GH area absorbed into GR

The Holland-Grand Haven metropolitan statistical area (MSA) is being dissolved.
Marie Havenga
Feb 6, 2014

That means data dedicated to the Lakeshore locales will no longer be collected and available.

Instead, Ottawa County will be absorbed into the Grand Rapids-Wyoming region, a move that local Chamber of Commerce President Joy Gaasch fears may cause this area to be overlooked when it comes to relocation choices for businesses and out-of-towners.

Gaasch is also concerned that Grand Haven may not be on the radar of publications when it comes to passing out “best of” rankings. The area in the past has been recognized for its beaches, safety and happiness rankings.

“We’re going to be totally lost,” Gaasch said. “We’re not even going to be in the MSA’s name anymore.”

Economist George Erickcek delivered his annual Chamber of Commerce-sponsored local economic forecast Tuesday morning at the Grand Haven Community Center, but said such presentations may be difficult in the future because demographically distinct data will no longer be available.

“It does take Grand Haven and Holland off the map,” he said.

Read the Tribune story on Erickcek's forecast: CLICK HERE.

The Office of Management and Budget and the U.S. Census Bureau determine which communities belong in which statistical jurisdictions based on commutability percentage, and 25 is the magic number. Ottawa County is being moved to the Grand Rapids-Wyoming MSA because 29.6 percent of its residents commute to Kent County for work, according to the most recent Census.

During the 2000 Census, slightly more than 24 percent of residents worked in Kent County, so the Holland-Grand Haven MSA was formed as its own entity.

Gaasch said although no funds will be lost, she will miss the recognition that goes along with a smaller statistical area.

But that may not be all bad, according to Erickcek.

With the addition of Ottawa County, the Grand Rapids-Wyoming statistical region — which also includes Barry and Montcalm counties — will encompass a population of 1,500,648, up from 778,000 before the boundary change. And that’s another magic number.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.


Former Grandhavenite

It seems like after every decennial census the Tri-Cities area or the county switches MSAs. I think it's been part of the Muskegon MSA, the Grand Rapids MSA, and of course the Holland-Grand Haven MSA mentioned here at various times. Being part of the larger Grand Rapids-based MSA probably makes businesses more likely to relocate or open branches since a lot of them look for a certain threshold level of population to locate in an area. Of course, most of that increased business activity will take place in Grand Rapids instead of on the lake shore. The crime and poverty rates of the MSA will probably be higher once GR is included, which actually can make the area more eligible for federal or state grants. It also probably makes upgrades of the major commuter routes between the Tri-Cities and Grand Rapids more likely which could be a boost for tourism. I'm guessing that Grand Haven will sprawl considerably to the east after the US-31 bypass opens, which could lead to closer ties between the area and Grand Rapids just by being a bit closer.

Tri-cities realist

Or perhaps it is part of a vast left wing conspiracy to try to obscure a traditionally conservative area, not that I'm much of a conspiracy theorist.

But maybe we can look forward to the headline "GR area sees record growth, doubling in size" overlooking the fact that a reorganization of the area was the cause.

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