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Plato, Mo., sits at center of nation's population

View Mean Center of U.S. Population 2010 in a larger map

It's official: The new center of the U.S. population is in Missouri, about 2.7 miles northeast of the village of Plato (see above for location).

The Census Bureau said Thursday that steady migration to the Sun Belt had pushed the site roughly 30 miles southwest of the previous location near Edgar Springs, Mo.

It is the fourth Missouri town to hold the distinction. Plato, located in Texas County, had a 2010 population of 109 people.

Since 1860, the mean population center has resided in the Midwest, helping make the region a symbol of the nation's heartland.

Based on current migration trends, the center is expected to continue moving westward, crossing into Oklahoma or Arkansas by midcentury.

Here's a U.S. Census Bureau map which shows the migration of the country's mean population center from 1790 to 2000.

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