Center of population

Center of population

, with a mean distance of convert|5000|km|sigfig=1|sp=us. Its antipodal point is correspondingly the "farthest" point from everyone on earth, and is located in the South Pacific near 15000|km|sp=us.

In demographics, the center of population of a region is the geographical point nearest to all the inhabitants of that region, on average.


Centers of population are usually computed by minimizing a population-weighted average of a distance metric. In other words, for some place P, the distance from P to a list of populated places is computed, and the distance to each populated place from P is weighted by the population of that place. The choice of P for which such a weighted average has the lowest value is held to be the center of population for the particular list of populated places used.

In practice, the person or agency doing the calculation decides whether to represent the area of interest in two-dimensional or three-dimensional space, and also the specific function to use for computing distances. For the particular case of flat maps, the center of population could also be defined as a center of mass (centroid) of the population of the area of interest.

Decisions are also made on the granularity (i.e., the "coarseness") of the population data, depending on population density patterns or other factors. For instance, the center of population of all the cities in a country may be different from the center of population of all the states (or provinces, or other subdivisions) in the same country. Different methods may yield different results.

Practical uses for finding the center of population include locating possible sites for forward capitals, such as Brasilia, Astana or Austin. Practical selection of a new site for a capital is a complex problem that depends also on population density patterns and transportation networks.


It is important to use a culturally neutral method when dealing with the entire world. As described in [] , the solution methodology deals only with the globe, and not with a two-dimensional projection of the Earth's surface. As a result, the answer is independent of which map projection is used or where it is centered. As described above, the exact location of the center of population will depend on both the granularity of the population data used, and the distance metric. With geodesic distances as the metric, and a granularity of convert|1000|km|sigfig=1|sp=us, meaning that two population centers within 1000 km of each other are treated as part of a larger common population center of intermediate location, the world's center of population is found to lie "at the crossroads between China, India, Pakistan and Tajikistan", with an average distance of convert|5200|km|sigfig=2|sp=us to all humans [] . The data used in the reference support this result to only a precision of a few hundred kilometers, hence the exact location is not known.

By country


Australia has not seen its population centroid move drastically since the creation of the country. In 1911, the centroid was in central New South Wales; in 1996, it was only slightly farther northwest. Fact|date=June 2008


The center of population for Bangladesh is close to Dhaka. Fact|date=June 2008


In 1993, the mean population center of Canada was found to be in the Township of Laxton, Digby and Longford, Victoria County, Fact|date=June 2008 now part of the city of Kawartha Lakes, Ontario.


In Finland, the center of population is located in the municipality of Hauho. Fact|date=June 2008 It is moving slightly to the west and south every year because people are moving out of the periphery areas of northern and eastern Finland.

Great Britain

The center of population in Great Britain did not move much in the 20th century. In 1901, it was in Rodsley, Derbyshire and in 1911 in Longford. In 1971 it was at Newhall, South Derbyshire and in 2000, it was in Appleby Parva, Leicestershire. Fact|date=June 2008


The center of population of Japan is in Gifu Prefecture, almost directly north of Nagoya city, and has been moving East South East for the past few decades. [ [ Our Country's Center of Population (我が国の人口重心)] ] More recently, the only large regions in Japan with significant population growth have been in Greater Nagoya and Greater Tokyo.


For Thailand, the center of population lies in the central plains area northwest of Bangkok. Fact|date=June 2008


The mean center of United States population has been calculated for each U.S. Census since 1790. If the United States map were perfectly balanced on a point, this point would be its physical centroid. Currently this point is located in Phelps County, Missouri, in the east-central part of the state. However, when Washington, D.C. was chosen as the federal capital of the United States in 1790, the center of the U.S. population was in Kent County, Maryland, a mere convert|47|mi east-northeast of the new capital. For example, a congressman from Los Angeles must today travel inordinately far to work in the capital, whereas a congressman from Maryland or Virginia could easily drive to Washington, D.C.

The mean center of United States population has progressed westward and, since 1930, southwesterly. This reflects the population drift over the last two centuries. The southwest drift reflects the rise of major populations across Texas, Fact|date=June 2008 the exponential growth of Las Vegas, Fact|date=June 2008 and the rise of Los Angeles, Fact|date=June 2008 which became the second-largest American metro area, surpassing Chicago.

Median centers of population

A median center of population can be used to show where the median east vs west person lives. A person living near Louisville, Kentucky has about half of the US population living north of him and half of the US population living south of him. This measure is meaningful only along the specific coordinate axes (north-south and east-west).

Recently, the Center for the Study of Global Christianity in Massachusetts declared that the world's Christian "Center of Gravity" was located in Timbuktu, Mali. According to their definition of "Center of Gravity," half of all Christians live west of Timbuktu and half live south of Timbuktu. Presumably they had chosen the International Date Line to differentiate eastern from western people.


* Bellone F. and Cunningham R. (1993). "All Roads Lead to... Laxton, Digby and Longford." Statistics Canada 1991 Census Short Articles Series.


External links

* [ Australian parliamentary research paper with map of population centroids] .
* [ Site promoting Appleby Parva as centre of Great Britain]
* [ Population centers of each U.S. state, 2000] (United States Census Bureau)

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • population — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ dense, large ▪ small, sparse ▪ overall, total ▪ The country has a total population of 65 million …   Collocations dictionary

  • Center — Center, NE U.S. village in Nebraska Population (2000): 90 Housing Units (2000): 49 Land area (2000): 0.107139 sq. miles (0.277488 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.107139 sq. miles (0.277488 sq.… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Center City, Philadelphia — Center City redirects here. For other uses, see Center City (disambiguation). Center City District, highlighted on a map of Philadelphia County. Center City, or Downtown Philadelphia includes the central business district and central… …   Wikipedia

  • Center Point — Center Point, AL U.S. Census Designated Place in Alabama Population (2000): 22784 Housing Units (2000): 9292 Land area (2000): 8.049713 sq. miles (20.848660 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.022065 sq. miles (0.057148 sq. km) Total area (2000):… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Center (Dakota Du Nord) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Center. Center Pays   …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Center (dakota du nord) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Center. Center Pays   …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Population ageing — or population aging (see English spelling differences) occurs when the median age of a country or region rises. This happens because of rising life expectancy or declining birth rates. Excepting 18 countries termed demographic outliers by the… …   Wikipedia

  • Center Point, Texas — Center Point is an unincorporated community in Kerr County, Texas (USA). It had a population of 800 in 2000.The Center Point Independent School District serves area students.HistoryIn the mid 1850 s, as Kerr County was establishing a new county… …   Wikipedia

  • Population health — is an approach to health that aims to improve the health of an entire population. One major step in achieving this aim is to reduce health inequities among population groups. Population health seeks to step beyond the individual level focus of… …   Wikipedia

  • Center of the World, Ohio — Center of the World is an unincorporated community in far eastern Braceville Township, Trumbull County, Ohio, United States. [DeLorme. Ohio Atlas Gazetteer . 7th ed. Yarmouth: DeLorme, 2004, p. 43. ISBN 0 89933 281 1.] It consists of several… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.