Watch As The U.S. Population Goes West Over The Last 220 Years

A lot has changed in the U.S. over the course of the last 220 years, but one thing has remained the same: The steady migration of the population more and more westwards with each passing decade.


The visualization was put together by the U.S. Census and tracks the Mean Center of Population, which the Census defines as "the point at which an imaginary flat, weightless, and rigid map of the United States would balance if weights of identical value were placed on it so that each weight represented the location of one person on Census Day (April 1)." Or in other words, the point at which an equal percentage of the population lies in every direction.

Though the most pronounced move is westwards, there's also a distinctly southern tilt to the motion, beginning just after 1920. The current mean center of the U.S. population, as measured by Census data in 2010, is located just outside of Plato, Missouri.


Have your own movements been part of the slow, steady move of Americans going west or have they followed a different pattern? Tell us in the comments about your own history of migration — whether you stuck close to where you were born or ventured far, far away — and what trends you predict for the future.

[Via FlowingData]

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Well, my great grandparents and their siblings emigrated from western Norway to New York around 1900, came through Ellis Island, helped build the Brooklyn Bridge, ended up in Chicago and had a son in 1903. He promptly moved back to Norway sometime before WW2 and had his family here in Oslo. Sadly I have no idea how my American relatives are doing these days.