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Global Metropolitan Areas
Global Metropolitan Areas

How Lightcast divides and defines geographical location.

Updated over a week ago

Overview

Lightcast's Global data is designed to best enable international comparisons. As with the creation of the Lightcast Occupation Taxonomy to normalize different global occupation standards, Lightcast provides data in the global tool for standardized local Metropolitan areas within each Country.

Since official 'metropolitan areas' are defined on national or regional levels, we utilize Lightcast Administrative Areas to ensure that we're comparing similar metropolitan areas globally.

Details

Metropolitan definitions are based on government defined regions, in most cases coming direct from local authorities. For example, US Metros are based on the Office of Management and Budget's Metropolitan Statistical Areas. The table below demonstrates the breadth by country.

LAA by Country

Country

Count

Local Equivalent

Key population notes

United States

384

Metropolitan Statistical Areas (not micropolitan)

>100k

India

318

Custom

Metros over 1m

Mexico

92

>200k

Germany

68

>250k population

United Kingdom

63

Brazil

58

Custom

Canada

41

Census Metropolitan Areas

>100k

France

35

>250k population

Spain

23

>250k population

Italy

22

>250k population

Poland

19

>250k population

Australia

19

Custom - urban equivalents based on SA3

Netherlands

13

>250k population

Romania

9

>250k population

South Africa

8

Switzerland

7

>250k population

Belgium

6

>250k population

Austria

5

>250k population

Sweden

4

>250k population

Denmark

4

>250k population

Czechia

4

>250k population

Portugal

3

>250k population

Ireland

2

>250k population

Luxembourg

1

>250k population

FAQs

  • What are Lightcast Administrative Areas?

The geographical locations associated with our global dataset are defined by Lightcast Administrative Areas, or LAAs. These are geocodes, or statistical divisions of a country for ease of analysis. They align with local geocode standards in each country that Lightcast maintains data for, for example the NUTS area codes across the European Union, and the FIPS subdivisions of the United States.

  • Why isn't a particular metro area available within the global metros?

Metropolitan definitions are based on government defined regions, in most cases coming direct from local authorities. Lightcast has a threshold in each country to maintain a manageable number of metropolitan areas. Refer to the table above to determine the specific local definitions and the threshold in each country.

  • Do global metros cover entire nations?

No. Global metros do not exhaustively cover a country's area. Smaller regions areas are included in national estimates but not specifically addressed within the "metropolitan" areas of the global tool.

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