Land Survey Program
Plato gets survey marker and Missouri red granite monument designating it as center of U.S. population
DNR Director Sara Parker Pauley reads and presents Gov. Jay Nixon’s proclamation
In the foreground is a Missouri red granite pedestal containing a stainless steel disc marking Plato, Mo. as the 2010 center of the United States population. L to R: Michael Ratcliffe, Chief Geographer, U.S. Census Bureau; Joe Gillman, Geology and Land Survey Division Director and state geologist, MoDNR, Sara Parker Pauley, Director MoDNR; Dr. Robert Groves, U.S. Census Bureau Director; Juliana Blackwell, National Geodetic Survey Director (NOAA); Rick Reese, Geology and Land Survey Division, Land Survey Program, MoDNR; and Darrell Pratte, Geology and Land Survey Division, Land Survey Program Director and state land surveyor, MoDNR.
ROLLA, MO, MAY 9, 2011 – Community leaders, state and federal officials, citizens and 600 students from the Plato School District joined U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves Monday afternoon in unveiling a Missouri red granite pedestal containing a stainless steel disc marking Plato as the 2010 center of the United States population.
Gov. Jay Nixon issued a proclamation honoring Plato, the small Texas County village, upon receiving its commemorative survey marker from the United States Census Bureau designating it as the population center of the United States.
Missouri Department of Natural Resources Director Sara Parker Pauley represented the Governor at the ceremony and read the proclamation and presented Bob Biram, Plato village board chairman, the framed proclamation.
"We were in the middle of nowhere," said Bob Biram, village chairman. "But now we're in the middle of everywhere." Not only does Plato hold the honor of being named the 2010 Center of Population, the village was the first community in the nation to become incorporated in the new millennium.
The actual, geographic location is about three miles east of Plato on a privately owned farm belonging to Robert and Mary Hartzog, who were in attendance Monday. The pedestal and disc were placed inside the village of Plato so people can visit it. Located south of Ft. Leonard Wood Army base, the 2010 Census population of Plato is 109, which is an increase of 35 people from 2000. Plato is the fourth Missouri community to receive the honor.
Since the first U.S. census was taken in 1790, the population center of the United States has gradually progressed westward from Maryland to Missouri. The 2010 center of population is approximately 23 miles southwest of the 2000 center of population, near Edgar Springs, in Phelps County. In 1990, it was near Steelville, in Crawford County; and in 1980, the center of Population was Gov. Nixon’s hometown of De Soto, in Jefferson County.
Weeks prior to Monday’s ceremony, a boundary survey was conducted by the departments’ Missouri Geological Survey who collected vertical and horizontal observations in order to establish the point as a highly accurate Geographic Reference Station. Such stations are used by surveyors, cartographers and engineers to accurately locate projects such as roads, structures and other boundaries. To cap off the day’s events, Darrell Pratte and Rick Reese, land surveyors with MGS gave a short-course about land surveying to high school students assembled at the site.
Among the many citizens, school children and dignitaries, were Bill and Rhonda Rushing, Madison, Wis. The Rushings own Berntsen International (a surveying monument supplier) made the commemorative disc. This is their third U.S. Center of Population marker; also having made the Edgar Springs and Steelville discs. The 2010 marker is the first to be set in stone. Also in attendance were William Tilley and Carolyn Peterson, sibling owners of the property where the disc and granite monument reside.
Prior to the ceremony, Dr. Groves, Juliana Blackwell, National Geodetic Survey Director (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration), Michael Ratcliffe, Chief Geographer (U.S. Census Bureau) visited classrooms at Plato High School to share information about how the Mean Center of Population was determined and about the importance of taking a census. A reception was held at the Legacy Bank & Trust following the ceremony.
Volunteers made the celebration possible and a variety of Center of Population t-shirts were created and sold by students in which the proceeds will go to college scholarship funds.
The department’s Land Survey Program develops and provides information required for the accurate and economical location of property boundaries in Missouri. Learn more at www.dnr.mo.gov/geology/landsurvey/
Plato, Missouri designated 2010 U.S. Mean Center of Population
The area near the south central Missouri community of Plato is the new U.S. Mean Center of Population, sharing an honor previously held by only 22 other U.S. communities; three of which are located in Missouri.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the center is 2.7 miles east of Plato, an incorporated village in Texas County, south of Ft. Leonard Wood Army base. The 2010 Census population of Plato is 109.
This point is approximately 23.4 miles southwest of the 2000 center of population, which was in Phelps County, located 2.8 miles east of Edgar Springs. Ten years prior, it was identified in Crawford County about 9.7 miles southeast of Steelville. In 1980, one quarter mile from De Soto, in Jefferson County, which is Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s hometown, held the honor.
Each decade, after it tabulates the decennial census, the Census Bureau calculates the 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 308,745,538 residents counted in the 2010 Census were of identical weight.
Since 1790, the location has moved in a southwesterly pattern. The new center of population is 872.9 miles from the first center in 1790, near Chestertown, Md. This is different than a median point, which splits the population in half north to south as well as east to west. The Census Bureau identified that point in Clay Township, Pike County, Ind., 7.1 miles southwest of Petersburg, Ind. Missouri’s population grew 7 percent since the 2000 Census to 5,988,927 residents. The U.S. population rose 9.7 percent.A ceremony to monument the 2010 location is being planned at a site suitable for public access. Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Land Survey Program, Geology and Land Survey division, will assist NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey staff with the placement of the marker. Once preparations have been made, the location will be announced and citizens will be encouraged to attend. The true center is 37.517534 N, 92.173096 W decimal degrees latitude and longitude and is located on private property.