Urban Areas Drive Economic Growth in the West

Despite being known for its rural landscapes, the West is surprisingly urban.

While the U.S. West is well-known for its scenic vistas and national parks—think Grand Canyon, Zion, or Yellowstone—it also is one of the most urbanized regions of the country.

The share of people living in metropolitan areas in the West (89%) is higher than in the rest of the country–where, on average, 75 percent of people live in metropolitan areas. In terms of the proportion of people in metro areas, the West is as urban as the Northeast (89%), and more urban than the Midwest (70%) and South (73%).

Coincident with the distribution of people, most western jobs also are concentrated in urban areas. Urban areas drive economic growth in the West, and these interactive maps show how employment is concentrated in metro counties for each western state.