New 2020 Census Data for Market Analysis and Planning

The US Census Bureau has just released a map with updated boundaries for the country’s 392 metropolitan statistical areas (MSA’s) and 547 micropolitan areas using the 2020 census.

These areas are the geographic marketing segments that companies and most other organizations use when tracking and analyzing consumer behavior.

America is the third most populous country in the world with over 333 million persons living in 20,000 towns and cities.  These statistical divisions separate this national market into city and regional clusters for local analysis.

This latest Census Bureau map is presented and analyzed in an article from Visual Capitalist, a firm that specializes in translating all forms of data into graphs, pictures and dynamic charts.

The article presents the ten largest MSA’s and links to the full list of 392 in descending population size.  It also shows the percent change in population in each MSA over the past decade.  An MSA is determined by having one population center of at least 50,000.

The article describes the smaller micropolitan regions as “the smallest areas measured on the map generally located further away from large cities, have at least one urban core area of at least 10,000 but fewer than 50,000 people.”  These micro segments may be more relevant for identifying credit union opportunities than the larger MSA’s.

Context for Strategy

This information can be vital for credit unions who want to understand the environment in which they are currently operating or might target for future expansion.   Some information such as the annual HMDA filings for all mortgage applications already provide data by MSA.

As both credit unions and banks report their branch locations (and local deposits) at least once per year, that information could also be assigned to these census bureau categories.  One could then determine which micro markets are less well served by existing institutions.

The challenge will be to find a firm which will incorporate these most recent population trends with branch and deposit data, HMDA reports and other federal statistics into their databases of credit union information.  Then convert this data into visual maps for use, ideally with a point and click capability information pop out per area.  Unfortunately, the Census Bureau map does not provide this mapping dynamic.  A pdf of the map can be seen here.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *