Mayors, in 2016, are focusing most on economic development, public safety, budgets, infrastructure and housing as broad strategies to advance their cities. The prominence of these top-line issues, or those receiving what we call "significant coverage" within mayors' speeches, has been consistent in the three years since we started the analysis. Economic development has been the most widespread issue addressed by mayors in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Infrastructure, public safety and budgets have remained in the top five, and education and housing have vied for a spot in the top rankings over the past few years.
In the words of our nation's mayors, the state of cities is "strong again," "thriving," "dynamic," "poised," and "full of momentum and pride." These sentiments conjure up a common theme: cities are resilient. Mayors caution, however, that the promise of cities will be stifled if challenges such as lack of access to jobs, water contamination, discrimination and gun violence are not addressed.