Report: Public Health Moves Up in Mayors’ Priorities in 2019

Top issues include economic development, infrastructure and public health while parks and recreation and police department are important areas of focus for mayors in their 2019 state of cities speeches, according to the National League of Cities.


The National League of Cities (NLC) 6th annual State of the Cities report reviews the trending topics of U.S. mayors annual speeches, providing regional lists of top subtopics, top subtopics by population and the following overall list of to the Top 10 issues addressed by mayors in 2019:

The NLC’s Center for City Solutions analyzes more than 150 annual speeches given by mayors from “cities, towns and villages of diverse populations and geographic regions” for its bench marking in the State of the Cities report.

Public Health Advances, While More Than Half of Mayors Address Infrastructure

By looking at what elected officials have been talking about over the last six years, the center is able to track trends in municipal operations and budgetary priorities nationwide.

While infrastructure was the second most-covered topic in mayors’ state of the cities speeches, the “most interesting trend” is that health and human services advanced three spots in this year’s rankings, according to the report authors. The topic moved up from the sixth spot in last year’s NLC State of the Cities list.

Mayors are increasingly focusing on solutions to reduce drug overdose and death,” they wrote.

More than half of mayors (57%) discussed infrastructure at length, 63% of mayors mentioned parks and recreation and 41% discussed energy and the environment, according to Daniel Vock, Governing’s transportation and infrastructure reporter.

The top subtopics for mayors in 2019, broken down by population size are:

Downtown development even overtook police and roads, streets and signs for the number two most-covered subtopic,” according to the report authors.

Learn more about the report and access it on NLC’s website.

Andrea Fox is Editor of and Senior Editor at Lexipol. She is based in Massachusetts.