Demographia City Sector Maps Available

Maps have been published illustrating the City Sector Model functional urban classifications for the 52 major metropolitan areas in the United States. The maps are available at Demographia City Sector Model Metropolitan Area Maps.

Functional Classifications of Metropolitan Areas

The City Sector Model allows a more representative functional analysis of urban core, suburban and exurban areas, by the use of smaller areas, rather than municipal boundaries.

The nearly 9,000 zip code tabulation areas of major metropolitan areas are categorized by functional characteristics, including urban form, density and travel behavior. There are four functional classifications, the urban core, earlier suburban areas, later suburban areas and exurban areas. The urban cores have higher densities, older housing and substantially greater reliance on transit, similar to the urban cores that preceded the great automobile oriented suburbanization that followed World War II. Exurban areas are beyond the built up urban areas. The suburban areas constitute the balance of the major metropolitan areas. Earlier suburbs include areas with a median house construction date before 1980. Later suburban areas have later median house construction dates.

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I grew up in Boston but haven't been back to the region in many years. Looking at the green areas of the map for Boston, how does one determine the zipcode or community name for each green area???


the metropolitan areas in

the metropolitan areas in the united States should not be planned as piece of concrete only. There should be a blend of nature and urban.


As Frank Lloyd Wright so wonderfully envisaged, and a few enlightened inheritors of his tradition still do.


Something seems to be broken in your model.

For Austin, TX the map is showing the entire downtown CBD as later auto suburban. For the "median house age" component, how does the algorithm deal with tear-downs and rebuilds in older urban areas?

Thank you for the comment.

Thank you for the comment. The median house construction age of 1945 or before for urban core is used to ensure the model classifies as urban cores areas that were largely built before the great automobile oriented suburbanization. An older area with significant tear downs and rebuilds would retain its urban core status so long as it has at least a 7,500 per square mile density and a transit/walking/cycling work trip market share of 20 percent.

This is illustrated in the chart at

Best regards,
Wendell Cox

Right, which is why I'm

Right, which is why I'm trying to figure out how the Austin CBD (the grid dating to the 1830s, with all the skyscrapers and condo towers, the part where if you asked the man on the street "which part of Austin is the most urban" they'd point you to) is "later auto suburban". If the classification system is giving results that far removed from "gut feel", maybe it needs to be altered.