Menino Survey of Mayors 2015

In January of 2016, the Initiative on Cities released its second survey of American Mayors, which has since been dedicated as the annual Menino Survey of Mayors. This year’s Survey contains input from eighty nine mayors from thirty one states and reveals mayors’ specific views on infrastructure, inequality and poverty, public safety and municipal finance, as well as their relationships with constituents and other local actors, other cities and higher levels of government.

Initiated in June 2014 at the bi-annual US Conference of Mayors, the project was designed to gain insight into the current policy priorities, challenges and planned political capital expenditures of sitting mayors, as well as sources of influence and inspiration. A team of Boston University researchers, including Katherine Levine Einstein and David Glick, both Assistant Professors of Political Science, and Katharine Lusk, the Executive Director of the Initiative on Cities, interviewed mayors in person, via phone and through an online survey over the course of two months.

The results are compelling. The Survey sheds light on the hurdles and opportunities facing not just individual elected officials but urbanized America more broadly. It highlights the importance mayors place on the physical, fiscal and social infrastructure of their cities, and the significant influence that federal and state budgets have on mayoral priority-setting.

View the full report via the following link:

Menino Survey of Mayors Final Report 2015

The Menino Survey is also available on OpenBU here.

A key findings document highlighting mayoral reactions to topics such as biking, infrastructure, policing, poverty and inequality, housing, municipal finance and mayoral constraints can be accessed here:

Key Findings of Menino Survey of Mayors 2015

The 2015 Menino Survey of Mayors was made possible by the support of Citi. 

See below for a look at some of the highlights from the Survey, as well as media coverage of the 2015 Menino Survey of Mayors. 

Police Reform

Police Reform


Mayors Love Bikes

Mayoral Approval

Mayoral Approval

Challenges Facing Low-Income Residents

Low Income Challenges




  • June 20, 2016 – Natural Resource Defense Council: Waiting for the Next Infrastructure Failure Is Keeping Our Mayors Up At Night – Mayors know that much of the success of what we call infrastructure is literally keeping the trains running on time, managing drinking water, combating water pollution, and repairing potholes and sidewalks. Mayors have named the No. 1 challenge they share with other government partners as continued underinvestment in infrastructure—as well as naming infrastructure at the top of their own challenge list, according to the Menino Survey of Mayors.
  • June 21, 2016 – Boston Globe: On Range of Issue, Mayors Taking the Initiative The Boston University Initiative on Cities interviewed 89 urban leaders from across the country in 2015. The survey found that mayors “feel that they are tasked with some of the most thorny policy issues facing America without the accompanying aid from higher levels of government that their predecessors might have expected.”
  • March 1, 2016 – Parks & Recreation: Mayors Place Parks High on Their Priority Spending List – The 2015 Menino Survey of Mayors, an annual survey by the Boston University Initiative on Cities, found strong support for parks spending broadly across city size and without significant distinction by party affiliation from the 89 mayors surveyed. 
  • March 24, 2016 – Governing: How America’s Mayors Are Taking the Lead on Income Inequality – U. S. mayors are doing what they can on this challenging issue, but they think it’s a problem Washington and state governments should solve.
  • February 17, 2016 – CitiScope: U.S. Mayors Clash with States Over Local Control – U. S. mayors of cities with 100,000 residents or more gripe about friction with their closest partner: state governments. The tension was among the findings buried in the 2015 Menino Survey of Mayors, conducted by Boston University’s Initiative on Cities. 
  • February 15, 2016 – Santa Barbara Independent: Mayors Agree, Better Biking Makes Better Communities – A new study shows that 70 percent of city mayors support improving bicycling in their cities. These mayors indicated that they would choose greater bike-ability, even if it meant sacrificing parking spaces and car lanes. The study highlights a growing understanding of the important role cycling plays in an effective transportation strategy.
  • January 27, 2016 – Futurity: Here’s What’s on the Wish List of U.S. Mayors – Mayors of cities across the United States are overwhelmingly concerned about aging roads, mass transit, and water and waste treatment systems. They want to make their streets more bike-friendly, even at the expense of motorists. 
  • January 26, 2016 – Next City: U.S. Mayors Name Their Biggest Infrastructure Wish – For the second year running, infrastructure topped the list of mayoral challenges. More than half of mayors responded that underinvestment in infrastructure is the number one state or national issue creating the largest problem for their cities.
  • January 25, 2016 – BU Today: Initiative on Cities 2015 Survey: What US Mayors Want – Funding for aging infrastructure, bike accessibility, police reforms.
  • January 25, 2016 – The Daily Free Press: IOC Released National Survey of Mayors, Welcomed Former Mayor on Campus – The Boston University Initiative on Cities released the 2015 Menino Survey of Mayors during the United States Conference of Mayors 84th Winter Meeting Wednesday. IOC also welcomed to campus the first Mayor in Residence former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean Tuesday.
  • January 21, 2016 – The Boston Globe: At Mayors Conference, the Spirit of Menino – The conference released the “Menino Survey of Mayors” detailing the most pressing needs and policy priorities of mayors across the country. The survey was performed in partnership with The Boston University Initiative on Cities, which Menino co-founded after leaving office in 2014.
  • January 21, 2016 – Cities Today: US Mayors Say Infrastructure is Most Urgent PriorityMayors have identified investing in ageing infrastructure as the most pressing policy priority for cities according to findings released in the 2015 Menino Survey of Mayors.
  • January 21, 2016 – Big-City Mayors Think They Can Mandate Their Way to Affordable Housing60% of mayors in expensive cities favor requiring developers “to include more affordable housing in new projects even if doing so deters some new development.”
  • January 20, 2016 – Color Lines Magazine: American Mayors in Favor of Policing Reforms—With Reservations – A new survey of American mayors found that they overwhelmingly support policing reform, but they have some doubts about how effectively proposed measures can be implemented.
  • January 20, 2016 – Associated Press: In Survey, Mayors Say They Worry About Aging Infrastructure – Mayors across the U.S. say they worry about their cities’ aging infrastructure and they’d like more state and federal support, according to a survey released Wednesday.