FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA / KFTA) – On November 16, the US Census Bureau will announce the location of the population center of the United States in 2020, a way of summarizing the population changes each decade.
The population center is where an imaginary, flat, weightless, rigid map of the United States would balance out perfectly if everyone weighed the same.
According to a census bureau statement, the colonial town of Chestertown, Maryland, near the Chesapeake Bay, was once an important port for the tobacco and slave trade and was the population center of the New United States in 1790 when the first census was taken.
Since then, the geographic center of the American population has progressed steadily westward, passing through Ohio, Indiana and then Illinois.
In recent decades, it has tilted southwest as people moved to the Sun Belt and immigrated from the southern border.
“It’s amazing how the population just made huge leaps, starting with around 3 million people, then all of a sudden tens of millions of people,” said Sharon Tosi Lacey, historian Chief of the Census Bureau. “Immigration has played a huge role in this. “
Since 1980, this center has been located in various locations in Missouri. In 2010, the center was near Plato, a small town about 120 kilometers northeast of Springfield.
The point is officially marked with a survey monument by the National Geodetic Survey (NGS) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the US government’s authoritative source for precise measurements of latitude, longitude, and altitude.
Since 1990, the Census Bureau and the NGS have placed the population center monument in a publicly accessible location near the actual population center.
According to the Census Bureau, knowing the center of the population helps geographers, demographers and others quantify how fast and in what direction Americans are moving.