A new report, Mayoral Views on Racism and Discrimination, explores how mayors of medium-sized and large cities understand race, discrimination and equity in their communities and on a national level.

Co-written by the National League of Cities (NLC) and the Boston University Initiative on Cities (IOC) and supported by The Rockefeller Foundation, the report cites three key findings:

  • Mayors believe that the four groups most discriminated against in their cities and across the country are immigrants, transgender individuals, black people and Muslims. In relation to these group and others, mayors perceive far more discrimination in the country as a whole than in their own communities.
  • Mayors believe that access to public services is significantly better for white people than for people of color, except for subsidized housing. More than half of all mayors report that white people have better access to jobs, educational opportunities, housing and healthcare, and are treated better by police and the courts.
  • While mayors see disparities in access to services, they overwhelmingly believe that the quality of services is largely equal across different groups of people, except for educational services, which they think is worse for people of color.

The report also highlights several successful initiatives that cities, including Anaheim, Boston, Louisville and New Orleans, have undertaken in combatting discrimination. The analyses included in the report are based on the 2017 Menino Survey of Mayors, a nationally representative survey of American mayors, supported by Citi Community Development and The Rockefeller Foundation. During the summer of 2017, 115 mayors from 39 states were interviewed on a wide range of questions related to city leadership. Some of these questions were about racism and discrimination in their cities and on a national level, as well as access to and the quality of services for people of color as compared to white people.