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
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.