HARTVILLE, Mo. — The U.S. Census Bureau says the nation’s new center of population as of 2020 is Hartville, Missouri, a small town located in the Ozark Mountains.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) honored the spot with a permanent commemorative survey mark, and the people of Hartville celebrated this new reference point Wednesday by having a party to show off the “center” of America.

The tip of a tripod resting on the center of the 2020 Center of Population Commemorative Survey mark, as part of a GPS survey to determine the precise latitude, longitude, and height of the mark in Hartville, MO (Credit: Brian Ward, NOAA).

The center of population is a point where an imaginary, flat, weightless and rigid map of the United States would balance perfectly if everyone were of identical weight.

This is the fifth time in a row that the center of population has fallen in Missouri.

Source: US Census Bureau, 1790-2020 Censuses, Centers of Population

Recording population numbers and how people move over time helps with the distribution of congressional districts and planning for the allocation of government resources and infrastructure needs.

To commemorate the marking of a new center of U.S. population, the town of Hartville held a celebration Wednesday with local, state and federal leaders present.

The event also included musical performances from Aaron McDaris, banjo player and member of Grammy Award-winning band Rhonda Vincent and The Rage, and singer Cheryl Brown who will lead the Hartville High School Choir.

Hartville is located in Wright County, Missouri, and is also the county seat. The small town is a one-hour drive, east of Springfield, Missouri.

As of the 2020 Census, the population of Hartville is 594 and has a total area of 0.66 square miles.

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