Census on towns happiness

After reading this article “How Happy Are You? A census wants to know” I realized one thing, it is extremely difficult to capture exactly what someone’s happiness is as a whole. Officials in Somerville, Massachusetts wanted to find out a little bit more about their peoples well being so they created and sent out a census. after receiving answers back from more than 7,500 people they realized that everyone’s happiness are different. One question that was asked was “how satisfied are you with your life in general?” and one man’s response was ‘I would like to be three inches taller and speak Quechua fluently.” Peoples happiness can stem from many things. One man’s response really stated a true fact and he said that a survey such as this all has to deal with the person and the mood that their in. The officials then realized that most peoples happiness depends the situation in which they are in. So after this census they came to a realization that in order to improve happiness u have to improve the peoples areas of interests and surroundings.

A Census Article about “How Happy Are You” And the State of Your Well-being.

The article “How Happy Are You” A Census Wants to Know” by John Tierney is about a Boston suburb, Somerville, Mass. Officials are asking the people of Somerville about their happiness and what they should do to make them feel more happy. They added questions on to their census such as “How satisfied are you with your life in general?” and “Taking everything in account, how satisfied are you with Somerville as a place to live?” These questions added to the census were expected to get back specific answers. In my opinion i do not agree that happiness can be measured. In the article there were also some concerns on whether or not politicians should be promoting happiness or not.

I believe that the officials are making it seems as though one can measure there happiness by how much “green” one has. I do not agree that people could measure there happiness because, they are being blinded by material or environmental things such as “physical settings”. One can have a moment of tranquility and peace when looking at the  physical settings they want to be around, but happiness in my opinion is deeper than that. What happens when you turn around from this “physical setting” and your surroundings, when you wake up at 3 am and you’re laying in bed; Are you happy? So i do not think it should be measured by governments because the government can only do so much, and they can’t measure every single persons complete happiness. That is why i believe happiness is deeper than having “more parks or highways” in ones city. Other than being measured people tend to “promote” happiness. The government tries to promote happiness by giving the people what they want. But even in a world with everything the people want, true happiness is  ones choice.

Things that are important for my well-being would be food on the table, a roof above my head, principles, education, communication, and feeling safe and comfortable. I believe sanitary, hospitals, police and fire departments are important for the well-being of a community. While this is all true well-being and happiness are slightly different. Things that make you feel comfortable and healthy, like food and government agency’s, are all part of ones well-being. And having all of this would make you feel happy at the moment, but true happiness comes from within. Nevertheless Conflicts between individuals and community well-being exist and i believe its normal because people have different opinions and ideas regarding a community well being.

The article “How Happy Are You? A Census Wants to know ” by John Tierney is about how a suburb in Boston , Somerville, Mass. Is trying to track people’s happiness. And they are doing so by adding a couple of question on to their census , including “How satisfied are you with your life in general ? , In general how similar are you to other people you know ?” These questions are somewhat basic but are intended to get some specific answers. Well at least a good feel for what residents of this towns, happiness rate is. This information is meant to benefit the people, officials will take it and see if they can create relationships between the level of happiness and the environment. How much green space there is what can be added what can be taken out?
I don’t believe happiness can be measured , a scale can’t be set so that everyone can be divided into categories. There are levels to it. People can be happy but , their definitions of happy aren’t the same, so they won’t give off the same measure. Everyone has their own individual measure or scale of happiness. Different factors affect everybody . I believe that many people believe happiness can be promoted but in reality that isn’t true. We see commercials on t.v all the time that offer products and behind them are smiling faces, seeming to be content. But happiness is whatever you let it be, it cannot be promoted or advertised. What officials are trying to do in this town is a good idea, but its just a theory that they can measure happiness and control factors to raise it. Government tries to do so much already when it comes to peoples lifestyles, letting them think they can control your happiness is just not realistic. They shouldn’t try to change anything , promote it or measure it.
For my well-being, I believe feeling safe is so important, feeling comfortable, being able to move freely, communication, trust, honesty. As a community I believe it is important to be clean to pick up your garbage, keep the environment healthy. People in your community being healthy having doctors and hospitals as resources. To get along with people, have communication with people around you. Working together. There definitely could be conflicts between the well-being of an individual and the well-being of a community .But I believe there can be a middle ground where you can work around things.

