2021 City COVID Survey: Local Government’s New Normal

In June 2020, overwhelming uncertainty and fear characterized local government decision making. This was the backdrop of our first survey of 300+ local government leaders – The Next Normal Survey. This year, approximately 600 local government officials and staff took our follow up survey, The New Normal Survey: COVID’s Lasting Legacy on Local Government. See the key results, trends, and analysis below!

Profile of New Normal Survey Respondents
599 local government officials and staff shared their perspectives on the lasting impacts of COVID-19 on local government.
COVID-19 Won’t Fundamentally Change the Work of Local Government
While many local governments remain focused on COVID-related priorities, survey responses indicate that the fundamental, day-to-day work of local government will remain unchanged.
COVID-19 Was – and Wasn’t – a Game Changer for Community Engagement
COVID-19 caused the almost overnight adoption of virtual tools for community engagement, but the effectiveness of those technologies is less clear.
COVID-19 Stimulus Only Staunched the Bleeding
Stimulus funding was used to address immediate priorities like payroll, and was used less to address systemic priorities like household support and deferred maintenance backlogs.
COVID-19 Will Impact the Future of Local Government Workforce
Retirements, flexible schedules and work from home suggest that COVID-19 will have a lasting legacy on the makeup of the local government workforce.
COVID-19 May Change Local Government Travel Forever
Survey responses indicate that decreases in local government travel are likely to be permanent, though increased training is expected to continue.
COVID-19 Technology Adoption Will Be Permanent
Local government leaders reported they expect technology use due to COVID-19 to be permanent and expect technology adoption to continue in the future.
COVID-19 Has Increased Expectations of Local Government
Respondents expect that residents will demand quicker response times and more transparency from their local governments as a result of COVID-19.
Local Government's New Normal - PDF Version
A PDF version of the survey results & analysis.
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