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Centers of Population for the 2010 Census

The concept of the center of population as used by the U.S. Census Bureau is that of a balance point. The center of population is the point at which an imaginary, weightless, rigid, and flat (no elevation effects) surface representation of the 50 states (or 48 conterminous states for calculations made prior to 1960) and the District of Columbia would balance if weights of identical size were placed on it so that each weight represented the location of one person.

Text file containing population and latitude and longitude coordinates for the mean center of population for the United States for the 2010 Census.

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Text file containing population and latitude and longitude coordinates for the median center of population for the United States for the 2010 Census.

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Text file containing population and mean centers of population by state/state equivalent entity for the 2010 Census.

The record layout is:

  • STATEFP:  2-character state FIPS code
  • STNAME:  state name
  • POPULATION:  2010 Census population tabulated for the state
  • LATITUDE:  latitude coordinate for the center of population for the state
  • LONGITUDE:  longitude coordinate for the center of population for the state


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The record layout is:

  • STATEFP:  2-character state FIPS code
  • COUNTYFP:  3-character county FIPS code
  • COUNAME:  county name
  • STNAME:  state name
  • POPULATION:  2010 Census population tabulated for the county
  • LATITUDE:  latitude coordinate for the center of population for the county
  • LONGITUDE:  longitude coordinate for the center of population for the county


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The record layout is:

  • STATEFP:  2-character state FIPS code
  • COUNTYFP:  3-character county FIPS code
  • TRACTCE:  6-character census tract code
  • POPULATION:  2010 Census population tabulated for the census tract
  • LATITUDE:  latitude coordinate for the center of population for the census tract
  • LONGITUDE:  longitude coordinate for the center of population for the census tract


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The record layout is:

  • STATEFP:  2-character state FIPS code
  • COUNTYFP:  3-character county FIPS code
  • TRACTCE:  6-character census tract code
  • BLKGRPCE:  1-character census block group code
  • POPULATION:  2010 Census population tabulated for the block group
  • LATITUDE:  latitude coordinate for the center of population for the block group
  • LONGITUDE:  longitude coordinate for the center of population for the block group


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Mean Center of Population Relative Shift by Decade
This series of plots provides a way to view the variations in movement and distance from one mean center of population to another. In these slides, the compass on the right marks the starting decade for each pair of centers. The second decade's center is plotted in relation to the compass point, with the length and angle of the line indicating the relative distance and directionality of movement. The final slide highlights the decade with the greatest distance of movement (1860), shortest distance (1920), most northerly direction (1870), and most southerly (2010).

Centers of Population Computation Methodology
Methodology used by the U.S. Census Bureau for the computation of the centers of population from 1950 to 2010.

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