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.


Dominique Brunson Response to” How happy are you? A cesus wants to know” by John Tierney

The article, “How happy are? A census wants to know” by John Tierney is about a city named Somerville. The government wanted to try something new this year for the census. Somerville received a new question, On a scale from 1-10, how happy are you?. The government asked this question so they can measure one’s happiness. Psychologists and economists feel that to measure one’s happiness it should be monitored a different way reporting your feelings on a questionnaire isn’t as accurate it goes by the mood the person’s in at that point in time. Everyone has different preferences and perspectives when it comes to happiness, what make them happy and what satisfies them. Happiness has a lot to do with satisfaction whether in a community or individually. The government’s trying to figure out how happy people are so they can try and attempt to improve it, ” should we build more parks or highways? Should workers get longer coffee breaks or more vacation days?”.

More than 7,500 people responded and mailed back the survey without efficient answer’s whose to say the people of Somerville put in enough effort to take the survey serious. Happiness cannot truly be measured. A small thing such a height can effect one’s happiness, In response to the question, ” How satisfied are you with your life in general?”, One man gave himself only a 6 explaining ” I would like to be three inches taller and speak Quechua fluently”. Everyone have different meanings of it what may make one person happy may not make the next person happy,

Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone wants to change the Somerville community for the better a  whole ,” Somerville is a great test tube for such a experiment”. Changing the community around making it a better environment overall to live can effect the people’s response’s to the survey and their happiness to a certain extent. Curtatone wants to be more involved in the community worried about the communities well- being as well as individuals. If you satisfy what people may want they’ll only be satisfied but for so long you have to find out what the people may need as a community ( fulfillment).

Trying to improve the community and be involved reassures the people of Somerville that thing can change. The things that are important in well-being would be love, happiness, satisfaction, family, & success .Everyone individually should live their lives to the fullest and focus on what make the happy as a person first before it can be on a community level. The survey is a great start in improving the community and promoting happiness.

How Happy Are You ? A Census Wants to know . Summary/Response. : Katiria Altruz

The article “How happy Are You ? A Census Want to know by John Tierney is about a city named smoverville. It’s a city where they had to fill out a census form so the government can know how happy they are .So this census was based on the question “How happy do you feel right now ?” which the people from somerville had to answered from a scale to 1 to 10.The government want Somerville to be the first city in the U.s to keep records of people’s happiness.Beside promoting things that only can they sell , they want to promote happiness for everyone .But some don’t think that happiness should not be promoted by the politicians like the psychologist and economists because happiness can be right but its not the same as writing it or saying it on a questionnaire.Since more than 7,500 people have mailed back the survey , some of them did not clearly answered the questions on municipal concerns.Most people aren’t satisfied even if the questionnaire  was supposed to help but it didn’t they still trying to find a way to make people happy.

Everyone has something that make them happy so no one knows what truly make someone happy because it can change any moment or anytime.Happiness cannot be measured because they cant go by what the people fell that they want , instead they should see in what they need .Not everyone the same so of course there are going to be people who won’t give their opinion  because everyone thinks differently or do things for themselves .The survey shouldn’t be based on a person mood at the moment because the information that they had might get lower and might not help the people be happy at all .The kind of things that would be important in a well-being is happiness , life satisfaction ,fulfillment , families , and the role of parenting.Its unmeasurable because those things people do for a living and its things that matter most to them.some people don’t want to be part of the community  because they want to do things on their own and work hard for the things that they need and want.Being in a community is a big thing you have to help others and be a part of them.

Happiness cant be promoted because everyone has a different ways of being happy. Happiness cannot be measured because only the person can decided what make them happy and no one else.The government shouldn’t be promoting or measuring happiness because they wouldn’t know what people would want or feel because it takes a lot of effort and time .Happiness cannot be brought or maintain because its like the weather it comes and go . It very unexpected .For others happiness is just having the company of others like family or friends or playing your favorite video game .The kind of things important for your well being is having good company , love from the one who are close to you , good mental state , having a balance diet and living stress free.

