Summary of “How Happy Are You? A Census Wants to Know”

In Somerville, Massachusetts, a survey was taken by it’s citizens, where they were asked to rate their happiness on a scale from 1 to 10, being questioned, “How happy do you feel right now? The survey recorded various details of the individuals. According to the article, “Officials want the Boston suburb to become the first city in the United States to systematically track people’s happiness”. In other words, the government is worried about how happy the citizens are, and what they can do to bring happiness to their lives. They no longer want to just promote policies that produce only material well-being.

To detect how happy the Boston citizens are, officials sent out more than 7,500 very detailed surveys. Their happiness was monitored by important and well-known psychologists and economists, who would determine whether happiness is even the right thing for politicians to be promoting. Apparently, people are happy with the way the city has been improving, with now less crimes and better reputation and priorities.

To better prepare its questions, Somerville turned to Harvard psychology professor, Daniel Gilbert, who donated his valued time, is also helping the city do a even more detailed telephone survey, using a randomized sample of Somerville’s 76,000 citizens. The survey that was mailed the with census asks people to rate the nuts-and-bolts aspects of their communities, such as the police, the schools, the availability of affordable housing, as well as the “beauty or physical setting” of Somerville. The city is mainly interested in knowing “how satisfied it’s citizens are with Somerville as a place to live?”

In conslusion, Tara Acker, director of SomerStat, the city’s program to analyze data, wants to know if “there’s a correlation between happiness and open space or green space?”  They’re now aiming to have more programs for the low-income people to increase their happiness and satisfaction in the city. This statement was made from an economic perspective, because not every citizen, low-class to be specific, is happy where they’re located and raising a family, because of the economy. However, they’re now starting to work on that to better it for it’s citizens comfort.

[Revision for 9/12]

The article “How Happy Are You? A Census Wants to Know” by author John Tierney, explains the outcome of a survey taken by the citizens of Somerville, Massachusetts, where they were mainly asked to rate their current happiness on a scale from 1 to 10. In order to get answers back, officials sent out more than 7,500 very detailed surveys, which will help them monitor the citizen’s happiness, whether it was on what mood they were in at the moment or just in general. In other words, the government is worried about how happy the citizens are, and what they can do to bring happiness to their lives. Apparently, people are happy with the way the city has been improving, with now less crimes and better reputation and priorities. Also, with how the economy has gotten better; they now have the availability of affordable housing. The officials and government of Somerville, Massachusetts are working things out to make its citizen’s lives better.

Reflection:

The reason why I made the changes I made is because I learned what summarizing really means. It’s simply giving a brief statement of what the main points are in a story, article, or whatever it is that’s being summarized. Before the changes I made, what I did was paraphrase the article, which was basically putting it in my own words, in a shorter version, sort of. Now it’s shorter and looks more like a summary, not like the essay I had before.

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