UEA, Urban Employment Area

Need for an Urban Area Definition

  • For anybody interested in analyzing urban activities, the first task should be to define urban areas. The legal definition of a city is a natural starting point, but many urban activities extend beyond jurisdictional boundaries. For example, many workers in large metropolitan areas commute from suburban jurisdictions to central cities. We therefore need a definition of an urban area within which most of everyday activities are carried out. An urban area typically consists of a core area with significant concentrations of employment and surrounding densely settled areas with close commuting ties with the core.
  • In the U.S. the Federal Government has defined metropolitan areas since 1947 and provides a variety of statistical data for them. There is no counterpart in Japan and the only metropolitan area definitions that are available are those proposed by a few researchers. Kanemoto and Tokuoka proposed a new metropolitan area definition (UEA) that can cope with complicated interaction patterns in Japanese metropolitan areas. Researchers affiliated with the Center for Spatial Information Science at the University of Tokyo have been constructing the database for UEAs.

What are Urban Employment Areas (UEAs)?

  • The Urban Employment Areas (UEAs) are proposed by Kanemoto, Y. and K. Tokuoka, (2002), " Proposal for the Standards of Metropolitan Areas of Japan ," Journal of Applied Regional Science No.7, 1-15, (in Japanese). The name comes from the fact that they are based on employment patterns. The UEAs are divided between Metropolitan Employment Areas (MEAs) and Micropolitan Employment Areas (McEAs) according to their sizes.
  • The UEA has the following three major characteristics.
      (1) The core is determined by the size of the DID (Densely Inhabited District) poluation.
      (2) The outlying municipalities of a UEA are defined mainly by the condition that 10% or more of employed workers commute to the core.
      (3) The core of a UEA may contain multiple central municipalities.
  • A Metropolitan Employment Area (MEA) is a UEA whose core has a DID population of at least 50,000 and a Micropolitan Employment Area (McEA) is that with a DID population of at least 10,000 and less than 50,000.

Research Support

  • This research has been supported by the Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, No.10202202 from 1998 to 2003, No.1661002 from 2004 to 2005 and JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 15H03344 from 2015 to 2018.
What are UEA?
Standards for UEAs
UEA Code Tables
MEA Data
UEA Applications
UEA Maps