Every 10 years, the Census Bureau calculates the exact center of the US population. Here’s what that statistic shows about our history.
Every 10 years the centroid (the center of U.S. population) is calculated using the latest census data. As the video above shows, the centroid has continued moved west throughout history, but in the last 60 years has moved to the south and west. The recent shift to the south coincides with the mass availability of air conditioning (among other factors) which opened up the Sun Belt. In this article in Orion Magazine, Jeremy Miller discusses the historical shifts in the spatial patterns of the U.S. population and the history of the centroid. you can listen to the podcast version of the article or a shorter podcast by NPR.
Questions to Ponder: Would the centroids of other countries be as mobile or predictable? Why or why not? What does the centroid tell us?