Research & Publications

The National League of Cities strives to strengthen communities, transform and improve cities, and serve as a resource for local elected officials. Our research and publications advance these goals by providing critical data, identifying promising city practices, sharing inspiring and informative stories, and fostering effective solutions and innovation. Through original content such as reports, issue briefs, news articles and blog posts, we explore the issues facing cities today and foster a dialogue that helps city leaders build better communities.

Recent
Nov 15
  • Technology
  • Equity
  • Infrastructure
  • Public Safety
  • Economic Development

As cities embrace a future permeated by technology, local leaders must continually reassert and revisit community values, while ensuring these values are the foundation of new plans, policies, and programs. 

This is particularly true in the areas of infrastructure, public safety and economic development, which are consistently identified as top issues of…

  • Urban Innovation
Nov 13
  • City Government
  • Economic Development
  • Finance

The nation’s smaller cities and towns have a culture, vibrancy and uniqueness all their own.

While innovations such as driverless cars, demand-price parking and data-crunching sensor networks might be pioneered in big urban centers, there is much creativity and dynamic problem solving going on in communities with populations fewer than 50,000 residents—those…

  • Center for City Solutions
Nov 10
  • Pension
  • Retirement
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The state of retirement funding has become an obvious fiscal concern for city governments, especially since the Great Recession.

As pension challenges have become more apparent in recent years, local elected officials have increased expectations to ensure the health and viability of their pension plans. As a result, city leaders must be equipped…

  • Center for City Solutions
Nov 10
Maker
Maker
  • Economic Development
  • Equity

As the maker economy continues to take shape in cities across the country, it is emerging as a potential powerhouse for building strong local economies through creative maker- microbusinesses and small-scale manufacturing.

As this nascent industry of small businesses expands and transforms, city leaders should understand what the maker economy is and how to…

  • Center for City Solutions
Nov 10
MBK Picture
MBK Picture
  • Equity
  • Leadership & Management
  • Community

City leaders are responding to the My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge by tackling the disparities that face our nation’s boys and men of color (BMoC). REAL’s report “The City Leader’s Compass to the My Brother’s Keeper Landscape, highlights a comprehensive set of tangible steps cities can take to change systems and improve outcomes for BMoC.

"I accepted…

  • Race, Equity, and Leadership (REAL)
Jun 09
photo - Youth Employment and Financial Capability: A Municipal Action Guide
photo - Youth Employment and Financial Capability: A Municipal Action Guide
  • Youth & Family
  • Health
  • City Government
  • Equity

City leaders know their cities thrive when their residents are healthy and financially secure. Health insurance coverage, whether through the private market or government-sponsored programs such as Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) offers the opportunity for families to build both good health and economic security. Whether in large cities or small towns, municipal…

  • Institute for Youth, Education, and Families
May 24
State of the Cities 2017
State of the Cities 2017
  • City Government

The State of the City speech is a reflection of the mayor’s priorities as well as the city’s accomplishments, challenges and roadmap for the future.

Watch State of the Cities: The Role of Local Leadership in 2017

National League of Cities’ annual State of the Cities report is a content analysis of mayors’ own words. It identifies top-level issues, such as economic…

  • Center for City Solutions
Mar 10
  • Education
  • City Government

Recognizing the increasing importance of a skilled workforce to economic development, city leaders are playing pivotal new roles in efforts to increase the proportion of residents in their communities who attain postsecondary education degrees or credentials. A wealth of evidence indicates that further education beyond high school boosts employment opportunities and earning power, and a…

  • Institute for Youth, Education, and Families
Mar 10
  • Education
  • City Government

Nationwide, around 40 percent of working age adults hold a postsecondary credential. In the 21st century, these credentials have increasingly become the keys that open doors to family-supporting jobs. Recognizing the economic necessity of building a highly skilled and educated workforce, more city, education, and business leaders are joining a growing national movement to achieve a 60 percent…

  • Institute for Youth, Education, and Families
Mar 10
  • Education
  • City Government
  • Leadership & Management

In order for cities – large and small, urban, suburban and rural – to be globally competitive and attractive to businesses and families alike, more of their residents must pursue and successfully obtain postsecondary degrees and credentials.

A postsecondary credential – whether it is a bachelor’s degree, associate degree, apprenticeship, or certificate – is critical for success in…

  • Institute for Youth, Education, and Families