As per the 2015 United States Census Bureau estimates, the New York metropolitan area remains, by a significant margin, the most populous in the United States, as defined by both the Metropolitan Statistical Area (20.2 million residents) and the Combined Statistical Area (23.7 million residents); it is also one of the most populous urban agglomerations in the world, and the single largest in North America. The New York metropolitan area continues to be the premier gateway for legal immigration to the United States, with the largest foreign-born population of any metropolitan region in the world. The MSA covers 6,720 sq mi (17,405 km2), while the CSA area is 13,318 sq mi (34,493 km2), encompassing an ethnically and geographically diverse region. The New York metropolitan area's population is larger than that of the state of New York, and the metropolitan airspace accommodated over 130 million passengers in 2016.
As a center of many industries, including finance, international trade, new and traditional media, real estate, education, fashion, entertainment, tourism, biotechnology, law, and manufacturing, the New York City metropolitan region is one of the most important economic regions in the world; in 2015, the MSA produced a gross metropolitan product (GMP) of nearly US$1.60 trillion, while in 2015, the CSA had a GMP of over US$1.83 trillion, both ranking first nationally by a wide margin and behind the GDP of only nine nations and seven nations, respectively. In 2012, the New York metropolitan area was also home to seven of the 25 wealthiest counties in the United States by median household income, according to the American Community Survey. According to Forbes, in 2014, the New York City metropolitan area was home to eight of the top ten ZIP codes in the United States by median housing price, with six in Manhattan alone. The New York metropolitan region's higher education network comprises hundreds of colleges and universities, including Columbia University, Princeton University, Yale University, New York University, and Rockefeller University, all of which have been ranked among the top 40 in the world.
The U.S. Office of Management and Budget utilizes two definitions of the area: the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and the Combined Statistical Area (CSA). The MSA definition is titled the New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA Metropolitan Statistical Area, and includes a population of 20.2 million people by 2015 Census estimates, roughly 1 in 16 Americans and nearly 7 million more than the second-place Los Angeles metropolitan area in the United States. The MSA is further subdivided into four metropolitan divisions. The 27-county metropolitan area includes 12 counties in New York State (coinciding with the five boroughs of New York City, the two counties of Long Island, and five counties in the lower Hudson Valley); 12 counties in Northern and Central New Jersey; and 3 counties in northeastern Pennsylvania. The largest urbanized area in the United States is at the heart of the metropolitan area, the New York–Newark, NY–NJ–CT Urbanized Area (estimated to have an area of 6,720 square miles).
The counties and county groupings constituting the New York metropolitan area are listed below, with 2012 population estimates: