There’s Missouri, in the middle of things again.


We are told that our state – with its rural, urban and suburban mix – is a microcosm of the country.

There’s Missouri, in the middle of things again.


We are told that our state – with its rural, urban and suburban mix – is a microcosm of the country. We are told that as Missouri goes, so goes the nation. We are neither reliably Republican nor reliably Democratic, having voted for the winners in all but two presidential elections for more than a century, thus serving as good barometer for what voters are thinking.


The Census Bureau also says we’re still in the middle of it all. Based on the 2010 census, the agency says the country’s mean population center – an equal number of Americans in any direction from that spot – is in south-central Missouri, in Texas County south of Fort Leonard Wood.


The population center has been in our state now for most or all of the lifetimes of most living Missourians. In 1980, it was near De Soto, south of St. Louis. In 1990, it continued its march to the southwest, landing 10 miles southeast of Steelville. Ten years ago, it was a few miles south of Rolla. At this pace and heading, it will be in our state for a long time and someday might pass near Springfield.


In other ways, the state doesn’t quite reflect the rest of the country. Missouri’s population grew 6.8 percent in the decade just past, compared with 9.7 percent for the U.S. as a whole. The country is growing more ethnically diverse more quickly than Missouri is. But here we are, right in the middle of the country, still a good snapshot of We the People.