Page last updated at 15:04 GMT, Friday, 25 July 2008 16:04 UK

State profile: New York

New York map
New York City is so huge that it's sometimes easy to forget that there is a whole state attached to it. The city has traditionally been a Democratic fiefdom, while upstate New York and the suburbs have always been Republican enclaves.

In recent years, however, the Democrats have become increasingly dominant throughout the state. They now have a lion's share of the state's House seats and in 2006 took control of the governor's mansion.

Al Gore and John Kerry both won the state comfortably, and it would be surprising if Barack Obama did not do the same.

Population: 19,306,183 (ranked 3 among states)
Governor: Eliot Spitzer (D)
Electoral College votes: 31

In the early days of the Republic, New York City used to be the capital of the United States and even though it no longer holds that position, it can still claim to be the country's leading city. Some residents like to call it the world's capital.

New York is the largest city in the United States, a world finance centre and an engine of cultural innovation. If New York were a country, its economy (estimated at $1133bn) would be the same size as Spain's. One of the keys to its success is the way it has broken rules, bucked convention and adapted to change, including immigration.

House of Representatives:
23 Democrat, 6 Republican
Senate: 2 Democrat

Immigration continues to breathe life into New York's communities and culture. During the 1990s, 1.2 million immigrants arrived in New York City from all over the world.

Today, children of almost 200 nationalities are educated in the city's schools and no one ethnic group now makes up an absolute majority of the city's population. In the last decade, there has been a particular increase in the number of Hispanics living in the city.

New York suffered a shattering blow with the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, but has begun to rebuild and the city spirit has seen it through some tough times.

2004: Bush 40%, Kerry 59%
2000: Bush 35%, Gore 60%
1996: Clinton 60%, Dole 31%
Prior to 9/11, during Mayor Giuliani's time in office, the city had been undergoing something of a renaissance. Under his direction crime and welfare rolls dropped rapidly and quality of life improved.

The terrorist attacks proved to be only a temporary check on the city's progress, and New York's economy continues to grow as crime rates fall. The income gap between the wealthiest families and the poorest families is also growing, however. The top fifth of earners in Manhattan now make around 50 times more than the lowest fifth.

The 50,000 square miles of upstate New York which stretch up to the Canadian border stand in stark contrast to the cosmopolitan buzz of Manhattan.

Population levels outside of New York City have been in decline in recent years and the average age of upstate residents is creeping upwards. If this trend continues, then the Democrats' dominance in New York politics is likely to become ever more pronounced.

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Electoral College votes

Winning post 270
Obama - Democrat
McCain - Republican
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