metropolitan area

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metropolitan area

a major city together with its suburbs and nearby cities, towns, and environs over which the major city exercises a commanding economic and social influence. Literally construed, metropolis from the Greek means "mother city," and by implication there are progeny or dependents scattered about the core area. Sometimes there may be two or more major cities, as in the Tokyo-Yokohama Metropolitan Area (Japan) or an agglomeration of metropolitan boroughs as in Greater London (England). The U.S. Census employs a unit called a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) which includes either (1) a city with a population of at least 50,000 or (2) an urbanized area of at least 50,000 population with a total metropolitan population of at least 100,000 (75,000 in New England). An urbanized area is defined as having a population of at least 50,000, and a population density of at least 1,000 per square mile.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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