Description of Arbitron's Annual Population Estimate Update Process

How Are Arbitron Metro Population Estimates Determined?

Arbitron Metro population estimates are based on U.S. Census information and updated annually, using a variety of local, state and federal data.

Metro population estimates are released each year for the Fall survey and are projected to January 1 of the next year. The estimates are created and copyrighted by Claritas, Inc.

Why Are Arbitron Metro Population Estimates Different from Other Sources?

There are three factors that can cause a difference:

How Population Is Defined

Arbitron ratings are created using a seven-day personal listening diary filled out by persons 12 years of age or older. As a result, our market ranks are based on the population of persons 12 years and older (“persons 12+”) only. Most other organizations, however, use population estimates for total population (“persons 0+”).

An example of how this can impact the population estimates is the Albany, GA, radio Metro. According to Census 2000 data, the Metro had a population of 120,822 persons 0+ and 98,228 persons 12+.

How Geography Is Defined

There may be differences between the ways different sources define the geography of a Metro. This is usually a difference in which counties are included in the Metro and which are not. In the case of Albany, GA, Arbitron’s radio Metro is made up of two Georgia counties:  Dougherty and Lee. The Federal government’s Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) includes three additional counties:  Baker, Terrell and Worth, GA. For Census 2000, the MSA had 167,079 persons 12+ while the radio Metro had 98,228.

Information Sources That Are Used

There may be differences between Metro estimates when they utilize data from different sources. The difference can be a result of a number of issues, including when the estimates were developed, what data preparation methods were employed and what inputs and methods were used.

More information:

Market Ranks
Survey Schedule