How to Cluster Addresses By Nearest Major City

Do you have a list of addresses or coordinates and need to find out what major metropolitan area they're in? Geocodio can help you convert the data quickly.

Adding MSA/CSA data can help you figure out the nearest major city to an address or coordinate. The Census Bureau designates regional urban areas as Metropolitan Statistical Areas, Micropolitan Statistical Areas, and Combined Statistical Areas. Metropolitan Statistical Areas are major metros such as New York-Newark-Jersey City. Micropolitan Areas are smaller urban areas such as Sandusky, OH. Combined Statistical Areas are a group of Metropolitan and Micropolitan areas that are closely linked, such as Washington-Baltimore-Arlington.

1. Gather the addresses or coordinates you want to find the nearest major city for

First you will need to collect all of the addresses or coordinates you want to convert to regional areas. You can put them in a spreadsheet, or integrate this data into an application via our API. See how to format your spreadsheet here, or get an API key here.

2. Upload the spreadsheet to Geocodio to add metropolitan area

If your addresses or coordinates are in a spreadsheet, you can upload it to Geocodio. In Step 3 of the Upload process, you'll be given the option to add additional data:

For the US, you'll want to select Census Identifiers. When you click this box, we'll return several different Census geographies for the address or coordinate, including Census year, State FIPS, County FIPS, Place Name, Place FIPS, Tract code, Block code, Block group, Metro/Micro Statistical Area (MSA), Combined Statistical Area (CSA), and Metropolitan Division. You can see a sample output here.

For Canada, you'll want to select Canadian Census Identifiers. This will add Statistics Canada geographic identifiers such as divisions, economic regions, and tract IDs. See the full list here.

Alternatively, use our API to get the metropolitan area information

Using our API, you'll just need to add the &fields=census for the US and &fields=statcan for Canada parameter to your requests . See more in our documentation here.

3. Analyze the Data to See Which Major City is Closest to the Addresses/Coordinates

Once you've downloaded the file, you can analyze the data. For example, if you want to summarize the percentage of addresses that are closest to particular major cities, you could make a pivot table in Excel. Click Insert => Pivot Table => and then place the MSA/CSA headers into the Pivot Table Builder.

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What is a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)?

A Metropolitan Statistical Area is a large metropolitan area designated by the Office of Management and Budget. There are 384 MSAs in the United States. A Metropolitan Statistical Area is a group of counties that are united by an urban core of at least 50,000 people, such as the New York-Newark-Jersey City. Metropolitan Statistical Areas can be used to see what major city an address is close to. Geocodio can help you convert addresses and coordinates to Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs).

What is a Micropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)?

Like a Metropolitan Statistical Area, a Micropolitan Statistical Area is a group of counties united by an urban core. The difference is that Micropolitan Statistical Areas are clustered around smaller cities, with an urban core of 10,000-50,000 people. For example, Concord, NH and Sandusky, OH are each their own Micropolitan Statistical Area. Geocodio can help you convert addresses and coordinates to Micropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs).

What is a Combined Statistical Area (CSA)?

A Combined Statistical Area is a group of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas that are closely economically or culturally linked. There are 172 Combined Statistical Areas in the US. Examples of CSAs include Washington-Baltimore-Arlington and Minneapolis-St.Paul. Geocodio can turn addresses and coordinates into Combined Statistical Areas (CSAs).

What is a Census Metropolitan Area (CMA)?

A Census Metropolitan Area is defined by Statistics Canada. There are two related types, a Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) and a Census Agglomeration (CA). Geocodio's StatCan append will return both given an address or coordinate pair. An example of a Census Metropolitan Area is Toronto, and an example of a Census Agglomeration is Cape Breton.

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Use our API to programmatically convert addresses or coordinates to MSAs, CSAs, and other Census geographies.

Canadian Census IDs

How to add Canadian Census tracts and more to addresses.