Population Center of United States Moves Southwest Through Missouri

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A hundred years ago Bloomington, Indiana, had its time in the spotlight.
  • A hundred years ago Bloomington, Indiana, had its time in the spotlight.
The 2010 U.S. Census is expected to show the mean center of the U.S. population continuing its southwestern slide across Missouri.

One hundred years ago, the nation's population center was in Bloomington, Indiana, as evident by the great photo to the left. Since that time -- actually, since the first Census in 1790 when the population center was near Baltimore -- the point has shifted west and south across America.

The geographic center of the nation's population hopped the Mississippi River and into Missouri back in 1980 when it landed near DeSoto. Thirty years later, it's now believed to be near the town of Plato (click here for map) in south-central Missouri.

The Post-Dispatch has an amusing story today about how people in Plato are tripping over themselves in an effort to seize upon their new-found status.

The Census Bureau is expected to release the exact geographic coordinates of the U.S. population center next week.

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