The objective of this research is to determine the relationship between land use, particularly density, and per capita spending levels in cities across the United States. A model was developed using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Survey of State and Local Government Finances to estimate the impacts of population-weighted density and other factors on per capita municipal spending. This study focused on municipal spending for eight categories that theoretically could be influenced by land use development: fire protection, streets and highways, libraries, parks and recreation, police, sewer, solid waste management, and water. Density was found to be negatively associated with per capita municipal expenditures for the following cost categories: operational costs for fire protection, streets and highways, parks and recreation, sewer, solid waste management, and water; construction costs for streets and highways, parks and recreation, sewer, and water; and land and existing facility costs for police, sewer, and water. Results were insignificant for other cost categories, and a positive relationship was found for police operations costs. In general, results support the conclusion that increased density is associated with reduced per capita municipal spending for several cost categories.
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