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Q:  

Is it possible to define metro areas by zip codes? We have a dataset with zip codes and would like to tie the respondent to the appropriate metropolitan area.

A:  

This won't be perfect, but it will work pretty well. There is a geographic correspondence engine.

Mable/Geocorr

If you put in zip code as the Source and one of the metro choices as Target you'll get a mapping of zip codes to metro areas. You could even map them to counties and build the metro areas via the OMB definitions.

In the case of a county, a zip code will definitely be split across some counties. In that case, you get a weight that says 73% of this zip code is in County A and 27% is in County B. The weights are by Population as default, but you have a choice of Land Area or Housing Units.

Just in case you want to do this for 1990, here's the correspondence engine for that era:

Mable/Geocorr 1990

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