Welcome to Plato, Mo. (pop. 109) the mean population center of the United States

Designation helps US with communication, engineering, transportation and land use planning.

About 109 people live in the village of Plato, Mo, which today was designated the mean center of the United States population by the US Census Bureau.

The Census Bureau calculates the village sits very near the place where an imaginary, flat, weightless and rigid map of the United States would balance perfectly if all 308,745,538 residents counted in the 2010 Census were of identical weight.

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The population center has moved further west as ever since Chestertown, Md., became the center of  population after the first census done in 1790.  In subsequent years the center of population has moved through Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and now Missouri. In fact the bureau says this is the most western and southern population center point in our nation's history.

The designation is not without its perks either.  The Census Bureau will install a commemorative "geodetic control mark" at a site near the official coordinates during a dedication ceremony in April 2011. This survey disc will be used by satellites and land surveyors to conduct scientific surveys to generate precise position data that serve as the foundation for accurate mapping and charting in America.  Such accuracy is required for flood risk determination, transportation, communication, engineering and land use planning. The US National Geodetic Survey actually manages the national coordinate system and pinpoints the position of the center of population.

A few other facts from the Mean Center of Population study:

  • Coordinates (latitude, longitude) in decimal degrees of the 2010 mean center of population: 37.517534 N, 92.173096 W
  • Distance in miles from Edgar Springs, Mo., the 2000 mean center of population, to Plato, Mo.,: 23.4.
  • Distance in miles from Chestertown, Md., the 1790 mean center of population, to Plato, Mo.: 872.9
  • The U.S. census with the most northerly movement of the center of population from the previous decade ─ 44 miles from Beaver, Ohio, to Hillsboro, Ohio: 1870
  • The U.S. census with the largest increase in distance of the mean center of population from the previous decade ─ the 80.4 miles from Elizabeth, W.Va., to Beaver, Ohio, as well as the most westerly movement from the prior census: 1860
  • The U.S. census with the smallest increase in distance of the mean center of population from the previous decade ─ from downtown Bloomington, Ind., to a spot 9.7 miles to the northwest: 1920.

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