The long awaited return to normal for the nation’s population growth and migration flows after a long lull that began during the Great Recession has yet to surface. This can be gleaned from a spate of recently released demographic statistics. The continued slowdown has implications for population growth in most states, especially the rapid population gainers of the pre-recession period. The continuing freeze on previously free-flowing migration streams across broad regions of the country suggests a revival will not occur anytime soon.

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The Midwest’s least-populated state continues to grow at the fastest rate in the nation. Between 2012 and 2013 alone, North Dakota’s population increased by more than 3 percent, new U.S. Census Bureau figures show. That is double the growth of nearly every other U.S. state. Over the past two years, Minnesota and South Dakota are the only other Midwestern states where population increased at a rate higher than the United States as a whole. Illinois, Michigan and Ohio continue to have among the slowest growth rates in the nation, and one consequence of that trend is the likely loss of congressional seats and Electoral College votes after the 2020 reapportionment.

According to the United Van Lines' 37th Annual Migration Study, which tracks the company’s customers move to and from during the course of the year, Oregon is the top moving destination of 2013. North and South Carolina take up the next two spots on the list, followed by the District of Columbia and South Dakota. Michigan, which was at or near the top of the outbound list for 16 consecutive years, finally appeared in the "balanced" category for 2013. 

The movement of women into state-level offices has slowed in recent years after several decades of gains, and following the 2012 elections, the numbers of women in both state legislative and executive branch offices increased only slightly. Efforts to actively recruit women for elected and appointed positions will be critical in determining what the future holds for women in state government.
 

Stateline Midwest ~ January 2013

North Dakota’s population is increasing faster than any other state in the nation, recent federal data show, at a time when the Midwest as a whole is lagging behind U.S. growth.

Stateline Midwest ~ November 2012

When the 2012 session of the Kansas Legislature adjourned last May, lawmakers left one important piece of business unfinished. Their inability to come to closure on the politically charged issue of redistricting left Kansas alone among the 50 states without a new set of maps going into this year’s congressional and legislative elections, and eventually forced a panel of federal district court judges to finish the job.

This year’s stalemate may have been unprecedented in the Sunflower State, but Kansas’ redistricting process is unique among Midwestern states in other ways as well. Like all other states, Kansas relies on U.S. Census Bureau data as a starting point in the decennial process of drawing new district lines. 

But the Kansas Constitution requires that the population data provided by the federal government be adjusted before maps are drawn.

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.

Chapter 8 of the 2011 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

While women continue to make gains in terms of their participation in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of state government, more progress is needed before they will reach parity with their male counterparts.

 

The story of the population and economic decline of some of the Midwest’s largest, historically most important cities did not begin in 2000 and will likely not end in 2010.  Nonetheless, data from U.S. Census 2010 are striking in showing the extent of the out-migration from many of this region’s central towns.

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