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.