Why Some Local Governments Are More Resilient to the Pandemic Recession

Michael Hotard and Nathan Lee

This report is part of our Partner Reports collection

In our previous report based on a May 2020 survey of U.S. local elected officials, we had found that 91% of local governments expected a decline in revenue, with an average expected annual decline of 21.9%. Are there specific sources of revenue that may be particularly resilient to the pandemic?

It is now well established that local governments have been hit very hard by the pandemic-driven economic crisis. In our previous report based on a May 2020 survey of U.S. local elected officials, we had found that 91% of local governments expected a decline in revenue, with an average expected annual decline of 21.9%.

But it is important to note that this decline in revenue refers to the average local government. Different local governments rely on different revenue streams. So we decided to look back at our survey findings to see whether the source of a local government’s revenue may have affected their predictions. To do so, we merged our survey data with financial data from the 2017 Census of Governments Local Finance Component.

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