Response to article

After reading the article, “How Happy Are You? A Census Wants to Know” got me thinking as to what truly makes someone happy. I believe everyone views happiness in a different way. They believe if they have a certain life or have certain things they will be happy. I do believe people may see things and believe if they have it they too will be happy but it doesn’t always work that way. A lot of other factors can contribute to someones level or scale of happiness. If they may be in a tough spot with money or their job they may not feel as happy, but if everything is going well for a person their level of happiness will be much higher than someone who is going through bad times. But then again there are some people who have everything and are not happy and only give the illusion of happiness. i truly people everyone has different things that make them happy, we may have similarities of what can make one happy but everyone is different. Living in todays society you have to find your own happiness, I do believe everyone has a chance at it if they believe they do.

In this article from The New York Times , How Happy Are You? A Census Wants to Know by John Tierney the government of Somerville Massachusetts is putting a number on its citizens happiness. As the yearly census go out a few questions on their environment and life style have also been attached. The government of Somerville what’s to know on a scale from 1-10 how happy are you right now ? They feel the need to know how their 76,000 residents lives are affected by policies that can be changed to make their lives happier.

Although some residents think this is a good idea and even feel flattered by the city’s attention, I don’t believe that happiness should be measured and promoted by the government. But it is, throughout our daily lives we are constantly being told how to be happy and all the material things you need in order to do so. Although this experiment is meant to improve living conditions not everyone takes it serious and the results may be affected by the people who are unhappy by petty materialistic factors such as their looks and superficial needs. Things such as efforts by the city to improve should be taken into account and an overall services.

In regards to the communities well being I believe we need to focus on the public school systems, mass transit and health issues. Although Somerville seems like the “..perfect test tube for such an experiment” a more ideal place for such an experiment should be a larger city with a variety of incomes and needs. Although not everyone may agree on one specific solution or policy to community issues it is worth a try.

Summary/Response to “How Happy Are You? A Census Wants To Know?”

I believe happiness can be measured and promoted to a certain point, obviously you can’t just make a person happy by saying a certain thing to them or by asking a question. Everyone has their own opinion to what happiness means and what to do to make themselves happy. People will be happy if they see change in their community, the government knows what goes on and what people are going through everyday. If they really wanted people to be happy they would just act on it not ask a question on a census. A lot of people don’t even read all the questions through they just skip around or put whatever to get it over with.

Another thing is that honestly only you can make yourself happy because you have your own definition to it and you can change things to better yourself and your life and what you do. The government can only do so much to help a person be happy.


How Happy Are You? A Census Wants to Know

The article “How Happy Are You? A Census Wants to Know” by John Tierney researches Somerville Massachusetts. This research is premised on a Census report taken April 30, 2011 where they rated the population’s overall happiness on a scale of 1-10. The results would by and large dictate the social policies of Somerville. The Census is also backed up with a detailed telephone survey from a randomized sample of Somerville’s 76,000 residents.

In my opinion, granted, number don’t lie, however the flipside is that these “Social Policies”, and the implementation of them doesn’t necessarily result in a person’s happiness. Change is imminent of course, but I’m talking holistic happiness.

For example, the question “how could it be a bad idea to measure directly the very thing you are trying to maximize?” To me that’s an extremism concept. It appears that going from 0-100 is the ONLY order of the day it seems, and that’s just not realistic. There’s no maximum without a minimum, no good without bad, no day without night. The key is balance. The pursuit of happiness, I get that, however the adage “Progress not Perfection” should be prevalent in this case. That should be the only order of the day. For that’s attainable and practical. It’s also easier on the psyche.

Social Policies, according to the article, “Are always meant to promote things that promote happiness”. Where I’m from, social policies create chaos. My neighborhood becomes a “Police State”. I’m not totally personalizing, however sometimes it can’t be helped. True happiness comes from within not without.

Parks, bike paths, etc., it all sounds good and may actually be good, but none of that is from within. I believe that true happiness derives from the simple things in life in my opinion. Work, health, great home, great kids. I am happy. The key is to make time for you: a nice brisk 5 mile run, a relaxing bath (Calgon Take Me Away), meditation, solitude.

Being cognizant of your acts and deeds in relation to how it affects yourself and others because it always, most certainly will.



