ICMA / Priorities / Survey Research / Survey Research Overview

Survey Research Overview

ICMA has been conducting surveys on topics significant to local governments for decades.  The data collected are used to provide valuable information for local decision makers.  

ICMA typically surveys several thousand local governments and makes the aggregate survey results available online.  ICMA surveys local governments regardless of whether an ICMA member represents the government organization.  The data collected through these surveys are summarized, analyzed, and published in articles in Local Government Review (LGR) and other publications.

Datasets available for sale can be found in ICMA's online bookstore.

ICMA’s database of local governments includes approximately 8,000 U.S. municipalities with populations of 2,500 or greater as well as all U.S. counties.  The database includes population figures from the U.S. Census Bureau and identification codes that enable ICMA survey results to be combined with available federal data for more robust analysis.  

Summary results of ICMA surveys are available here.

Quality matters! ICMA’s surveys of local governments:

  • Cover topics of importance to local governments,
  • Identify trends in programs and practices,
  • Typically have a response rate of more than 20%, with thousands of responses,
  • Are developed with input from content experts and practitioners,
  • Are reviewed for internal consistency and logic,
  • Are pretested among local government officials.

Recently completed surveys include:

ICMA's 2017 survey research topics are available here.

ICMA has collaborated with and administered surveys for various academic institutions, federal agencies, and foundations.  If you are interested in partnering with ICMA for survey development and administration, please contact Jelani Newton, Director of Survey Research, at jnewton@icma.org.

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