According to The New York Times’ 2011 article; “How Happy Are You? A Census Want to Know” by Jon Tierney, Somerville, Mass. started to question, “How happy do you feel right now?,” on their census. Citizens are given a scale of one to ten. Ten meaning really happy. The purpose of this is to become United States’ first city to track people’s happiness and to advertise policies that gain happiness. Somerville wish to see the effects on installing bike paths and how opening new parks is happiness.
However I don’t believe that happiness can be measure the way Somerville did. The Census usually don’t come in every day. Everybody feels different every day or even different time of the day. The Article also backed me up by stating the a citizen of Somerville, Coner Brennan , “…any survey like this is going to depend on the mood of the person at that moment.” If I were to fill this census now, I would put a five, but if I would fill the census at a concert wouldn’t I put a ten? Even though I don’t believe in the measuring, I actually don’t mind that question to pop up in every census in the world. This gives the people doing the census to realize how they are feeling. They might do something about it if it was a low number. They might even try to keep up their own happiness if they picked a high number.
I believe that happiness can be promoted, however only to a specific side or group. Fr example, in the article Somerville wanted to promote happiness by installing more bike lanes. Many bikers would be really happy about that, however car drivers might feel that it would produce a lot of traffic and wouldn’t be happy about that at all. In the article, it also mentions that if many low-income people shows a lot of small numbers in the scale of one to ten of ten being the happiest, they might introduce policies of that specific group.
I think many things are important to our well-beings. Which according to Merriam-webster “Well-being” means the state of being happy, healthy or successful. As a New Yorker, the cost of living is high, I really hope the government would lower that cost. It is something that would improve everybody well-beings, not just one side or group. To me myself, doing something that I love is something important to my well-beings. I won’t be happy if I don’t love doing it, like helping others for example. However, there can also be conflict between individual, one group and the community well-beings. One I would be increase the tax for the rich. The community might like the idea but the rich might not.
In Conclusion, measuring citizen’s happiness might not be accurate, but can still help introduce new policies or programs that promote well-beings to the citizens in different groups. I hope to see this question, “How happy do you feel right now?,” to be in every census around the world.