How Happy Are You ? (Summary & Response)

In the New York Times article that was published in 2011 named “How Happy Are You? A Census Wants To Know” By John Tierney. It speaks about how he asked a question on on a scale to 1-10 how happy they are currently in their lives. Mostly alot of people gave different types of answers when they saw the survey. In Somerville it is a place that is both between 2 universities which means that the answers may also vary. For example in the article it states that “He gave himself a 6 because he wishes to be 3 inches taller and speak Quechua fluently”.Technically he just want to expand his language and be taller. Also in this article you notice that most people in this are asked how happy they are and mostly the answer is because of where they live. People were also told to rate the police and the schools and the amount of affordable housing that is in the area of Somerville. All people have different opinions on those type of subjects. Some people answered differently based off the mod they were in. For example if somebody was asked in the middle of winter “Do you like living in Somerville” and it was very snowy that day. You may get a different opinion  when it’s sunny in the summertime from that same person.

I believe that this experiment is actually A good idea. Not only because some people may have lived in the area more than others but also it shows that some people may think different about how happy they are not on materialistic things like there houses or even the area they live in but more so of how their lives are lived on a daily. Some people think of happiness to be materialistic things but honestly what happens when those materials are gone? Your happiness just vanishes ? I really believe that happiness doesn’t entirely have to do where you live at but just how to react to where you live. But also in this article I noticed that some of the questions they asked were rather personal which shows the people were looking for the personality of the people that are living in the area. Overall still I think it was a good idea for the survey people about how happy they are. But however I think it should’ve been about if they are happy LIVING in Somerville rather than just being overall “happy”.

Summary/ Analysis of the article “How Happy Are You? A Census Wants to Know” by John Tierney

The article “How Happy Are You? A Census Wants to Know” by John Tierney, reveals how a small town called Somerville is providing a slight different content in the new census. The census sent to the citizens in Somerville was altered with a new question ” On a scale of 1 to 10 how happy do you feel right now?” The census was altered due to the advocacy by psychologists and economists, however “… without debate over how to do it and whether happiness is even the right thing for politicians to be promoting.”(Pg1) I think happiness can be promoted and it is promoted in many ways. Social media is used as a tool of promotion about happiness because it makes you believe that you need certain things in order to be happy such as; having the latest and most expensive car, money, good looks, and so on. The government already influences the happiness of the citizens by making decisions that will affect the community by lowering or raising taxes, therefore it is already promoting happiness to society.

The census has turned out to have various reactions from the citizens of Somerville. The author mentions that “… one man gave himself only a 6…” explaining that he is not satisfied with his height and that he wishes he could know Quechua fluently. Meanwhile, other residents “… felt flattered by the city’s attention.” I think everyone has a different meaning of happiness; therefore it would be very complicated for the government to be able to measure it. It depends a lot on the people if it could be measured, just like Connor Brennan said “ Of course, any survey like this is going to depend on the mood of the person at that moment.” (Pg2) However, if it is necessary to have a measurement of happiness in order to improve the community then by all means they should come up with an efficient method to do so. There are methods that could be similarly used such as the one Jetpac startup uses which is analyzing pictures of instagram to determine how happy the community is (click here for the article). Hence, if the government would measure the happiness of communities then it will have to think about all of the resources that it needs in order to do well. It’s just a matter of observing what the community is interested in, just like in Somerville where they are trying to improve the parks and bike paths. Resources such as efficient healthcare, education, and protection systems are important as well for the well-being of the community.

However, it can never be accurate to make every single person happy because as I mentioned earlier, everyone has different meanings of happiness and it would cause more conflict to satisfy all of them. For my well being I would say that as long as I can help my family and other people either economic or emotional wise, it fulfills my meaning of happiness. I also think that even though we all have a different meaning of happiness, we all share at least some general ideas of it such as being economically and socially stable. Therefore happiness could be measured if it’s for the purpose of improving the community, and it can be promoted but it doesn’t mean everyone will agree with it.

My response to ” How Happy are You ? ” article

After reading the article I gotta say adding just a few questions about happiness to a census is not a bad idea. Just like Dr. Gilbert said , “It costs nothing to add some questions about happiness “. So why not do it ! Not only would it benefit the people in Somerville , for example a person would already feel happy knowing their government is interested in knowing wether they are happy with conditions and policies in their town , but it would benefit the government to have a better understanding and knowledge on what should be improved . Now in days people just don’t care about things like voting and participating on political events or even trying to at least find out whats going on in the world they live in. In my opinion adding happiness to the census would bring more citizens to actually fill out a census and really pay attention on filling it out and not just breeze through it just to get it over with. Everyone deserves to be happy where they live and changing the census give people that opportunity and gives them a voice as well.