Census Bureau: U.S. population center moves 11.8 miles to Hartville, Mo.


Some people might describe Hartville, Mo., as being in the middle of nowhere, but the U.S. Census Bureau on Tuesday announced that it’s the closest town to the middle of the nation.

The hamlet of about 600 people in the Missouri Ozarks is located about 15 miles from the center of the U.S. population distribution, according to the Census Bureau.

The nation’s population center is calculated every 10 years after the once-a-decade census shows where people are living. The heart of America has been located in Missouri since 1980.


The U.S. population center, previously located in Plato, Mo., in the neighboring county, moved only 11.8 miles from 2010 to 2020. It is the smallest distance shift in 100 years and the second-smallest in U.S. history.

The Senate has confirmed Robert Santos as the next U.S. Census Bureau director.

Nov. 4, 2021

To calculate the center of the United States, the Census Bureau calculates which spot would be “the balance point” if the 50 states were located on an imaginary, flat surface with weights of identical size — each representing the location of one person — placed on it.