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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 December, 2003, 18:56 GMT
State profile: New York
New York City is so huge and so iconic that it's sometimes easy to forget that there is a whole state attached to it. Not if you're trying to get elected here, though, because there's a sharp divide to bridge between the Democrat-dominated city and Republican-leaning suburbs and upstate region.

Still, the city does dominate the state and that means New York usually gives its 31 electoral votes (the third largest number behind California and Texas) to the Democratic presidential candidate. Despite this, New York City currently has a Republican mayor and New York state a Republican governor.

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 still can claim to be the country's leading city. Some residents like to call it the world's capital.

Population: 18,976,457 (ranked 3 among states)
Governor: George E Pataki (R)
Electoral College votes: 31
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 it would be the world's ninth largest economy, worth $826.5bn. One of the keys to its success is the way it has broken rules, bucked convention and adapted to change, no more so than in the way it has incorporated newcomers.

But New York's association with immigration is not confined to its history. It is still a major aspect of New York's character and it continues to breathe life into its communities and culture. During the 1990s, 1.2 million immigrants arrived in New York City from all over the world.

House of Representatives:
18 Democrat, 10 Republican, 1 Democrat-Liberal
Senate: 2 Democrat

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 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, but has begun to rebuild and the city spirit has seen it through some tough times.

2000: Bush 35%, Gore 60%
1996: Clinton 60%, Dole 31%
1992: Clinton 50%, Bush 34%, Perot 16%
Prior to 9/11, it had already begun a renaissance, under its abrasive and, latterly, popular former Mayor, Rudy Giuliani. Under his direction crime and welfare rolls dropped rapidly and quality of life improved.

But that happened at a time of prosperity, and economic times now look less rosy. The income gap between the wealthiest families and the poorest families has been greater in New York than any other state.

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

The upstate population is growing at the expense of the city - which had 53% of the population in 1990 and just 41% by 1997 - and it is just possible that presidential politics here will become more competitive.


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