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The world's largest cities and their mayors

Mayors fighting the CoronaVirus COVID-19

• World Mayors and politics
Voter turnout - an international comparison

Largest cities in the world and their mayors (2019)
• Largest cities with women mayors (2017)

African American Mayors
Belgian Mayors (2020)
British Mayors (2020)
Canadian Mayors (2021)
French Mayors (2020)
German mayors (2021)
Indian mayors (2021)
Italian mayors (2021)
Japanese mayors (2020)
Polish mayors (2020)
Spanish mayors (2020)
Turkish mayors (2019)
American mayors (2021)

Mayors in Europe
Powers & Politics

European mayors 2019: A plethora of city leadership models exist across Europe, depending on history and political culture, though the challenges facing urban areas are mostly identical. While in France, Spain, Greece and Portugal the mayor is head of the party list on the council, in Luxembourg and the Netherlands mayors are appointed by the central government for a six-year term. In Germany, mayors are directly elected, as are all metro mayors in England. In many European countries mayors enjoy considerable powers and their responsibilities cover a wide array of day-to-day activities as well as longterm projects such as health, education, policing, environment and culture. 2019 EDITION

African American MayorsBlack Americans have become
instrumental in US local government

June 2020: It is thought that America’s first elected black mayors were Pierre Caliste Landry from Donaldsonville in southern Louisiana and Stephen Swails from Kingstree, South Carolina. Both men were elected in 1868, the year the 14th amendment to the US Constitution was adopted. The amendment gave citizenship to all persons born or naturalised in the USA. It took, however, another 100 years for an African American to be elected mayor of a large US city. In 1970, Newark (NJ) and Dayton (OH) both elected Black American Democrats as mayors.

In the last quarter of the 20th century and the first two decades of the 21st, African Americans increasingly became involved in all levels of local government.Today, more than one third of America’s top-100 cities is governed by African Americans, with many mayors being women. Among the best know are Lori Lightfoot (Chicago), London Breed (San Francisco), Keisha Lance Bottoms (Atlanta) and Muriel Bowser (Washington DC).

Polish local government
and mayors of largest cities

June 2020: Since 1999, Poland has been divided into provinces, counties and municipalities. The country has currently 16 provinces, 379 counties, including 65 cities with county status, and 2,479 communes or municipalities. Some 61 per cent of Poland's population of 38.6 million live in cities. The country's capital Warsaw is home to 1.7 million people, while there are four other cities with populations of more than 500,000. Eleven cities have populations of between 200,000 and half a million. 2020 EDITION

Salaries of French mayors
November 2019: No other European country has as many elected local government officials as France. In the 2014 local elections voters across France elected some 580,000 local representatives, including the mayors of Paris, Lyon and Marseille but also mayors and councillors in thousands of small towns and villages. In France, the remuneration of mayors depends on the size of their communities. Mayors of villages with less than 500 people receive a monthly payment of €646, while those of cities between 50,000 and 100,000 inhabitants are paid €4,181 per month. The largest salaries are awarded to the mayors of Paris (€8,650 / month), Marseille (€8,137 / month) and Lyon (€8,227 / month). MORE

Salaries of British mayors
November 2019:
In the UK local politics has long been seen as community service rather than a professional career and this is reflected in the salaries paid to elected mayors. By contrast, senior officials in city administrations are often paid more than double the mayor’s salary. For instance, the Metro Mayor of the Tees Valley receives a modest £37,000 per year, yet the authority’s chief executive takes home a more impressive £139,000, collecting over £100,000 more. While mayoral and councillors’ remuneration is recommended by independent external advisers, councils are free to set their own political pay rates, though most reduce or freeze against the recommended level, mindful of local voters’ reactions. MORE

Salaries of German mayors
December 2017: The salaries awarded to the mayors of Germany’s largest cities are relatively modest compared to the remuneration packages enjoyed by senior management in industry and business. The Mayor of Berlin, who also functions as a state prime minister, has a basic annual salary of some €168,000 (US$198,000), while the mayors of Cologne and Munich earn €143,000 and €147,000 respectively. Mayors of smaller large cities (Grossstädte) such as Ingolstadt, Saarbrücken or Osnabrück receive little more than €100,000 per year. MORE

French local government
and Mayors of largest cities
French mayors 2019: Mainland France consists of 36,569 municipalities (communes) in 22 regions. In addition there are 212 communes in French overseas territories. Council elections are held every six years. The last one was held in March 2014. The first task of a newly constituted council is to elect a mayor, whose term of office is six years. If a mayor is appointed to another post in government, a deputy performs his/her duties. A mayor’s responsibilities include: Civil registration, culture, economy, education, environment, public order, roads, social welfare, urban planning. 2019 EDITION

Local government in England
and mayors of cities and regions

British mayors 2019: In London and several metropolitan areas, England’s cities are led by elected Mayors, while in all but 15 of the 317 local councils in England are run by a Council Leader elected by their fellow councillors. Since 2002 a number have been led by mayors elected directly by local voters. Most of the local authority elected mayors in England have responsibility for all local services, with two district council mayors responsible for only environment, planning and housing. In London and the metro area Combined Authorities, the Mayor is responsible for transport, economic development, skills and spatial planning, as well as other fields as devolved.  All England’s elected mayors are elected on four-year terms by the instant run-off Supplementary Vote. There are no elected mayors in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. 2019 EDITION

