U.S. Census 2000 – Population Trends Mapped

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As the numbers are released from the 2000 United States Census, mapping the data helps clarify the nationwide trends in population. This article is the result of a cartographic and descriptive statistics exploration of the new overall population figures. I mapped out two sets of statistics released data from the Census: absolute populations numbers at the state and county level.

State Level Population Trends

This most recent census marked the first time all 50 states reported an increase in population. Overall, the reported population of the United States rose 13.2% with individual states reporting a growth ranging between half a percent to Nevada reporting the highest percentage increase of 66.3%. In all, there were twelve states that had a growth rate over 20 percent. On the flip side, there were just two states, West Virginia and North Dakota that experienced less than a one percentage increase in growth.


Click on image for larger map. For the purpose of viewing, Alaska and Hawaii are shown at a different scale than the Continental United States.
Data from U.S. Census. For table click here.County Level Population TrendsMapping out the reported population numbers by county allows for a more detailed understanding of where population change has occurred across the nation. Only one county in the country reported no effective growth rate. The population of Custer County in Montana shrank by one person from 11,697 to 11696.
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Click on image for larger map. For the purpose of viewing, Alaska and Hawaii are shown at a different scale than the Continental United States.
Data from U.S. Census. For table click here.Population DensityI also decided to look at population density. To do this, I divided the number of people recorded per county with the calculated map acreage of each county. This gives me a fairly good estimate of the recorded population density for each county. What I discovered is that out of the 3140 counties listed in the Census population data only 178 counties were calculated to have a population density over one person per acre. Not surprisingly, New York County (which contains Manhattan) had the highest population density with a calculated 104.218 persons per acre. The lowest calculated population density was the Yuokon-Koyukuk Census Area with a calculated population density of 0.000044923 persons per acre. With the exception of San Francisco County (ranked number 5th with a population density of 25.62 people per acre), all of the ten most densely population counties in the United States are along the East Coast. Eight out of the ten least populated counties were found in Alaska. Garfield County, Montana and Loving County, Texas were the other two.


Click on image for larger map. For the purpose of viewing, Alaska and Hawaii are shown at a different scale than the Continental United States.
Data derived from 2000 U.S. Census population reports at the county level.

Center of Population

Each census, the weighted population center of the United States is determined. This is the theoretical center of the United States based on population. The 2000 United States Census center of population was determined to lie in Phelps County, approximately 2.8 miles east of Edgar Springs, a rural community whose population totaled 190. This point is approximately 12.1 miles south and 32.5 miles west of the 1990 center of population. Each star on the map represents the sequential population center of the United States calculated from that decade’s census. The first population center was calculated for 1790 and continues each decade through to the 2000 Census.


Click on image for larger map.Data from U.S. Census Bureau. Click here for table.



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