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The Center of Population in the USA -- near Edgar Springs, Mo.Posted Thursday, June 5, 2008, at 6:27 PM
According to the 2000 Census, the new center of population of the USA is a point three miles east of Edgar Springs, Missouri. This is the spot where there are just as many people north as south, and as many people east as west.
Located some 100 miles southwest of St. Louis, on the edge of the Mark Twain National Forest, Edgar Springs has a population of 190. It has a café, grocery store, convenience mart, feed store, lumber store, car wash, beauty shop and four churches.
There's not much to do in Edgar Springs, except wash your car and go to church.
The USA center of population has been steadily moving west and south since it was first introduced in 1790 where it was then pinpointed 23 miles east of Baltimore.
Over the years, it has been located in West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri.
In 1990, Steelville, Missouri, over 800 miles from Baltimore, had the honor. Ten years later, it drifted another 32 miles west and 12 miles south to Edgar Springs.
Based on the last 10 years, the center of population has been traveling at a speed of 3.4176 miles per year or about two feet per hour. This is slightly faster than the U.S. Congress moves when in session.
The west-southwest drift of the center of population is no great surprise.
In 1950, Phoenix had a population of about 40,000. Today, It's well over a million.
California had a population of 10 million in 1950. In 2000, it reached 35 million. During those forty years, the population of California increased by approximately 1,370 people per day. That's a lot of Ryder trucks heading one-way.
If this west-southwest drift of the USA population center continues on its present course, in a few years it should hit Tulsa, Oklahoma, about the same time gasoline hits $99 per gallon.
By the way, the exact Center of the Universe at any given moment is wherever I'm standing at the time.
Quote of the Day -- "Then I was standing on the highest mountain of them all, and round about beneath me was the whole hoop of the world. And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw, for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all." Black Elk, Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux (1863 - 1950)
NOTE: I started this blog five days ago. This is my third submission. I intend to mix things up a bit (humor, metaphysical phenomena, politics, conspiracies, psychology, strange facts, etc.). I'm still getting a feel for it and will probably post a new blog three times per week to start -- Tuesday, Thursday and weekends. Perhaps once I get rolling things will change, but that's the plan for now.
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Bret Burquest is a former award-winning columnist for The News (2001-2007) and author of four novels. He has lived in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Kansas City, Memphis and the middle of the Arizona desert. After a life of blood, sweat and tears in big cities, he has finally found peace in northern Arkansas where he grows tomatoes, watches sunsets and occasionally shares the Secrets of the Universe (and beyond) with the rest of the world.