Missouri city with 82 residents will no longer be a U.S. population center after the 2020 census


The US Census Bureau will announce on Tuesday the location of the new “heart” of the United States, an expert predicting its location in the Missouri Ozarks.

Every 10 years, after the census, the organization announces a new population distribution center. The population center has been in Missouri since 1980, and that shouldn’t change this year, according to the Associated Press.

Alex Zakrewsky, the senior city planner for Middlesex County, New Jersey, said the most likely location is somewhere in Wright County, Missouri.

Zakrewsky accurately predicted the current center a decade ago: Plato, Missouri, a village in the Ozarks with just 82 residents.

If his predictions are correct again, the center will only move 12.8 miles southwest of Plato. It would be the nation’s slowest advance in each census, beating the current slowest census movement of 1910-1920, when the lag was 13 miles.

Compared to the census of 1850-1860, where progress was 103 miles, this shows a considerable slowdown.

“An aging population, persistent economic hardship and the impact of the pandemic have helped reduce the means and reasons for Americans to relocate,” Zakrewsky said.

For more Associated Press reporting, see below.

The US Census Bureau announces the location of the new US population center. Above, a car drives through Plato, Missouri, which has been designated a population center of the United States on March 24, 2011.
Charlie Riedel, File / AP Photo

Since the first US census in 1790 and Chestertown, Maryland was declared the center of the young nation, the heart of the country was calculated after each census, moving southwest through Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri as more and more people moved to the Sun Belt states. and immigrant from the southern border.

To calculate the center of the United States, the Census Bureau determines what location would be “the point of equilibrium” if the 50 states were an imaginary, flat surface with weights of identical size placed on them so that each weight represents the location. of somebody .

Plato, located south of Fort Leonard Wood in the Missouri Ozarks, had a population of 82 people last year, about a quarter less than a decade ago when the director of the Census Bureau’s time, Robert Groves, visited the village to celebrate its status.

But don’t expect to find T-shirts or coffee mugs celebrating this designation in local stores, or regrets as Plato loses that claim to fame. Most people in Texas County, home to Plato, have no idea they are in the middle of the United States, said Scott Long, the president commissioner of Texas County, where beef cattle are most plentiful. than people.

“I don’t think it has changed the daily life of the people in this county, but I don’t mean it in a way that means we don’t care,” Long said. “It’s one of those things that most people don’t even know.”

Plato, Missouri, small town
The new center of the United States should be somewhere in the Ozarks of Missouri. Above, Andy Justice walks towards a pile of stones on land he cultivates near Plato, Missouri, March 24, 2011.
Charlie Riedel, File / AP Photo


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