Several questions about U.S. population trends loomed over the 1920 Census. Here they were, along with their ultimate answers.
Are we entering on a new period in which our proportionate increase in population will be less than in the past?
Yes. The growth rate between 1910 and 1920 was +14.9%, the lowest on record up to that point.
The growth rate now is even lower than that. The population from 2000-10 grew at +9.7%, the second-lowest ever. Current projections for 2010-20 are for a growth rate of +7.7%, which would also be the second-lowest ever.
Is urban population for the first time in the history of the country to take lead over rural population?
Yes. According to the Census Bureau, “The 1920 census marked the first time in which over 50 percent of the U.S. population was defined as urban.”
By the 2010 Census, that number had jumped to 80.7%.
Has the great movement westward, which has been an outstanding feature in every census, slowed up, and, with the vast industrial growh in the East, is the centre of population to be stopped in its westward course and return a few points toward the East?
Yes. The median center of population had moved westward every decade between 1880 and 1910, but moved both slightly east and slightly north in 1920, from eastern Indiana to western Ohio.
It moved slightly east again in 1930, but has since moved both west and south every decade since. As of 2010, it’s located near Petersburg in southwestern Indiana.
Population Centre Moving East, Cities Lead: Early Figures of New Census Seem to Promise This and Indicate Slowing Up of General Increase Rate to About Fifteen Per Cent. — Effect of Industrial Progress Speeded Up by War
Published: Sunday, May 23, 1920