Battle Creek and four other cities in Michigan may see their statistical reference downgraded by the federal government.

While the potential of losing status as a "Metropolitan Statistical Area" is not supposed to mean reduced federal funding, some critics of the government proposal say there’s a good chance it could lead to that. Census data is a key factor in how much money the feds return to local governmental units. The city of Battle Creek for instance mounted a big public information campaign over the last year encouraging residents to participate in the census to help ensure anticipated federal money coming back to the city.

Why The Change

The Associated Press reports the proposed change in how the government looks at urban areas could mean trouble for Battle Creek. The idea means a metro area would need to show a population of at least 100,000 to qualify for that designation. The Battle Creek metro area is around 78,000 thousand right now. The other Michigan cities on the edge are Jackson, Bay City, Midland, and Monroe.

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What Is A Micropolitan

A bunch of federal administrative employees are recommending the Office of Management and Budget change the term for urban areas under 100,00 to micropolitan”. They also recommend the new designation should not impact federal funding. But the AP reports that is generally how the designations are used. A number of federally supported programs nationwide are tied to the metropolitan statistical area designation.

If this change is initiated as proposed, about one-third of the current “MSA’s” like Battle Creek, would be downgraded. That might then increase competition in the smaller and more rural areas for federal dollars.

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