Geographic center of the United States
The geographic center of the United States is a point approximately 20 mi (32 km) north of Belle Fourche, South Dakota (Lat. 44 58 02.07622(N) Long. 103 46 17.60283(W)). It has been regarded as such by the U.S. National Geodetic Survey (NGS) since the additions of Alaska and Hawaii to the United States in 1959.
This is distinct from the contiguous geographic center, which has not changed since the 1912 admissions of New Mexico and Arizona to the contiguous United States, and falls near the town of Lebanon, Kansas. This served as the overall geographic center of the United States for 47 years, until the 1959 admissions of Alaska and Hawaii moved the geographic center of the overall United States approximately 550 mi (885 km) northwest by north.
While any measurement of the exact center of a land mass will always be imprecise due to changing shorelines and other factors, the NGS coordinates identify the spot as an uninhabited parcel of private pastureland approximately 12 mi (19 km) east of the cornerpoint where the South Dakota/Wyoming/Montana borders meet. According to the NGS data sheet, the actual marker is "set in an irregular mass of concrete 36 inches below the surface of the ground."
For public commemoration, a nearby proxy marker is located in a park in Belle Fourche, where one will find a flag atop a small concrete slab bearing a U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey Reference Marker.
- Geographic center of the contiguous United States
- Geographic centers of the United States
- Mean center of the United States population
- Median center of United States population
- Center of population
- United States Geological Survey (USGS)
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- Position of the Geographic Center of Area, Mean and Median Centers of Population: 2010 from the U.S. Census Bureau website[dead link]
- http://www.ngs.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/ds_mark.prl?PidBox=PU2386 designates the "Center" as 44 58 02.07622(N) 103 46 17.60283(W)
- In the Middle of Nowhere, a Nation’s Center, New York Times