About us

Published on Feb 18, 2020

AWC releases 2020 State of the Cities research report: Increased responsibilities with fewer resources

Contact: Emma Shepard

OLYMPIA – Cities are facing increased responsibilities with fewer resources. That’s one key finding of a report recently released by the Association of Washington Cities (AWC).

The report was unveiled in January and distributed to city leaders and legislators during the association’s City Action Days that took place January 28 and 29 in Olympia. Using data, research, and trends, the 2020 State of the Cities report examines the conditions in Washington’s 281 cities.

The report found that cities bring significant value to the state and its residents. People who live and work in cities drive the state’s economy and send revenue to the state’s coffers. As owners of much of the state’s critical infrastructure, cities are essential to getting goods to market. And cities are the governments closest to the people, representing 65% of the state’s population.

“This report makes clear that when the state invests in cities, every Washingtonian and all levels of government benefit,” said AWC CEO Peter King. “Cities drive our state’s economic health and are where the majority of our citizens call home and go to work every day. When the state invests in cities, everyone wins.”

But cities face increased responsibilities and are struggling to meet their most basic needs, like aging infrastructure and public safety. New and emerging challenges are cropping up in cities across the state, such as affordable housing shortages, increased homelessness, the behavioral health crisis, and others.

The report explores the benefits that cities bring to the state, introduces the challenges facing many cities, and proposes a handful of ideas that the state can use to best support cities. This includes increased revenue options, increased investment in transportation and other basic infrastructure, and a stronger partnership with the state on affordable housing and behavioral health response.

The 2020 State of the Cities revisits a project first conducted by AWC in 2005. Fifteen years later, the new report reflects the current fiscal conditions, costs, and emerging service challenges in our cities and towns. 142 cities contributed to the report by responding to a survey on major issues and challenges facing cities.

The report’s chapters cover city budgets, public safety, human resources, infrastructure, transportation, affordable housing & homelessness, and economic development.


Media contact:
Emma Shepard
Communications Coordinator
Association of Washington Cities
(360) 753-4137

  • Media releases
Copyright © 2018-2020 Association of Washington Cities