Thanks nashvol, you put out the list exactly I was thinking of doing after reading this thread for the first time last night. Everything you listed (and several others such as Gulf Beach, Perdido, etc that are not) are a part of a continuous sprawling city that I'd challenge anyone to find the beginning of one or the end of another where they connect. Not that the City has ever been all that aggressive in trying to annex areas, but for 20 years now it is next to impossible to do in Florida so don't expect the official "56k, so it's a tiny little town" attitude to ever go away. Obviously the place is multiples bigger than the city limit population but I'm not gonna go crazy and count the number of Wal-Marts, Home Depots, McDonalds and Starbucks, GE plants, Solutia plants, etc. trying to say this place isn't comparable to something like Dothan. I'll just say "believe it or not".
Also should throw in that neither Esc Cnty, AL nor Okaloosa is included in the 450k (to correct that). Now honestly I sorta feel Milton (and Jay, Century, etc) is a bit of a rural insular community that isn't necessarily as interactive with Pensacola as, say, Daphne is with Mobile. But at least as interactive as, say, Gulf Shores is with Mobile. But Pace, Gulf Breeze, PBeach, the Key etc...those places which may have a ditch of water separating them from the City...but they really only exist as communities of the Pensacola. Pace would still be 8 people and 3,000 cows without people running over there from Pensa to "get away" (or whatever their strange motivations are). Now it is a sprawling nightmare of traffic and box stores.
That said, the way we put MSA's together as whole counties may be the simplest way to go about it, but it isn't really all that accurate (as in my example above). But the same could be said in Baldwin County. Granted, the large majority of Baldwin residents live at the east foot of the Mobile Bay Bridge....but places like Seminole, Lillian, even Orange Beach and some others, IMO, have far more connection and interaction with Pensacola (or only exist because of) than Mobile. My point is, if you see the Pensa MSA as imperfect and painting an invalid picture of its population, adding the whole of Baldwin County to Mobile isn't any more accurate a picture.
Ok, I feel weird sitting here trying to defend Pensacola from being chalked up as the equivalent of Biloxi in size. Let me go back to the main Pensa thread and go back to griping about how we can't get our own steel mill or other economic development as usual.