German local government
and mayors of largest cities

Government: Germany is a country made up of thousands of towns and cities, all with directly elected mayors. A city (Großstadt) is officially defined as an administration unit with a population greater than 100,000. As of 2013, there are 76 cities in Germany. Only four cities, Berlin, Hamburg, München (Munich) and Köln (Cologne), are Millionenstädte - cities with a population of more than one million. Nine cities have a population of more than 500,000 people. The mayors’ terms of office vary between five and nine years, depending on the state. Each municipal council is headed by an elected mayor, known as Bürgermeister  - or Oberbürgermeister (lord mayor) in most larger cities. 2019 EDITION

Italian local government
and mayors of largest cities

Government: Mayors play a central role in Italian national life and are a settled feature of the political system. The more than 8,000 communes are each headed by a mayor (sindaco) and elected council (consiglio comunale) of between 15 and 80 members. 2019 EDITION

Mayors of largest US cities
Democrats are in control

June 2019: There are 19,429 municipal governments in the United States. Many small towns use the council-manager system (most counties are run this way) and those that don’t, have a weak mayor-council system. Almost all large US cities have strong mayor systems. Following the November 2018 mid-term elections, two thirds of the largest US cities are governed by Democrat mayors. Republican mayors rule in 23 per cent of US cities, while some ten per cent of mayors of large cities describe themselves as independent. 2019 EDITION

Japanese local government
and Mayors of largest cities

November 2018: Japan, the world’s third-largest economy by GDP and 10th largest by population, is a unitary state, governed at national level by a Prime Minister and Cabinet largely chosen from the bi-cameral National Diet. The two-tier local government system in Japan is composed of 47 prefectural governments (roughly akin to a county), each headed by a directly-elected Governor (elected on a four-year term) and 1,719 municipalities, each headed by a directly-elected Mayor (elected likewise). 2019 EDITION

Belgian local government
and mayors of largest cities

Government: In addition to three regions and three cultural communities, Belgium is also divided into 10 provinces and 589 municipalities. The provincial governments are primarily administrative units and are politically weak. A governor appointed by the King presides over each province. Each governor is supported by an elected Provincial Council of 47 to 84 members (depending on the size of the province), which sits only four weeks a year. Municipal governments, on the other hand, are vigorous political entities with significant powers and a history of independence dating from medieval times. 2019 EDITION

The largest cities in the
world and their mayors

November 2017: The mayors of the world’s 25 largest cities are each responsible for more people than most national prime ministers. For example, London, ranked 23rd in the world, has more

residents than nations like Paraguay, Denmark, New Zealand or Ireland, and if Shanghai, globally the largest city, was a country it would rank just below Australia but above Chile, the Netherland or Greece. The combined population of the world’s 19 megacities - cities with more than 10 million inhabitants – is greater than that of Brazil, the world’s fifth largest country. INTRODUCTION ||| TABLES

Japanese mayors receive
upper management salaries

February 2018: Mayors in Japan are typically among the highest earners in their municipal government with a salary that is comparable to that of upper-middle management in a large firm. Topping the table of highest earning mayors is Fumiko Hayashi of Yokohama City who receives an annual salary of ¥19.2 million, while at the other end of the scale Takashi Kawamura of Nagoya receives just over a quarter of this figure with an annual pay packet of ¥5.3 million. MORE

Spanish local government
and mayors of largest cities

July 2019: The governance of the Spanish municipalities belongs to the City Council. It is a collegiate organ that leads the municipal administration.  The City Council is made up of Councillors, elected by popular vote. The number of councillors may vary according to the number of residents, from five to 25. The president of the City Council is the Mayor, who is elected by and from the councillors. 2019 EDITION

Canadian local government
and Mayors of largest cities

February 2019: In Canada cities and towns are considered creatures of provincial and territorial governments, existing by provincial and territorial legislation. Provinces and territories can create, modify, or eliminate a municipality as they see fit such as amalgamations and the creation of regional governments. They also dictate the limits of the powers of municipal governments. Municipalities are broadly categorized as ‘Upper tier’ municipalities and ‘Lower Tier’ municipalities. The prior includes Regional Municipalities, Counties, and Districts lead by a Chair or a Warden. Existing with the upper tier municipalities, the latter includes Cities, Towns, Townships, and Municipalities, which are lead by a Mayor or a Reeve. 2019 EDITION

US local government and
mayors of largest cities

Government: There are 19,429 municipal governments in the United States. Many small towns use the council-manager system (most counties are run this way) and those that don’t, have a weak mayor-council system. Almost all large US cities have strong mayor systems. Towns with populations of 5,000 or less (varies between states) are not allowed to incorporate and are overseen by the county government. Mayors, and the city council, are directly elected. MORE

Belgian local government
and mayors of largest cities

Government: Municipal governments in Belgium are vigorous political entities with significant powers and a history of independence dating from medieval times. Many national politicians originate from municipal political bases; and many often double as mayor or alderman in their hometowns in addition to their federal and regional political positions. MORE

World Mayor 20/21

The best Mayors for Stronger | Fairer | Greener cities. Elect your candidate for the 20/21 World Mayor Prize and Honours. The Prize has been awarded since 2004