Indicators of Financial Condition: A Comparison of the City of Chicago to 12 Other U.S. Cities from FY2009 through FY2013

October 07, 2015

This report uses nine indicators of financial condition to measure the relative financial performance of Chicago and 12 other major U.S. cities from FY2009 to FY2013, which marked the end of the Great Recession and beginning of recovery for most cities. The financial trends for Chicago, New York and Detroit were consistently less favorable on average than the other 10 cities during this time period. These indicators suggest that Chicago needs to better align its revenue or spending structure with the demands of both current service needs and long-term debt obligations.

Financial trends for a majority of the cities deteriorated over the five-year period, most likely due to the recession and its aftermath. Chicago, New York and Detroit experienced the least favorable financial trends as measured by the selected indicators between FY2009 and FY2013. This does not mean that the higher ranked cities had better overall financial condition in any of the years studied. It means that they experienced more favorable trends during the five-year period in four areas of financial solvency.

The indicators in this report reflect four dimensions of governmental solvency: cash solvency, budgetary solvency, long-run solvency and service-level solvency. The press release for this report includes a brief summary of Chicago’s relative performance in these four areas.

Click here to read the press release for this analysis.