Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in Tableau

I was asked recently to do a small research project recently into why Tableau wasn’t recognizing certain MSAs (metropolitan statistical areas) even though they were clearly the official name released by the census bureau and the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

It turns out that Tableau typically includes major updates of geographic data in major releases of Tableau.  So the official 2013 update of MSA data missed the 8.0 release and the 2009 MSA data is currently used.  Here is how Tableau 8.0 renders the two different MSA lists:

The 2013 list produces 129 unknown locations.

MSA Type

Note that 2009 gets a perfect match, whereas the 2013 list has 129 unknown.  When Tableau incorporates the new geographic definitions, the hits/misses will likely flip.  I don’t know if this will happen in 8.1 or 9.0.

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