figure when we’re making comparisons, and call it good. I mean, close enough. Otherwise we’re just going to keep getting hung up on this.
After I read this, I’m left with the nagging question about where exactly you disagreed with my previous lengthy post on this in this thread? To me, your post reads as an addendum to mine with contextual on the ground details and seems to largely agree with what my basic point was:

The region isn’t a single region yet, but is working toward becoming that. It’s fine using the MSA number and it is fine using the CSA number, just make sure you throw in some caution and explanation about the numbers you’re comparing.


Don’t get me wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed your post and am glad to have read the perspective. It adds to my understanding, definitely. I just think the bolded part at first blush implies you disagreed with me as well (or didn’t see my comment, or thought I wasn’t taking the same middle approach... idk) but the context suggests you at least partially agreed with me and I’m hoping you can draw out your disagreements with me specifically (to the extent there are some) more explicitly so I can readjust my own thinking a bit more than I already have (in part due to you).

Further edit:

Yes, I know I’m overthinking it.
HTOWN: 2305k (+10%) + MSA suburbs: 4818k (+26%) + CSA exurbs: 190k (+6%)
BIGD: 1304k (+9%) + MSA div. suburbs: 3826k (+26%) + adj. CSA exurbs: 394k (+8%)
FTW: 919k (+24%) + MSA div. suburbs: 1589k (+14%) + adj. CSA exurbs: 90k (+12%)
SATX: 1435k (+8%) + MSA suburbs: 1124k (+38%) + CSA exurbs: 18k (+11%)
ATX: 962k (+22%) + MSA suburbs: 1322k (+43%)

Last edited by wwmiv; Jun 26, 2021 at 10:14 PM.
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