Article: How Happy Are You? A Census Wants to Know Summary/ Response: Ivyz Fuentes

The article “How happy are you? A census wants to know” By John Tierney, is basically about Somerville, Massachusetts  officials wanting to track people’s happiness systematically so they can become the first city in the united states to do so. They want to improve the city’s success, economic growth and promote policies that produce more than just material well-being. The people of Somerville got a new question on their census forms that spring, asking them on a scale of one to ten how happy do they feel at the moment. Psychologist  and economist supported the idea of monitoring the citizens happiness but debated on how to do so and whether happiness is the right thing politicians should be promoting.

I personally don’t agree that happiness can be measured and promoted because in my opinion how happy someone feels about certain things can change overnight. For example, on the city’s census form there were questions like “how happy do you feel right now?” and “how satisfied are you with your life in general?” yes i understand where they are coming from with those question but say someone is having a bad day, why wouldn’t they say they aren’t satisfied with life? For the simple fact that that’s how they’re feeling at the moment but tomorrow come and they’re completely satisfied with everything, their life, things that are happening around them ect… Also, I feel that happiness can’t be measured as a whole but individually because different people have different feelings about certain things. What might make me happy and satisfy me might not do so to the next person and that’s where conflicts between individual and community comes in. There can sometimes be conflict or maybe not, depending on what. It also depends on how strong a community is as a whole because it can go smoothly with every individual agreeing with one another or side ways with certain people agreeing with a situation and some not. For example, in Britain and France they also have been analyzing citizens happiness and I’m guessing certain citizens didn’t agree with some decisions because there were violent riots and protest broke out.

In my opinion If the government is measuring happiness and promoting anything it should be to increase happiness. If it isn’t to do so, then they shouldn’t be measuring anyone’s happiness. That’s like everyone in New York taking a survey about how certain things make us feel or how happy certain things make us and the government isn’t doing anything to change that and to make us happier. At the end of the day the government is going to do what they feel, they shouldn’t ask us what makes us happy or how happy are we about something if it’s obvious that a change needs to be made. That’s like raising taxes and asking how do us citizens feel about it. It honestly doesn’t matter how we feel because either way it’ll remain the same.