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A metroplex is a large metropolitan area containing several cities and their suburbs. It is also sometimes used as an alternative to metropolis or megalopolis, which is a chain of continuous metropolitan areas. The term was coined for, and is still commonly used to describe, the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.
Sometimes, a region is not clearly defined. It can be seen as a metroplex or a single metropolitan area (for example, Dallas - Fort Worth is closer to the definition of a metro and Norcal is closer to the definition of a megalopolis).
Origin of the term
According to the North Texas Commission (NTC), the term originated from an ad agency's combination of the terms "metropolitan" and "complex." The NTC copyrighted the term "Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex" in 1972 as a replacement for the previously-ubiquitous "North Texas," which studies had shown lacked identifiability outside the state. In fact, only 38 percent of a survey group identified Dallas and Fort Worth as part of "North Texas," with Texas Panhandle also a perceived correct answer, being the northermost region of Texas.
Commonly termed metroplexes
The most common use of the word metroplex in the United States is for:
*Dallas / Fort Worth (sometimes called DFW). The area around Dallas and Fort Worth is regularly referred to as simply "The Metroplex" in print and television media inside the state of Texas, unlike the other metropolitan areas listed. The area referred to as "The Metroplex" also includes such cities as Arlington, Grand Prairie, Irving, Grapevine, Carrollton, Lewisville, Frisco, Richardson, Plano, Allen, McKinney, Garland, and Mesquite among others.
Some other areas in the U.S. and Canada that meet the definition of metroplex:
*Southern California (sometimes referred to as the Southland or SoCal), comprising Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana ("Greater Los Angeles"), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario ("Inland Empire"), Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, Santa Barbara-Santa Maria, and San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos
*Northern California or NorCal, centered on the San Francisco Bay Area of San Jose - San Francisco - Oakland, extending north and south to Santa Rosa-Petaluma, Vallejo-Fairfield and Santa Cruz-Watsonville, Salinas, and inland to merge with the Central Valley areas of Yuba City, Sacramento--Arden-Arcade--Roseville, Stockton, Modesto, Merced.
*Golden Horseshoe, a region in Canada stretching from Northumberland County to London in Ontario, with a central focus on Toronto. The 3 metropolitan areas, London, Buffalo, and the Golden Horseshoe, fabricate this metroplex of over 8 million.
*Northeast megalopolis. Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, which stretches in that order, from Northeast to Southwest, along the Atlantic Seaboard of the US. In some circles this would extend as far as Richmond, VA and even curving to the Norfolk/Hampton Roads region of Virginia.
*Las Vegas metropolitan area; usually known locally as 'the Metro' or 'the Valley'; the current Las Vegas conurbation has Las Vegas growing into the smaller but older Henderson, Nevada. Additionally, North Las Vegas is incorporated independently, and Summerlin perennially seeks separate incorporation. This is merely the most conservative definition of the Las Vegas metroplex; a larger one might reasonably incorporate Boulder City, Pahrump, and Indian Springs. The cities are listed in rough order of the ease with which their residents could identify their own mayor (many mistakenly believe it to be Oscar Goodman). The Las Vegas metroplex dominates southern Nevada and (in most regards) Nevada as a whole; Henderson alone is the state's second-largest city, having beaten out Reno as of the 2000 census.
*Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota are usually addressed identically to Dallas-Ft. Worth - that is, together - and similarly treated for most purposes as a single city.
*Northeast Ohio (sometimes referred to as Greater Cleveland, CLE+, or the Western Reserve) is anchored by Cleveland and Akron with The Cuyahoga Valley National Park in between and Lake Erie to the north. Other cities in the region include Canton, Youngstown, and the Sandusky bay area. Portions of Western Pennsylvania are often associated with this region.
*Wasatch Front in north central Utah comprises the combined metropolitain areas of Salt Lake City, Utah, Ogden, Utah and Provo, Utah encompassing all or part of the the counties of Box Elder County, Utah, Weber County, Utah, Morgan County, Utah, Davis County, Utah, Salt Lake County, Utah, eastern Tooele County, Utah, eastern Juab County, Utah, and Utah County, Utah which runs north to south along the western slope of the Wasatch Mountains over 100 miles and east to west from the Wasatch Mountains into the Great Basin about 40 miles. Most of Utah's population lives along the Wasatch Front.
Other international urban areas that meet the definition include:
*Populated Australia, a crescent-shaped region of Australia running roughly from Bundaberg, Queensland to Port Lincoln, South Australia; including the major cities of Brisbane, Gold Coast, Newcastle, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, and Adelaide.
*Taiheiyo Belt in Japan.
*Cukurova Belt (Erdemli-Mersin-Tarsus-Adana-Ceyhan-Osmaniye-Dortyol-Iskenderun-Kirikhan-Antakya) in Turkey.
*Greater Istanbul Megaplex or Eastern Marmara Megaplex (Tekirdag-Eregli-Istanbul-Corlu-Cerkezkoy-Istanbul-Gebze-Korfez-Sapanca-Adapazari-Golcuk-Karamursel-Yalova-Orhangazi-Gemilk-Bursa) in Turkey
* In the south of North West England, Manchester-Salford-Warrington-Liverpool are all connected by their suburbs.