The quiet Missouri town of Plato–population 109–will be pushed front and center today, as it is officially designated America’s 2010 Census Center of Population. This means that, if there was an imaginary flat, weightless, rigid map of the United States, Plato is the point at which the population would balance perfectly if all 308.7 million residents are counted where they lie and all weigh exactly the same. Plato is in south-central Texas County.
This is the 4th successive census in which a Missouri town has been a U-S population center–in 1980, DeSoto, in Jefferson County, held the title; in 1990, it was Steelville in Crawford County; and in 2000, Edgar Springs, inPhelps County held the title.
Plato residents made an old-fashioned hometown celebration out of the day, with music, food, and remarks by local, state, and national dignitaries, and the unveiling of a commemorative survey marker. Schoolkids were let out for the day, and created and sold t-shirts–the proceeds will go to college scholarship funds.