Urban Areas Larger in Arkansas - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Harrisburg
Tyler Hawks Reports

Urban Areas Larger in Arkansas

June 10, 2003
Posted at: 1:57 p.m. CDT

HARRISBURG, Ark. --  The federal government has added to what it considers the urban areas of Arkansas.

The White House Office of Management and Budget announced yesterday that seven counties will join the state's metropolitan statistical areas. Those designations help the federal government track urban growth.

Fifteen miles from the Jonesboro city limits is the small Poinsett County town, with stores and businesses right down the road. Harrisburg, the county seat, is known for agriculture and a relaxed settting and isn't the largest town in the growing county.

Poinsett County Judge Doyle Hillis is glad to know the new metro definition attached to his county means good things for Poinsett and it's neighbor to the north, Craighead County.

"We have a lot of people," Hillis said. "I'd say the everyday (residents) drive to Craighead County (for work)."

Local recruiters tell large corporations like Nestle' that there are over 100,000 possible candidates for a work force in Region 8's metro area. The urban classification for Poinsett County adds numbers to what federal officials see down the road to local progress, including highway funding for growing centers of the state.

Craighead County Judge Dale Haas agrees with his counerpart to the south when it comes to progress: The more the better.

"The more we can bring our communities closer, and I think this will, the better for Poinsett and, I believe, for Craighead County as well," Haas said.

All told, the newly added areas have a combined population of more than 76,000 residents.

Also, Garland County is listed as a new metro statistical area, one of 49 new such areas nationwide. The county has nearly 90-thousand residents.

Some county officials say the federal designation will help them attract jobs and get more federal money. Various federal agencies tie funding formulas to metropolitan areas.

The new Census changes are as follows:

  • Lincoln and Cleveland counties were added to the Pine Bluff metropolitan statistical area.
  • Grant and Perry counties joined the Little Rock-North Little Rock metropolitan statistical area, the largest within the state, adding about 30-thousand to the area's previous population of more than 580-thousand.
  • The new Hot Springs metropolitan statistical area includes only Garland County.
  • Jonesboro and Craighead County, previously one of the nation's smallest metropolitan statistical areas, added Poinsett County, population 25-thousand-580.
  • No new counties were added to Texarkana's metropolitan statistical area.
  • Fayetteville's metropolitan statistical area picked up Madison County in Arkansas and McDonald County in Missouri. That means it grew from 321,861 to 357,963 residents, an eleven percent increase.
  • Fort Smith's metropolitan statistical area added Franklin County in Arkansas and Leflore County in Oklahoma.
  • The Memphis metropolitan statistical area, which includes Crittenden County in Arkansas, expanded to include three counties in Mississippi.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

On the Internet: 2003 Census MSA Listings

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