ICMA identifies concerns of importance to local governments, conducts surveys, undertakes related research, and disseminates results and analysis for the benefit of cities and counties nationwide and around the world. In addition to the research we conduct independently, we welcome partnerships with universities, nonprofit and private-sector organizations, and government entities to conduct surveys, develop reports, and create case studies.

Research Topics

ICMA's research addresses local government practices on topics of perpetual and emerging interest. Among them are sustainability, technology and data (including smart cities), service delivery, and economic and community development.

Survey Research

Through its survey research, ICMA seeks to provide useful data, information, and analysis to local decision makers, based on a network of experts and an extensive database representing all cities, towns, townships, villages, and boroughs with populations of 2,500 or greater and all counties. Our survey data are sought by media and mined by academicians. Learn more about ICMA's survey research.

ICMA publishes aggregate survey results and makes selected datasets available for purchase.

Research Reports and Publications

ICMA's research activities yield a growing body of information and knowledge about local government. Based on our research, we produce case studies, research reports, LGR: Local Government Review, and other products that provide data, thoughtful analysis, and insights into best practices. Explore research reports and publications.

Research Collaborations

As noted, ICMA welcomes partnerships to develop surveys, reports, and case studies that highlight successful local government practices and strategies that can serve as roadmaps for others. Partners include subject-matter experts and organizations whose research interests intersect with those of ICMA. Examples include:

  • Arizona State University
  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Cornell University
  • Esri
  • Institute for Building Technology and Safety
  • Michigan State University
  • Microsoft
  • Smart Cities Council
  • SAS
  • University of Maryland Baltimore County
  • U.S. Department of Energy
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Products of research collaborations are listed here on the Research Reports and Publications page. To explore potential research partnerships, contact Tad McGalliard (tmcgalliard@icma.org).

Resident and Employee Surveys

ICMA partners with National Research Center, Inc. (NRC), as our preferred provider for resident and employee surveys. NRC offers the National Citizen Survey, a cost-effective citizen survey service for local governments, the National Employee Survey, a comprehensive survey of employees that covers 10 dimensions of the employee experience, and the Community Assessment Survey for Older Adults, a unique scientific survey of older adults’ perceptions about their communities and future needs.

Visit the NRC Website