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Spencer, West Virginia

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Census Data for Spencer ...

Population ...

The most recent Census Estimate<1> was for 2017 and it gives Spencer a population of 2,111 people.

The last Decennial Census<2> was in 2010, giving Spencer a population of 2,322 people.

The city of Spencer is located in Roane County. The 2010 Census gave Roane County a population of 14,926 people. This means that Spencer had 15.56% of the county's total population, making it Roane's most populous community.

At the same time, West Virginia had a population of 1,852,994 people, meaning that Spencer had 0.13% of the total population of West Virginia - making it the state's 56th most populous community.

Area ...

When the Census Bureau conducts a census for a city like Spencer, they draw a boundary around the area in which they are going to conduct their count - this is called a sampling area (or a polygon). The shape of the sampling area can be quite complex and it's important to keep in mind that the boundaries of the sampling area may or may not match the recognized boundaries of the city.

Things like the population, area and housing for Spencer reflect the sampling area. Since the shape of the sampling area and the actual boundaries of Spencer might be slightly different, it's best to check with the U.S. Census Bureau if you need precision.

The 2010 Census shows that the sample polygon for Spencer has a total area of 1.27 square miles [3.3 km²]. Of this total, 1.26 square miles [3.3 km²] is land, with the balance (1.33%) being water (0.02 square miles [0 km²]).

Roane County has a land area of 483.6 square miles [1,252.4 km²]. At 1.26 square miles [3.3 km²], Spencer has 0.26% of the county's total land area.

Not only does the sampling area define boundaries, it also has a GPS location (latitude & longitude) that indicates a point within the sampling area (usually at the center of the polygon). At the time of the 2010 Census, the sampling area was located at:

Lat:   38° 48' 10"   (or 38.8°)             [Map]

Lon:   -81° 21' 11"   (or -81.35°)

More information on this topic and the changes between the 2000 Census and the 2010 Census can be found in the section for our Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Population Density ...

Using the population (2,322 people) and land area (1.26 square miles [3.3 km²]) values from the 2010 Census, Spencer had a population density of 1,821 people per square mile [703 people/km²].

In comparison, the 2000 Census shows Spencer had a population of 2,352 people and a land area of 1.19 square miles [3.1 km²]. This gives a population density of 1,952 people per square mile [753 people/km²]

NOTE: Be aware that when comparing population density between the 2000 Census and the 2010 Census, there were changes in the sampling area for Spencer. You need to be careful when making such a comparison, the differences are likely to lead to an apple-to-oranges comparison. More information about these differences can be found in the section Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Housing Units ...

At the time of the 2010 Census, Spencer had 1,180 Housing Units<3> and with its population of 2,322 people, this averages 1.97 people per Housing Unit.

The 2010 Census shows Spencer had a land area of 1.26 square miles [3.3 km²]. This translates to 925 Housing Units per square mile [357.3 housing units/km²].

From the Census of 2000: Spencer had 1,154 Housing Units, a population of 2,352 people and a land area of 1.19 square miles [3.1 km²]. This gives a density of 2.04 people per Housing Unit and 957 Housing Units per square mile [369.8 housing units/km²].

NOTE: Repeating the caution above (under Population Density), be aware that when comparing Housing Units between the 2000 and the 2010 Census, there were changes in the sampling area for Spencer and you need to be careful when comparing results between the censuses. More information about the nature of these the changes can be found in the section called Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Roane County ...

The community of Spencer is located in Roane County and is the County Seat for Roane County.

The county had a population of 14,926 people at the 2010 Census. With it's population of 2,322 people, Spencer represented 15.56% of the county's total.

In addition, where the city of Spencer has a population density of 1,821 people per square mile [703 people/km²], Roane County averages 30.87 people per square mile [11.92 people/km²].

For more information, please visit our Census Page for Roane County.

Population Rings for Spencer ...

To help identify the number of people who live in Spencer and the surrounding area, we have drawn concentric rings centered on Spencer. We counted the number of communities within each ring and summed their populations.<4>

  Radius   No of
  Since 2010    
5 mi   [8 km]12,111-9.09%
15 mi   [24 km]22,276-9.11%
20 mi   [32 km]56,865-3.85%
25 mi   [40 km]711,745-4.07%
30 mi   [48 km]1013,936-4.23%

Census-to-Census Observations ...

Introduction ...

When the Census Bureau takes a census count (or enumeration) for Spencer, they start by specifying the boundaries of the area to be counted. This area (or sampling area) is a polygon and its shape can be quite complex - it may or may not match the geographical boundaries of Spencer. It's important to note that from one Census to the next, the shape and location of the polygon can change. If you need precision or details about the methodology of the Census, you should visit the U.S. Census Bureau for a definitive answer.

