2018 Menino Survey of Mayors

On January 22, 2019, the Boston University Initiative on Cities released its fifth annual Menino Survey of Mayors, the only scientifically valid and representative survey of American mayors. The 2018 Menino Survey was built on interviews with 110 mayors from 37 states, and was supported by Citi Community Development and The Rockefeller Foundation.

Initiated in June 2014 and named in honor of the Initiative’s late Co-Founder Mayor Tom Menino, the project was designed to gain insight into the priorities and challenges facing America’s mayors. A team of Boston University researchers—including Political Science faculty Katherine Levine Einstein, David Glick, and Maxwell Palmer, and Initiative on Cities staff Stacy Fox and Katharine Lusk—interviewed mayors one-on-one throughout the summer of 2018.

The 2018 Survey reveals mayoral views on economic development—including corporate recruitment, financial incentives, the sharing economy, and social mobility—as well as public health, housing, and intergovernmental relations.

Findings show that the affordable housing crisis remains top of mind for America’s municipal leaders, with housing costs being the only issue both Democratic and Republican municipal leaders agree serve as a significant barrier to the social mobility of their city’s residents. Likewise, a majority of mayors across the country view affordable housing as an integral part of their city’s infrastructure, and nearly all believe decisions regarding housing should be made at the municipal level, not state or federal.

Mayors are more divided, however, on the role living wage jobs play in social mobility; four in ten Democratic mayors cite the lack of living-wage jobs as the single greatest barrier to social mobility, compared to just one in ten Republican mayors. In fact, more Republicans – nearly two in ten – believe there are no barriers to social mobility in their cities. Mayors are also divided on living wage ordinances at the local level, with six in ten Democratic mayors supporting these policies – and the potential trade-offs. No Republican mayors expressed support.

View the full report:

Menino Survey of Mayors 2018

View the key findings:

Key Findings of the 2018 Menino Survey of Mayors


January 22, 2019 – The Boston GlobeAnnual BU survey of mayors finds affordable housing is top issue

January 22, 2019 – BU TodayEight Big Questions US Mayors Faced in 2018

January 22, 2019 – The Columbus DispatchAffordable housing, living wages top issues in annual survey of mayors

January 22, 2019 – Next CityMayors Believe Tax Incentives Are Overused — By Other Mayors

January 22, 2019 – Route FiftyWhat Democratic and Republican Mayors Agree On

January 22, 2019 – The Washington TimesMajority of nation’s mayors support legalizing pot: Survey

January 24, 2019 – Columbus Business First: From the editor: Survey of U.S. mayors finds affordable housing vexes cities nationwide

January 24, 2019 – The Motley FoolThese 6 Marijuana Polls All Share 1 Thing in Common

January 30, 2019 – New Hampshire Business ReviewAffordable housing a major issue in national survey of mayors

January 31, 2019 – The Boston GlobeHousing hypocrisy is alive and well in South Boston

February 1, 2019 – Wicked Local WalthamFrom the Mayor: The state of Waltham in 2019

February 7, 2019 – CityLabWhy Mayors Keep Trying to Woo Business With Tax Breaks

February 14, 2019 – The Boston Globe: For president: Why not a mayor?

February 14, 2019 – CurbedNew York’s rejection of Amazon could be a turning point for corporate welfare

February 14, 2019 – CityLabNew York’s Ejection of Amazon Is the Start of a Movement

March 20, 2019 – The Hill: We can address the link between fiscal and physical health in cities