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
Sep 07
  • Emergency
  • Leadership & Management

The catastrophic flooding and winds of Hurricane Maria impacted millions of Americans across Puerto Rico. Now, as flood waters begin to recede, the process of recovery begins.

As leaders of their community, municipal officials are faced with the daunting tasks of preparing for and/or rebuilding from these natural disasters. In an effort to support the cities and Americans affected, the…

  • Member Services and Engagement
  • Strategic Partnerships
  • Infrastructure & Sustainability
Aug 01
  • Environment & Sustainability
  • Climate

"The American Climate Values Survey" assesses climate and other values to provide information and insights for people who want to increase the effectiveness of their efforts to build public support for climate solutions. 

Download survey. 

  • Sustainable Cities Institute
Aug 01
  • Environment & Sustainability
  • Climate
  • Communications

Leadership for climate solutions is growing dramatically. Major faith communities, heralded by Pope Francis; leading health organizations, such as the American Public Health Association; Fortune 500 companies, including Procter & Gamble, Google, and General Mills; virtually every college and university in America; and cities and states across the nation are taking action and speaking out…

  • Sustainable Cities Institute
Aug 01
  • Climate
  • Communications
  • Environment & Sustainability

Local governments and the services they provide contribute a small percentage of a community’s climate pollution. Because the majority comes from the private sector (homes, businesses, churches, schools, hospitals, etc.), successful community climate solutions require broad community participation. 

A key step is to ensure that mayors are well equipped to communicate local climate…

  • Sustainable Cities Institute
Jul 26
  • Climate
  • Communications
  • Environment & Sustainability

"15 Steps to Create Effective Climate Communications" from National League of Cities and ecoAmerica outlines the specific flow for creating and delivering successful climate change communications that resonate with your target audience.

Keep in mind that the order in which you present information matters. Research shows that the same set of facts arranged in different ways produces…

  • Sustainable Cities Institute
Dec 21
City buildings
City buildings
  • Financial Empowerment

As a nation, we expect people to work and support their children. All too often, however, parents do exactly what we expect of them only to find they still cannot meet their families’ most basic needs. Today, nearly four million families in America include at least one worker but are still poor. With an average income of just under $19,700, low-income working parents with one child struggle…

  • Institute for Youth, Education, and Families
Dec 21
City park
City park
  • Youth Council

Young people want and deserve a voice in their communities. City officials make decisions that affect youth on a daily basis. Yet young people often have no direct role in shaping or influencing local policies and programs. Even well-intentioned efforts to work for youth – by "protecting" them from perceived threats or by "rescuing" those who already are in jeopardy – can prevent us from…

  • Institute for Youth, Education, and Families
Dec 21
Children playing
Children playing
  • Afterschool

An estimated eight million school children between the ages of five and 14 go home to an empty house on a regular basis. Many of these children are left alone for as many as four hours a day. For cities and towns across America, these unsupervised hours after school ends mean both heightened risks and missed opportunities.

This action kit illustrates the many ways in which…

  • Institute for Youth, Education, and Families
Dec 21
School building
School building
  • Education

The quality of public schools and the long-term prospects of cities – almost every local elected official knows that these two things are closely linked. The connection is based in part on the central role that schools play in building stable communities and shaping residents’ perceptions of the quality of community life. Municipal leaders also understand that a strong public education system…

  • Institute for Youth, Education, and Families
Dec 21
child in park
child in park
  • Early Childhood

City officials are well positioned to spearhead or support community initiatives that help young children succeed. Even in smaller communities, mayors and city councilmembers can play key roles in improving outcomes for young children and their families. Municipal leaders can take action to promote early childhood success by:

Assessing community needs to better understand how young…
  • Institute for Youth, Education, and Families