After the jump, an education from a FBvian who works at the Chamber about how exactly urban regions are counted and defined.
Actually, when we are discussing metropolitan areas, which we are, Chicago does indeed count Gary, Indiana, in it population figures. Or, rather, the Census Bureau and all other federal statistical agencies do.
Chicago MSA has three metro divisions, one of which is Gary, Indiana, with 14 counties in three states. New York and Philadelphia are even more complex today. DFW is 12 counties with two metropolitan divisions, Dallas and Fort Worth, in the one great state of Texas. Only LA appears to be simpler but I’m not sure that reflects reality!
For the complete listings of metropolitan areas with names and descriptions of what, exactly, we are measuring, see here.
The confusion comes from our naming conventions and the ways they reflect the timing of an area’s development. New York is known as New York because it developed when cities represented the full reach of the local economy. Today, that economy ranges into Northern New Jersey, Long Island and, even, Pennsylvania. But we still call it “New York”! The same situation holds true for Philadelphia and Chicago. Los Angeles is, well, again, different.
DFW emerged in a different age when “economic reach” was defined by the length we can commute in cars, not on foot or in buggies! Our name reflects this difference.
That is all it is. No tricks. No sleight of hand. Just statistical definitions based on today’s technological and economic realities with names that may or may not reflect the same.