News Release 076

U.S. Population Centered in Missouri

Volume 39-076 (For Immediate Release)
For more information: 573-751-1010

ROLLA, MARCH 26, 2010 – The area near the south central Missouri community of Plato is the new U.S. Mean Center of Population, sharing an honor previously held by only to 22 other U.S. communities; three of which are located in Missouri.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the center is 2.7 miles east of Plato, an incorporated village in Texas County, south of Ft. Leonard Wood Army base. The 2010 Census population of Plato is 109.

This point is approximately 23.4 miles southwest of the 2000 center of population, which was in Phelps County, located 2.8 miles east of Edgar Springs. Ten years prior, it was identified in Crawford County about 9.7 miles southeast of Steelville. In 1980, one quarter mile from De Soto, in Jefferson County, which is Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s hometown, held the honor.

Each decade, after it tabulates the decennial census, the Census Bureau calculates the center of population. The center is determined as the place where an imaginary, flat, weightless and rigid map of the United States would balance perfectly if all 308,745,538 residents counted in the 2010 Census were of identical weight.

Since 1790, the location has moved in a southwesterly pattern. The new center of population is 872.9 miles from the first center in 1790, near Chestertown, Md. This is different than a median point, which splits the population in half north to south as well as east to west. The Census Bureau identified that point in Clay Township, Pike County, Ind., 7.1 miles southwest of Petersburg, Ind. Missouri’s population grew 7 percent since the 2000 Census to 5,988,927 residents. The U.S. population rose 9.7 percent.

A ceremony to monument the 2010 location is being planned at a site suitable for public access. Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Land Survey Program, Geology and Land Survey division, will assist NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey staff with the placement of the marker. Once preparations have been made, the location will be announced and citizens will be encouraged to attend. The true center is 37.517534 N, 92.173096 W decimal degrees latitude and longitude and is located on private property. Visit this website for additional information dnr.mo.gov/geology/.

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