Monday, March 14, 2011

Do we need more people in Rolla, the Ozarks, Missouri?

The population center of the United States has been in Phelps County for the past 10 years. It has moved southwest into Texas County, according to the latest Census figures, (read all about it in this story, U.S. population center leaves Phelps County, Missouri ) and will eventually leave Missouri and the Midwest, the experts say.
The reason: Lots of growth in the Southwest, particularly because Mexicans are moving into that region. Here's an excerpt from the report:

America's population center is edging away from the Midwest, pulled by
Hispanic growth in the Southwest, according to census figures. The historic
shift is changing the nation's politics and even the traditional notion of the
country's heartland — long the symbol of mainstream American beliefs and
The West is now home to the four fastest-growing states — Nevada,
Arizona, Utah and Idaho — and has surpassed the Midwest in population, according
to 2010 figures. California and Texas added to the southwestern population tilt,
making up more than one-fourth of the nation's total gains since 2000.
the Census Bureau announces a new mean center of population next month,
geographers believe it will be placed in or around Texas County, Mo., southwest
of the present location in Phelps County, Mo. That would put it on a path to
leave the region by midcentury.
"The geography is clearly shifting, with the
West beginning to emerge as America's new heartland," said Robert Lang, a
sociology professor at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas who regularly crunches
data to determine the nation's center. "It's a pace-setting region that is
dominant in population growth but also as a swing point in American
The last time the U.S. center fell outside the Midwest was 1850,
in the eastern territory now known as West Virginia. Its later move to the
Midwest bolstered the region as the nation's cultural heartland in the 20th
century, central to U.S. farming and Rust Belt manufacturing sites.

What do you think about this?
Is Hispanic growth good for our economy? Or is it a sign of 'reconquista' taking place?
Missouri did not lose population but it didn't grow and will lose a seat in the U.S. House? Is that loss of a voice in Washington OK? Or would it have been better to become more densely populated to keep our representation?
When is population growth sufficient? Will we ever have too many people in Missouri?

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