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

The census forms about happiness were taken by the residents of Somerville, 

Massachusetts in the spring of 2011. Some of those questions on the survey 

that were being asked are How satisfied are you with your life in general?

Taking everything into account, how satisfied are you with Somerville as a 

place to live?When making decisions, are you more likely to seek advice 

or decide for yourself? In general, how similar are you to other people you 

know?” etc. And a new added question of asking them to rate how happy do 

they feel while taking the survey on a scale of 1 to 10. 

By collecting and analyzing the data of the surveys, the officials of Somerville 

wanted to promote policies that can improve the happiness and the feelings of 

the people more than just focusing on economic growth. As Mayor Joseph A. 

Curtatone said  We need to change our mind-set in how we serve people, cities 

keep careful track of their finances, but a bond rating doesn’t tell us how people 

feel or why they want to raise a family here or relocate a business here. However, 

psychologist and economists were debating over the issues of how to do it and whether 

it is a right thing for the politicians to promote their policies. Some of those 7500 survey 

responses also stated the other concerns other than just municipal concerns. On the other 

hand, Dr. Gilbert stated Social policies are always meant to promote things that promote 

happiness Thus, we can see that there were many concerns regarding to the officials 

happiness promotions. It is a long way for them to compromise on the debates regarding 

the issue.

Officials had thought of many ways of attempting to make people happier. For example, 

they wanted to improve the transit services by building more parks and bike paths and 

creating well-being index, etc. Most of the residents of the city might think that 

conducting the survey is an effective way for the officials to find out what should they 

do in order to improve the happiness of the people because those were the personal 

opinions of the people that are living there. And they would feel that the city did care 

about them. But there would be still some biases about the census. As what Conor 

Brennan once said Of course, any survey like this is going to depend on the mood of 

the person at that moment. If they filled it out in the middle of this last winter, that’s 

probably going to lower the score. Therefore, the feelings of the people during the 

time that the survey was taking may not be representative for the whole time. But those

changes that officials wanted to make might be still good for the city.


[ Revision for 9/12/2013 ]

The article ” How Happy Are You? A Census Wants to Know” is written by John Tierney , which talks about the census forms that is taken by the residents of Somerville,

Massachusetts in the spring of 2011. By collecting and analyzing the data of the surveys, 

the officials of Somerville wants to promote policies that can improve the 

happiness of  the people more than just focusing on economic growth.

However, psychologist and economists are debating over the issue.

Officials think of many ideas of attempting to make people happier.

But there are still some biases about the census. As what Conor Brennan once said Of course, any survey like this is going to depend 

on the mood of the person at that moment. If they filled it out in the middle 

of this last winter, that’s probably going to lower the score.

[ Reflection ]

One of the reasons that I want to revise my summary of the article because it’s too long, which there are three paragraphs before. I put too many details, personal views and quotes in it. Also, another thing that I learned in today’s class discussion about the summary is that I need to mention about the author and the title of the article. And the summary of the article should be written in present tense.


Fen Fang’s View of Happiness

People have different viewpoints about happiness. To me, happiness is the 

thing that I get from doing what I am enjoyable to do, being fulfilled and 

satisfied of what I have. Be thankful and grateful, too. There are lots of 

things can make me happy. Such as attending the meetings at the Kingdom Hall 

of Jehovahs Witnesses, spending the time with family, listening to the music, 

doing what I am able to do of helping others, eating the food that I like……

More and more…Also, having a optimistic attitude while facing difficult 

circumstances and situations is also important.

Have a big smile!

[ Revision for 9/10 ]

People have different viewpoints about happiness. To me, happiness is what I get from doing what I am enjoyable to do, being fulfilled and satisfied of what I have. Be thankful and grateful, too. There are lots of things can make me happy. I feel joyful to attend the meetings at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Attending the meetings allows me to learn more about the Bible. I like to make comments during the discussions of the materials in the meetings and listen to the comments from others. This is one of the ways that we can be encouraged in the meetings and praise Jehovah God……… Spending time with family can make me get to understand more about them. I think my family is not big but not small, which has my parents , my younger sister and I. Family time can really make us to have closer family relationship. I like the metaphor saying that family is a sturdy castle. And it’s very important to have the harmony at home. Listening to music and the nice melodies can be happy too. As many people say that there are some music can really touch our heart. The other things that can make me happy is helping others; eating food that I like; playing badminton…….

More, and many other things…..
Try to always have the optimistic attitude and have a smile on the face…smile1

Hi, this is Fen Fang

Hi, everyone! My name is Fen Fang Huang. I came to America in the summer of 2009. 

I attended Franklin D. Roosevelt High School in Brooklyn. People all have their 

own interests and hobbies. And there are many things that I like to do. Such as 

listening to music, playing badminton, and cooking, etc. Haha, even though I am 

a bad cook. Also, I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I like to go preaching too. 

My current major is Human Services. I am not sure if I will change my major later 

or not. In this summer break, I had a SYEP(Summer Youth Employment Program) job. 

And I worked in a law office.

As a writer, actually I dont know what strengths I have. But I have much to say 

about the weaknesses. For example, it is hard for me to start the writing. Since 

English is my second language, the sentence structure of my writing usually looks 

strange. Sometimes, I dont know how the sentences should be written. And I make 

grammar mistakes very often. So, when you see my mistakes, please correct me. Thanks!

However, I feel even more uncomfortable with speaking English because my speaking is 

even worst. So I actually prefer to write even though my writing is bad. I think we 

all have different styles of writing. One thing that I enjoy about writing is that it 

allows us to express about our own ideas and thoughts. And the things that I dislike 

the most is that the way to start the writing (hard for me to write the introduction) 

and provide the relevant and meaningful details in the body paragraphs. (I always 

need to spend so much time on brainstorming and organizing the ideas)

I expect to learn to be proficient in writing and even speaking in this course. Haha, 

I really need to improve my poor English. 

I also look forward to get to know more about all of you in this semester!! 

Hi! Because I am not comfortable to put my own picture here yet, so I put this cartoon picture on. I think that this girl and me share some physical characteristics:)

Hi! Because I am not comfortable to put my own picture here yet, so I put this cartoon picture on. I think that this girl and me share some physical characteristics:)