Census Bureau names Plato, Mo., 2010 ‘Center of Population’
The U.S. mean center of population, as of April 1, 2010, is near Plato, Mo., an incorporated village in Texas County, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Plato is the latest in a line of population centers that have moved westward as the nation has grown, the last being identified in the 2000 U.S. Census as Edgar Springs, Mo., which is 23.4 miles northeast of Plato.
The bureau calculates the mean center of population 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. “Ever since Chestertown, Md., was determined to be the center of population after the first census was conducted in 1790, the center of population has told the story of America, illustrating how we’ve grown as a nation,” the Census Bureau says in a press release. “It follows a trail across the country — across Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Missouri — that reflects our history of settling the frontier, Manifest Destiny, waves of immigration and regional migration.”
The exact coordinates for the nation’s population center is 37.517534 N, 92.173096 W, which is the most western and southern point in the nation’s history, as well as the most southerly movement from the previous decade. It is 2.7 miles from Plato’s center. The town had a population of 109 residents in 2010.
The Census Bureau will install a commemorative “geodetic control mark” at a site near the official coordinates during a dedication ceremony in April 2011. The survey disc will be used by satellites and land surveyors to conduct scientific surveys to generate precise position data that serve as the foundation for accurate mapping and charting in America.
Read the Census Bureau press release on the Center of the Population.