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Per capita personal income often is used to evaluate the economic well-being of a state’s residents. Nationally in 2010, inflation-adjusted per capita personal income grew by $780 after dropping more than $1,000 in 2009 and falling $541 in 2008. 

Since 1935, The Book of the States has been the resource for state information for state leaders. Today—perhaps more than ever—access to up-to-date and reliable data and information is a key ingredient to developing successful state strategies and evidence-based solutions to the tough challenges policy leaders face.

Now, policymakers have a new tool: The Book of the States Regional Analysis Series.

Unemployment rates remain high and many people have been without work for extremely long periods of time, exhausting state unemployment trust funds quickly. More than half the states are borrowing from the federal government to cover costs, which could have an impact on future fiscal stability.

State prison populations experienced a slight decline between 2008 and 2009, while the federal population increased 3.4 percent.  However, state prison populations have risen significantly - up by 13 percent - since 2000.  

Nearly every state saw an increase in real gross domestic product1 in 2010—a welcome sign of economic recovery after two straight years of drops in the national average. Each region performed differently, with a few states posting impressive 4-plus percent gains and a majority of states falling between 1.5 and 3.5 percent.

State revenues appear to be rebounding, but generally remain below pre-recession levels. At the start of 2011, state corporate income tax rates1 largely mirrored those assessed in 2007 - three states had raised rates, while five had lowered them. More change may be on the way in the 2012 fiscal year, as debate continues on issues like nexus thresholds and taxation of out-of-state entities.

Chapter 7 of the 2011 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

As state leaders came together to hammer out their 2012 fiscal year budgets, they faced a challenging task: Find a way to close huge budget gaps while facing an increased demand for services like unemployment benefits. Sustained high unemployment rates, long-term unemployment and unsustainable funding models have exhausted state unemployment trust funds, requiring states to borrow large sums from the federal government. As of March 2011, 31 states had borrowed more than $42.5 billion from the federal government to continue paying unemployment benefits, and sizable interest payments on those loans come due in the fall of 2011. Paying back those loans with interest will be a struggle and could have an impact on both economic recovery and future fiscal stability.

The 2010 state legislative elections brought major change to the state partisan landscape with Republicans emerging in the best position they have had in more than 50 years. Voters shifted majority control to the GOP in 20 legislative chambers. By the time the proverbial smoke had cleared in early March of 2011, three more chambers had moved to Republican control due to special elections and party switches by sitting legislators. Republicans emerged with control of 26 state legislatures compared to only 15 held by Democrats, with eight divided between the two parties.

In recent years, the movement of women into state-level offices has slowed following several decades of gains. Following the 2010 elections, the number of women in both state legislative  and statewide elective office declined. Efforts to actively recruit women for elective and appointive positions will be critical in determining what the future holds for women in state government.

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