This Is The Smallest Big City In America

The U.S. Census has several official terms to designate cities, towns, and smaller places in America.  These terms are metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), consolidated metropolitan statistical areas (CMSAs), and primary metropolitan statistical areas (PMSAs), and “core-based statistical areas” (CBSA). Those with the largest populations are MSAs, and there are 385 of them in the US and another eight in Puerto Rico.

The largest of the MSAs is designated the New York City-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA MSA with a 2019 population of 19,216,182. An MSA can cover several states as New York City does. It is followed by the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA MSA with a population of 13,214,799. That is followed by the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI MSA with a population of 9,458,539.

The smallest MSA in the United States is the Carson City, NV MSA which has a population of 55,916. It is one of only 31 MSAs with populations below 100,000.

Named after legendary mountain man Kit Carson, Carson City has been the capital of Nevada since 1864, when Nevada became a capital. It is on the east side of Lake Tahoe, near the California border and south of Reno.

Carson City is one of 144 cities that could lose its MSA status based on the 2020 Census. Its population has barely changed since the 2010 Census.

Just over 66% of Carson City’s population is White. Another 25% is Hispanic/Latino. The median value of a home is $273,800, about the same as for the entire country. Carson City has 22,755 households, and 2.31 residents per household.

Eighty-seven percent of the people over 25 in Carson City have graduated high school. A total of 22.2% of those over 25 have a bachelor’s degree or higher. The median household income of Carson City is $55,718, about $10,000 below that national average. The poverty rate of 12.2% is slightly higher.

Of course, if the Census cuts a large number of MSAs from the current list, Carson City won’t even be a city anymore.

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