A newly released survey
of the mayors of the nation’s major cities has concluded that housing is the main reason why residents move away to other localities.
The Menino Survey of Mayors, conducted by the Boston University Initiative on Cities, sought the input of the mayors in 467 cities with a population of at least 75,000. The report fielded responses from 115 mayors, with Democrats as 65 percent of the respondents and Republicans as 22 percent; 40 percent of the respondents represented West Coast cities.
According to mayors, housing costs were the main reason for people moving out of their cities, followed by jobs and schools. Thirty-five percent of the mayors said that zoning and development issues had the biggest impact on voters’ approval ratings. But only 13 percent said the housing stock fit “very well” or “extremely well,” with inventory shortages being most dramatic in the western cities.
The most commonly cited obstacles to improving housing access included a lack of government funding for affordable housing options, the challenges that residents endured in obtaining bank financing or a lease, and the costs of upgrading existing housing stock.
“Mayors, perhaps now more than ever, are being called to serve as agents of both local and global change,” the report stated. “They have a greater role in forming and promulgating important social and economic policies than at any other time in modern American history. The job of mayor is not for the faint of heart.”