Mean center of the United States population

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Map showing changes to the mean center of population for the United States, 1790–2010 (US Census Bureau)[1]
The center of the US population, 13th census, near Bloomington, Indiana
The center of the US population, 13th census (1910), near Bloomington, Indiana
Map all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap 
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The mean center of the United States population is determined by the United States Census Bureau from the results of each national census. The Bureau defines it as follows:

The concept of the center of population as used by the U.S. Census Bureau is that of a balance point. The center of population is the point at which an imaginary, weightless, rigid, and flat (no elevation effects) surface representation of the 50 states (or 48 conterminous states for calculations made prior to 1960) and the District of Columbia would balance if weights of identical size were placed on it so that each weight represented the location on one person. More specifically, this calculation is called the mean center of population.[2]

After moving roughly 600 mi (966 km) west by south during the 19th century, the shift in the mean center of population during the 20th century was less pronounced, moving 324 mi (521 km) west and 101 mi (163 km) south. Nearly 79% of the overall southerly movement happened between 1950 and 2000.

Location information since 1790

US Census County Location description[2] Decimal coordinates[2] Distance from previous point[2]
1790 Kent County, Maryland[a] 23 miles east of Baltimore n/a
1800 Howard County, Maryland 18 miles west of Baltimore 52 miles (84 km)
1810 Loudoun County, Virginia 40 miles west-northwest of Washington, D.C. 47 miles (75 km)
1820 Hardy County, West Virginia[b] 16 miles east of Moorefield 64 miles (103 km)
1830 Grant County, West Virginia[b] 19 miles west-southwest of Moorefield 51 miles (81 km)
1840 Upshur County, West Virginia[b] 16 miles south of Clarksburg 70 miles (113 km)
1850 Wirt County, West Virginia[b] 23 miles southeast of Parkersburg 70 miles (113 km)
1860 Pike County, Ohio 20 miles southeast of Chillicothe 103 miles (166 km)
1870 Highland County, Ohio 48 miles northeast of Cincinnati 54 miles (87 km)
1880 Boone County, Kentucky 8 miles southwest of Cincinnati 74 miles (119 km)
1890 Decatur County, Indiana 20 miles east of Columbus 61 miles (99 km)
1900 Bartholomew County, Indiana 6 miles southeast of Columbus 18 miles (30 km)
1910 Monroe County, Indiana in the city of Bloomington 50 miles (80 km)
1920 Owen County, Indiana 8 miles south-southeast of Spencer 13 miles (20 km)
1930 Greene County, Indiana 3 miles northeast of Linton 29 miles (46 km)
1940 Sullivan County, Indiana 2 miles east-southeast of Carlisle 17 miles (27 km)
1950 Richland County, Illinois[c]
Clay County, Illinois[d]
8 miles north-northwest of Olney
3 miles northeast of Louisville

54 miles (87 km)
69 miles (110 km)
1960 Clinton County, Illinois[e] 6.5 miles northwest of Centralia 58 miles (93 km)
1970 St. Clair County, Illinois 5 miles east-southeast of Mascoutah 34 miles (55 km)
1980 Jefferson County, Missouri 0.3 mile west of DeSoto 60 miles (96 km)
1990 Crawford County, Missouri 9.7 miles southeast of Steelville 44 miles (71 km)
2000 Phelps County, Missouri 2.8 miles east of Edgar Springs [3] 41 miles (66 km)
2010 Texas County, Missouri 2.7 miles northeast of Plato [4] 25 miles (40 km)
2020 (Census Day estimation) Wright County, Missouri 9.0 miles north northeast of Hartville [5] 18.3 miles (29.4 km)
  1. ^ In the first census (1790), the mean population center was about 7.4 miles northwest by west of Chestertown, Maryland.[3]
  2. ^ a b c d The mean population centers of 1820, 1830, 1840 and 1850 were in Virginia at the time of their censuses, before West Virginia's split from Virginia in 1863.[3]
  3. ^ Computation method used until 1950.
  4. ^ Current computation method.
  5. ^ The addition of Alaska and Hawaii to the union in 1959 contributed to moving the mean center of population about 2 miles (3.2 km) farther south and about 10 miles (16 km) farther west in the 1960 census.[2]

The estimated 18.3-mile (29.5 km) shift for 2010–2020 is the shortest centroid movement since the Great Depression intercensal period of 1930–1940.[5]

See also


  1. ^ "Mean Center of Population for the United States: 1790 to 2010" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on January 30, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e Centers of population computation, a U.S. Census Bureau publication, issued March 2011.
  3. ^ a b c 2000 U.S. Population Centered in Phelps County, Mo. Archived December 22, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, a U.S. Census Bureau press release.
  4. ^ Centers of Population for the 2010 Census, U.S. Census Bureau.
  5. ^ a b Alex Zakrewsky, Principal Planner, Middlesex County New Jersey Office of Planning.
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