The Centroid, or mean center of population, is “the point at which an imaginary, flat, weightless, and rigid map of the United States would balance perfectly if weights of identical value were placed on it so that each weight represented the location of one person on the date of the census.” The United States Census Bureau has calculated this point each year of the census, beginning with the 1790 census that placed this point near Chestertown, Maryland. The point then moved steadily west and dipped south, currently residing in Plato, Missouri.
Centroid Towns is a social documentary project creating a portrait of the towns tagged by this historical coordinate. Preliminary photographic fieldwork has been done in each town and and we are currently working to spend more time with the connected communities and investigating local historical archives. The project began in 2014 and is ongoing.
Ellicott City, Maryland, is the current site of sustained engagement, and a good introduction to the larger project. Please follow the link in the menu to learn more.
Centroid Towns is a project by Baltimore-based photographer Nate Larson. He welcomes the chance to work with community partners and others interested in illuminating towns near Centroid sites.