Area ...

The sampling area (or polygon) given for the 2010 Census is 5.82% larger than the 2000 Census.

The 2010 Census shows that the total area for Spencer was 1.27 square miles [3.3 km²]. Of this total, 1.26 square miles [3.3 km²] is land, with the balance (1.33%) being water (0.02 square miles [0 km²]).

The 2000 Census shows a total area of 1.2 square miles [3.1 km²]. Of this total, 1.19 square miles [3.1 km²] is land, with the balance (1.53%) being water (0.02 square miles [0.1 km²]).

Location ...

While generally coinciding with the GPS location (latitude/longitude) of Spencer, the latitude and longitude given by the Census Bureau actually indicates the GPS location of the polygon for Spencer.

For the 2010 Census, the location was given as:

Lat:   38.802825°   (or 38°48'10" N)             [Map]

Lon:   -81.353270°   (or -81°21'11" W)

For the 2000 Census, the location given was:

Lat:   38.801690°   (or 38°48'6" N)             [Map]

Lon:   -81.351689°   (or -81°21'6" W)

The difference indicates that the U.S. Census Bureau moved the location of the polygon for the 2010 Census 610 feet to the northwest<5> of the location that was used in the 2000 Census.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN) have assigned a unique GNIS identifier (#2390656) to Spencer. This identifier also marks a GSP point on the map, and that point lies within the boundaries of Spencer. The GNIS point has been mapped to the latitude/longitude:

Lat:   38.802528°   (or 38°48'9" N)             [Map]

Lon:   -81.355061°   (or -81°21'18" W)

The GSP location given for the 2010 Census lies 520 feet to the east<6> of the point given by the GNIS for Spencer. For more information about this and the relationship of the various Federal Codes, please visit our Misc Page for Spencer.

Miscellaneous Information for Spencer ...

The Federal government has assigned various identifying codes to each community, county and state. At one time or another, the US Census Bureau has referenced one (or more) of the following identifiers when referring to either Roane County or the city of Spencer:

The GNIS Codes ...

The current system of identification is called the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS). The following GNIS codes relate to Spencer:

GNIS ID for Spencer: 2390656

GNIS ID for Roane County: 1550050

GNIS ID for West Virginia: 1779805

The FIPS Codes ...

An earlier (and largely obsolete) identification method was called the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS):

State Code: 54 (West Virginia)

County Code: 087 (Roane County)

Place Code: 75820 (Spencer)

State & County Code: 54/087 (West Virginia / Roane County)

State & Place Code: 54/75820 (West Virginia / Spencer)

Misc. Census Codes ...

Spencer is located in Census Region #3 (the South Region) and Division #5 (the South Atlantic Division).

For more information about the various Federal identification codes, please visit our Misc Page for Spencer.

Other Roadside Stops ...

Find a Community in West Virginia

About Roane County

About West Virginia

Off-the-Road Links ...

The official website of the U.S. Census Bureau

The official website for Spencer:

The official website for State of West Virginia:

The official website of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN)

The official website of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

Footnotes ...

<1>Every year, the US Census Bureau creates a population estimate for the preceeding year. Keep in mind that this value is an estimate and not an actual count. The most recent Census estimate is for the year 2017.

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<2>Every 10 years (eg- 1990, 2000, 2010), the US Census Bureau conducts a Constitutionally-mandated count (or enumeration) of people living within the United States. This count is called a Decennial Census. The last Decennial Census was the 2010 Census, with the next one planned for 2020.

- Return to Citation

<3>A Housing Unit is a broad term for those places where people live (whether occupied or temporarily vacant), such as a house, an apartment, a mobile home, or an area that is considered as a separate living quarter. Separate living quarters (consisting of one or more rooms) are considered to be those places where people live, sleep and eat separately from others and that have access to the outside (either directly or by a shared hallway).

- Return to Citation

<4>The communities in our count are those provided by the 2010 Census, so keep in mind that our population rings will only include the people living in those communities. Smaller communities usually don't participate directly in the Census and therefore they won't be included. While our count is a close approximation, it shouldn't be considered as a complete or accurate count.

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<5>The calculated bearing (or angle) to the 2010 Census location is 47 degrees and a distance of 610 feet.

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<6>The calculated bearing (or angle) to the GNIS point is 282 degrees and a distance of 520 feet.

- Return to Citation


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This page was last modified: 13 Nov 2018
By John Hall