Small Missouri town becomes new center of U.S. population
March 24th, 2011
03:58 PM ET

Small Missouri town becomes new center of U.S. population

Plato, Missouri, population 109, is the new geographic center of the population of the United States.

Special coverage: Census in America

U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert Groves congratulated the southeast Missouri town during a news conference Thursday.

"2010 is a special decade in our nation’s history," Groves said. "The center of the population has moved in a southerly direction in the most extreme way we've ever seen."

The Census Bureau calculates the center of population after each decennial census. It determines the center based on where an "imaginary, flat, weightless and rigid map of the United States would balance perfectly" if all 308,745,538 residents weighed the same amounts.

The center has been located in Missouri since the 1980 census. In 2000, the center was a few miles outside Edgar Springs, Missouri, a town of 190 people in the center of Phelps County.

The center has gradually drifted west and south as territories were added and as people moved. The center was first calculated after the 1790 census, when the center of population was in Kent County, Maryland, some 23 miles east of Baltimore. By 1900, it was Bartholomew County, Indiana, about six miles southeast of Columbus, Indiana.

Groves attributed the southerly drift - 23.4 miles from 2000 center - to population growth in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas.

Plato, located in Texas County, doesn't reflect the demographic breakdown of the rest of the United States, Groves said. Its residents are 95% non-Hispanic white, 2% are African-American and 4.6% are Hispanic (reflecting some overlap in reporting on census forms).

U.S. Hispanic population expected to exceed 50 million

Groves said the Census Bureau will present Plato with a marker to display this once-a-decade honor.

Have you been to Plato? Send us your photos, videos and memories from the new geographic center of the population for iReport.

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Filed under: Census • Missouri
soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. Dwayne Herbert Alizondo Mountain Dew Comacho

    Mhmmm. Interesting.

    March 24, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • not sure

      indeed mr president

      March 25, 2011 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Oldtimer

      Damn, now the ruskies will know

      March 25, 2011 at 3:08 am | Report abuse |
  2. Abe Vigoda

    When I die, there will be another shift. But I'm not dead yet.

    March 24, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. AJ

    Heading to Texas, baby!

    March 24, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gbone

      or coming up from Mexico!

      March 25, 2011 at 1:36 am | Report abuse |
  4. Dwayne Herbert Alizondo Mountain Dew Comacho

    @Cesar r: You're just jealous that I've been talking to hot chicks online all day.

    March 24, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bobbie

      Gimme some of your tots.

      March 24, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • jonathan

      Or just scruffy ole men going through a mid-life crising posing as hot woman. Hot woman don't sit online and talk all day.

      March 25, 2011 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
  5. ricky james

    D'Vera Cohn is an idiot, saying that illegal immigration and birth rates don't match hand in hand. That is the whole reason why they come into the US illegally, to have their children. You can see it in any hospital, and see any race of any 2nd and 3rd world country illegal immigrants.

    March 24, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Cesar r

    Dwayne: I'm just going to tell you one time Dwayne. Your name is too long. I hate your name. If I ever speak to you again, I will call you Dwayne, and that's it! BTW, I'm particular whom I speak to.

    March 24, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. #1 American

    I grew up in Iowa and now live in God forsaken El Paso, Texas. Anyone who wants to leave the Midwest for Texas is seriously mistaken, misguided, and delusional. For reals. If you think the Midwest sucks, try living here. Its overrun with illegal aliens sucking up everything they can get their grimy hands on. Job wages are extremely low compared. And Im really tired of everyone acting like you MUST speak Spanish. Ill take good ole country, cornfed Iowa anyday. Proud to say 'NOT A TEXAN'!

    March 24, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Person

      I grew up just a few miles north of El Paso in New Mexico and I agree that El Paso is a god-awful exception and really IS a cesspool of problems, but the rest of Texas isn't nearly that bad!

      March 24, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Shawn

    The only thing to ever happen to Plato, Missouri.... I live in Missouri; smallest town I've ever heard of.

    March 24, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. JeramieH

    Essentially draw a line from Los Angeles to New York, then plot the midpoint.

    March 24, 2011 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Abe Simpson

    "I'll be dead in the cold, cold ground. Before I recognize Missoura'"

    March 24, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bobbie

    More than likely coming from someone who has never lived there.

    March 24, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Rambo Bright

    Oops guess someone forgot that there are more than 48 states. Now there's a shock. Oh well, not like the writer forgot to show a third of the U.S. land mass. Oh, wait. Great work, CNN.

    March 24, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • cyberdyne

      It's based on population, not land mass. Compared to the rest of the country, Alaska'a population is abysmally small, so it wouldn't change the center very much, no matter how far north it is.

      March 25, 2011 at 12:56 am | Report abuse |
  13. MHouston

    DHAMD C, you're Not so interesting...

    March 25, 2011 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
  14. Dave

    Looks like all the Mexicans like to live around Republicans.

    March 25, 2011 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
  15. Roger Dimbulb

    Rambo, I guess by "a third of the U.S. land mass" you mean Alaska. So they left out Alaska in the map. Doesn't really matter. The article's not talking about geographical AREA, but about POPULATION. There are more people living in DETROIT than in the entire state of Alaska.

    March 25, 2011 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
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