Rust Belt states losing people, political clout

Associated Press - December 22, 2010 4:24 PM ET

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - After years of losing residents to more prosperous states, the nation's Rust Belt is confronting another blow to its economic prospects: losing some of its votes in Congress.

The latest census figures show that states from Massachusetts to Missouri have been overtaken in population growth by the South and West, so they will have to make do with smaller delegations in Washington. That means having less political clout to attract government money and jobs.

Analysts say the changes will raise pressure on elected leaders to work together more closely and to redouble efforts to strengthen and diversify their state economies.

Growth across the region was anemic - 3% in the Northeast and 4% in the Midwest. Population in the South and West shot up nearly four times more.

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