144 cities in the United States, and two in Iowa, were at risk earlier this year of losing their "metropolitan" (metro) status.

Why Is It Important to Remain a "Metropolitan City"?

To the general public, it's little more than mere semantics. But the distinction comes with important intangbibles and financial considerations for city leaders and residents alike. In order to be classified as a "metropolitan city," it must currently have a population of 50,000. A change would have moved that to 100,000 and demoted Dubuque to "micropolitan" status. That change has been tabled and the city of Dubuque's Chamber of Commerce is, needless to say, pleased with the decision. Dubuque Chamber President Molly Grover said in a statement:

We are extremely pleased to see this issue resolved with a positive outcome for Dubuque. We could not have done this without Congresswoman Ashley Hinson, who led the national debate on this issue and put pressure on OMB for months. With this past us, the Dubuque business community can turn its focus back to growing our workforce, investing in growth, and continuing the COVID-19 recovery effort.”

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Why Was This Change Being Considered?

Although the Office of Management and Budget has repeatedly insisted the change would be simply for statistical purposes, Dubuque's concern was that numerous housing, transportation, and Medicare reimbursement programs are tied to communities being metropolitan statistical areas. Congresswoman Ashley Hinson lobbied against the change as well, saying it would have jeopardized Dubuque's economic opportunities and its status in attracting new businesses and federal resources.

 

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