The Centroid of our Universe

In which Jeremy Miller seeks the centroid–or “the mean population center” of the U.S., “a hypothetical and highly mathematical point calculated every ten years as part of the decennial census.”

The “center” of our country is a loaded concept–Miller points back the mythologized centers that anchor various cultures–and this mathematical version feels kind of arbitrary. But maybe that should just make it more compelling. As Miller says,

[H]ere in the United States, there is no omphalos, no Kaaba or Foundation Stone—there is only the open road unfurling. Our diverse population is busy moving, being born, and dying, changing careers and cities, pressing outward into the ever-expanding arms of suburbs and exurbs. The center never rests.

Just where the centroid rests every ten years tells us a lot about our country–about our economy, about our expansion across the land, about the impact of climate change on where we live.

It’s a great read.