ICMA / Priorities / Survey Research / Survey Research Overview

Survey Research Overview

ICMA has been conducting surveys on topics significant to local governments for many years. ICMA’s database of local governments includes approximately 8,000 municipalities with populations of 2,500 or greater and all counties. The database includes Census population figures and identifiers that enable merging ICMA survey results with federal data. ICMA typically surveys several thousand local governments and makes the aggregate survey results available on the Web site. ICMA surveys local governments regardless of whether an ICMA member works for the local government.

  • Longitudinal data are available on service delivery; economic development; e-government/technology; police and fire personnel and expenditures; and city and county form of government.
  • Researchers, academics, and practitioners have used ICMA’s survey results to plan new programs, evaluate current practices, and compare local governments.

ICMA identifies concerns of immediate importance to local governments and conducts surveys that will provide useful information for local decision makers. Survey results are online and available for purchase in ICMA's Bookstore. The data are also analyzed and published in articles in The Municipal Year Book and other publications also available in ICMA's Bookstore.

Summary results of ICMA surveys are available here.

ICMA has collaborated with and administered surveys for numerous academic and federal government partners as well as for foundations. If you are interested in partnering with ICMA for survey development and administration, please contact Evelina Moulder, Director of Survey Research, at emoulder@icma.org

Quality matters!

ICMA’s surveys of local governments:

  • Cover topics of importance to local governments.
  • Are developed using content experts and practitioners.
  • Are pretested among local governments.
  • Are reviewed for internal consistency of responses; logic checks are applied.
  • Identify trends in programs and practices.

Results matter!

  • ICMA surveys typically have a response rate of close to 30 percent, with several thousand responses.
  • ICMA survey results are published in books and reports.
  • Raw data are available in the ICMA Bookstore for purchase in electronic form, enabling users to design their own queries. and reports.