Map of the Day: U.S. Center of Population, 1790–2000

…from the ESRI Map Book, Volume 24


“Each decade, as part of its tabulation and publication activities following the decennial census, the U.S. Census Bureau calculates the country’s center of population. The center is determined as the place where an imaginary, flat, weightless, and rigid map of the United States would balance perfectly if all residents were of identical weight. For Census 2000, the mean center of population was in Phelps County, Missouri, approximately 2.8 miles east of the rural community of Edgar Springs.

“Historically, the movement of the center of population has reflected the expansion of the country, the settling of the frontier, waves of immigration, and migration west and south. Since 1790, the center of population has moved steadily westward, angling to the southwest in recent decades.

“Courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division.”