In the Year of the Census, Bloomington's Stacie Wiegand Is the Middlest American
04/02/1990 at 01:00 AM EDT
Across America, some 106 million census packets are in the mail. And when the completed forms begin streaming back to the Census Bureau on April 1, Census Day, they will substantiate major changes in the national makeup. We'll learn all kinds of things about ourselves, both interesting and arcane, a veritable flood of statistics on fertility, immigration, income, the homeless, health problems and the number of households with unmarried cohabitants.
What will emerge will be a kind of national portrait. Lots of people say they're just average folks, of course, but who can really prove it? So that's why PEOPLE decided to put a face on the statistics by finding the Average American. Though it has been a decade since the last count, constant updating of data has given the Census Bureau a good idea of what the 1990 figures will show. And part of what they'll tell us is that Stacie Wiegand, 33, may just be one of the most average people around, size 7 shoes and all.
Despite the increasing diversity of the population, the average American remains someone like Stacie: A white working woman around age 32, married, with two kids. Stacie, her husband, Pete, 40, and daughters, Alice, 9, and Emily, 7, live on South-downs Drive in Bloomington, Ind. Their home is in Monroe County, the median population point of the U.S., so-called because the county marks the intersection of two imaginary lines—one horizontal and one vertical—that would each cut the U.S. population in half.
Stacie finished two years of college and married in her early 20s—just like the prototypical woman. Her alarm clock rings between 6 and 7 A.M., the most common waking hour. She wears a size 12 dress—right on average—though at 5'2½", she's short of the 5'4" that is typical. Still, such statistics have a way of flattening her. Says Pete, tongue in cheek: "I thought Stacie was the most wonderful thing on the earth when I married her. Now I know she was just average."