Where the people are moving

As ever, this barn was at or near the top of a hill on today’s bike ride. It was but a 22-mile ride, and another piece of mounting evidence, impossible to ignore, that I don’t know how to ride on hills. But a nice little piece of farmland, somewhere, I think, around a place called Unionville.


Or maybe it was around New Unionville. Hard to tell at this point. They are both unincorporated areas — One has a recycling center, the other has a post office — and appear to be perfectly lovely and sleepy places to pass through.

Wikipedia tells me that Unionville was the center of the U.S. population in 1911. According to the 2010 Census the center is in a place called Plato, Missouri. As the crow flies that’s a 337 mile shift to the southwest in a century. That’s just migratory patterns. (And air conditioning.)

Furthermore, Wikipedia tells me “The 20.7-mile shift projected for the 2010–2020 period would be the shortest centroid movement since the Great Depression intercensal period of 1930–1940.”

Historically … If you looked at the mean center in 1810, the spot was in Loudon County, Virginia, 470 miles east of here. Short of a trend, let’s split the difference. I’m guessing, if you give it another 100 years, the mean center might be somewhere near Woodward, Oklahoma, which is 400 miles from Plato. Someone print this out and keep it for your great-great-grandchildren to verify.

But, anyway, hills or no, I averaged 20 miles per hour or more over the course of four different miles today. So there’s that. A quick glance at a map of Woodward suggests it might be flat. Maybe I should ride there.

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