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Area Definitions

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The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program collects crime data and supplemental information that make it possible to generate a variety of statistical compilations, including data presented by reporting areas. These statistics provide data users with the opportunity to analyze local crime data in conjunction with data for areas of similar geographic location or population size. The reporting areas that the UCR Program uses in its data breakdowns include community types, population groups, and regions and geographic divisions. For community types, the UCR Program considers proximity to metropolitan areas using the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB’s) designations. (Generally, sheriffs, county police, and state police report crimes within counties but outside cities; local police report crimes within city limits.) The number of inhabitants living in a locale (based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s figures) determines the population group into which the program places it. Finally, in its geographic breakdowns, the UCR Program divides the United States into regions and divisions.

Community types

In order to assist data users who wish to analyze and present uniform statistical data about metropolitan areas, the UCR Program uses reporting units that represent major population centers. The program compiles data for these areas according to three types of communities:

1. Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs)—Each MSA contains a principal city or urbanized area with a population of at least 50,000 inhabitants. MSAs include the principal city; the county in which the city is located; and other adjacent counties that have, as defined by the OMB, a high degree of economic and social integration with the principal city and county as measured through commuting. In the UCR Program, counties within an MSA are considered metropolitan. In addition, MSAs may cross state boundaries.

Some presentations in this publication refer to Metropolitan Divisions, which are subdivisions of an MSA that consists of a core with “a population of at least 2.5 million persons. A Metropolitan Division consists of one or more main/secondary counties that represent an employment center or centers, plus adjacent counties associated with the main county or counties through commuting ties,” (Federal Register 65 [249]). Also, some tables reference suburban areas, which are subdivisions of MSAs that exclude the principal cities but include all the remaining cities (those having fewer than 50,000 inhabitants) and the unincorporated areas of the MSAs.

Note: Because the elements that comprise MSAs (particularly the geographic compositions) are subject to change, the program discourages data users from making year-to-year comparisons of MSA data.

2. Cities Outside MSAs—Ordinarily, cities outside MSAs are incorporated areas.

3. Nonmetropolitan Counties Outside MSAs—Most nonmetropolitan counties are
composed of unincorporated areas.

Community types are further illustrated in the following table:

Metropolitan 

Nonmetropolitan 

Principal Cities                       (50,000+ inhabitants) 

Cities outside Metropolitan Areas 

Suburban Cities 

Metropolitan Counties 

Nonmetropolitan Counties

Population groups

The UCR Program uses the following population group designations:

Population Group 

Political Label 

Population Range 

City 

250,000 and more 

II 

City 

100,000 to 249,999 

III 

City 

50,000 to 99,999 

IV 

City 

25,000 to 49,999 

City 

10,000 to 24,999 

VI1,2 

City 

Less than 10,000 

VIII (Nonmetropolitan County)2 

County 

N/A 

IX (Metropolitan County)2 

County 

N/A 

1Includes universities and colleges to which no population is attributed.
2Includes state police to which no population is attributed.

Individual law enforcement agencies are the source of UCR data. The number of agencies included in each population group may vary from year to year because of population growth, geopolitical consolidation, municipal incorporation, etc. In noncensus years, the UCR Program estimates population figures for individual jurisdictions. (A more comprehensive explanation of population estimations can be found in the Methodology.)

The table below shows the number of agencies within each population group that were eligible to participate in the UCR Program for 2018: 

Population Group 

Number of Agencies 

Population Covered 

86 

63,376,799 

II 

227 

33,687,261 

III 

505 

35,214,004 

IV 

912 

31,688,691 

1,925 

30,656,148 

VI1,2 

9,841 

26,428,671 

VIII (Nonmetropolitan County)2 

2,860 

27,208,256 

IX (Metropolitan County)2 

2,225 

78,907,604 

Total 

18,586 

327,167,434 

1Includes universities and colleges to which no population is attributed.
2Includes state police to which no population is attributed.

Regions and divisions

The map below illustrates the four regions of the United States along with their nine geographic divisions as established by the U.S. Census Bureau. The UCR Program uses this widely recognized geographic organization when compiling the nation’s crime data.

Regions Map 

The following table lists the 50 states and the District of Columbia arranged according to the regions and geographic divisions of the United States.

NORTHEASTERN STATES

New England 

Middle Atlantic 

Connecticut 

New Jersey 

Maine 

New York 

Massachusetts 

Pennsylvania 

New Hampshire 

 

Rhode Island 

 

Vermont 

 

 

MIDWESTERN STATES

East North Central 

West North Central 

Illinois 

Iowa 

Indiana 

Kansas 

Michigan 

Minnesota 

Ohio 

Missouri 

Wisconsin 

Nebraska 

 

North Dakota 

 

South Dakota 

 

SOUTHERN STATES

South Atlantic 

East South Central 

Delaware 

Alabama 

District of Columbia 

Kentucky 

Florida 

Mississippi 

Georgia 

Tennessee 

Maryland 

West South Central 

North Carolina 

Arkansas 

South Carolina 

Louisiana 

Virginia 

Oklahoma 

West Virginia 

Texas 

 

WESTERN STATES

Mountain 

Pacific 

Arizona 

Alaska 

Colorado 

California 

Idaho 

Hawaii 

Montana 

Oregon 

Nevada 

Washington 

New Mexico 

 

Utah 

 

Wyoming