More Micropolitans Than You Think

Our guess is you’ve probably traveled through one of the nation’s 551 micropolitan statistical areas recently.

In fact, on a recent drive between our Everett, WA headquarters and our Burlington, IA satellite office, we found that there are 18 micropolitans along the way:

I-90 to I-35 to US-34

Ellensburg, WA

Moses Lake, WA

Butte, MT

Bozeman, MT

Sheridan, WY

Gillette, WY

Spearfish, SD

Mitchell, SD

Fairmont, MN

Albert Lea, MN

Mason City, IA

Boone, IA

Marshalltown, IA

Pella, IA

Oskaloosa, IA

Ottumwa, IA

Fairfield, IA

Burlington, IA

The Impact of Micropolitans

Our firm focuses the majority of our economic development consulting services on Micropolitan Statistical Areas.  Why?

  1. There are 551 micropolitan areas which are comprised of 21% of the nation’s counties.
  2. Micropolitans are labor market areas with at least one urban core of no less than 10,000 population and no more than 50,000 population
  3. Total population in micropolitan statistical areas can range from around 11,000 to over 200,000
  4. Pearsall, TX (Frio County) is the nation’s newest micropolitan, having been announced in OMB Bulletin 18-03 in April 2018
  5. Micropolitans have a significant footprint across the US

The following map shows the footprint of Micropolitans across the US.

The Significance of Micropolitan Statistical Areas

Defined by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as labor market areas with at least one urban core between 10,000 and 50,000 population, “micropolitans” are far mightier than the “micro” implies.  In fact, micropolitan areas represent roughly 21% of the nation’s counties and around 9% of the population nationwide.

However, some micropolitans are faring much better that others in attracting new population, new business investment and new jobs.  And that’s where our firm comes in.  Our economic development practice specializes in economic development for micropolitans and our company’s founder has real experience as the former economic development director for the Greater Burlington Partnership (Burlington IA/IL Micropolitan) during a 4 year period where he helped attract over $250 million in new business development and 750 primary sector jobs.

“What we often see is that micropolitans which are struggling either need to refresh and refocus their economic development strategy or reorganize how economic development is approached within their geography,” says David Toyer, founder of Toyer Strategic.  “But many of these same areas have limited budgets and staffing resources.”

To solve this problem, Toyer Strategic doesn’t have a template strategic plan that it produces for all micropolitans.  Instead, the company uses an approach (a process for strategic planning) that lends itself to being customized to match the unique characteristics and resource limitations of a micropolitan.  Learn more about our approach

Additionally, Toyer Strategic Consulting has developed a Micgrowpolitan™ program where we will independently certify a micropolitan as Micgrowpolitan™ based on comprehensive analysis of key economic development program elements.  The certification is a way for economic development organizations in micropolitans to show their local officials, community stakeholders, partner organizations, investors and even prospects that they have what it takes to compete and win economic development projects.  What is the certification and how do I get it?

More Facts:
As of 2017, OMB tracks 536 Micropolitan Statistical Areas (μSAs) in the United States against only 383 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs).  But based on 2018 census population estimates, there could be as many as 550 micropolitans in the U.S. (Policom) and still only 383 metropolitans.