Lilisbeth Castillo Response to “How Happy Are You? A Census Wants to Know by John Tierney

In this 2011 article it states how things can hopefully change people’s happiness such as having parks or bike paths or even mass transit but this isn’t always to people’s satisfaction. For example if the metro card fare stays $2.50 people will be happy with that but if the fare goes up to $3.25 no one will be happy about that. I don’t agree that happiness can be measured or promoted because every time something is wrong or people don’t like an idea than the government will have to change it to make people happy. If this is the case than they will always have to change or bring new ideas to satisfy people’s happiness. One thing I don’t agree with the article is how this is a good idea because policies can be changed to make people happier but what if it isn’t such a good policy and the government doesn’t agree with than people won’t be happy.

I don’t agree too much that happiness should be measured or promoted by the government because people are always changing there minds on things. People want things the easy way sometimes and things that will make them real happy. Unless the survey focuses only on specific things that can really make people happy and they don’t change that than maybe people can actually be happy about things for sometime.

Things that can be important to people’s well being can be having opportunities as a child to make things right. Having a place that you feel comfortable to talk about things. Having many options to join something that you might become good at. For the well being of the community I feel that resources and services are always good because people have many places to go to when they have many resources around them such as post offices, supermarkets, school etc. If there are many services to in a community you have help available for you always.

There can possibly be conflict between individual and community well-being because an individual might want something that the community feels is not worth it. Also the community might not listen to just one person’s well being but try and think as a whole.

Article: How Happy Are You? A Census Wants to Know Summary/ Response: Natasha Armas

On April 30,2011 John Tierney published an article titled “How Happy Are You? A Census Wants to know”. The census in Somerville was different that year then the previous years. That year the census added a new question. The question asked from a scale of one to ten “How happy do you feel right now?” The officials in Somerville wanted to be the first city in the United States to track people’s happiness. Psychologists and economists have wanted to monitor the happiness of citizens, but didn’t know how to do it and whether it was even the right thing for politicians to be promoting.

The census was sent out and about 7,500 people mailed it back. With answers that I don’t think they were pleased with. The article states “some of them clearly not limiting their answers to municipal concerns.” I think they should have expected that. Municipal concerns are basic services that the city provides such as schools, fire departments, ambulance, police, and transportation. Which does help citizens to live better but doesn’t fulfill their happiness. For example, a man in the article was asked the question “How satisfied are you with your life in general?” His answer was “I would like to be three inches taller and speak Quechua fluently.” Just like there must be more people that aren’t pleased with the way they look. Making them unhappy. There are solutions that can be taken for instance talking to a professional to help boost up their self esteem. The government wouldn’t be able to help each and everyone to get help.

Although, some municipal changes can bring happiness to certain people. The article states “Somerville officials say they hope to see how parks and bike paths affect the happiness of people living nearby, or how people’s feelings change when mass transit services are improved.” The bike paths will lower the chances of bikers getting into accidents with cars. In result making bikers and people that have love ones that bike happy.

In my opinion, I don’t think happiness can be measured because what makes one person happy may not make the other person happy. Another reason happiness can’t be measured is because everyone experiences happiness in a different ways some people express their happiness by crying, laughing, or jumping up and down. I don’t think the government should even try to measure the happiness of people because it will be like an invasion of privacy and no one will appreciate that. For the well-being of the community there should be more safety and cleanliness in the streets. The things that are important to me for my well-being are to love, be loved, to have health, be the best I could be, and to appreciate what I have. There is a conflict between individual and community well-being because every individual has its personal likes and dislikes.

With this census it was proven that happiness can’t be measured. While one man answered the question in the census that he wanted to be three inches taller and speak Quechua fluently and rated his happiness a six out of ten. Vanessa Lagerman was pleased with the bike lanes that have been installed. Two different people that don’t share the same concept of happiness. Conor Brennan said “Of course, any survey like this is going to depend on the mood of the person at that moment.” I agree with Brennan because no one is perfect and can’t be happy all the time.

How happy are you? A census wants to know. Summary/Response. Mirna Ayala

In the article, “How happy are you? A census want to know” a town named Somerville has taken the initiative to distribute surveys to its residents in order to learn about their general happiness in their hometown. Residents who decided to participate in the surveys were required to rate their happiness on a scale of 1-10 and answer various questions about their lives based on their surroundings and daily concerns. The surveys even asked personal questions regarding their personality and decision making skills. Several residents didnt mind the questioning and found it refreshing that their happiness was being taken into consideration by the government. In the article, a woman named Vanessa Lagerman states she appreciates the city’s efforts. “Since I’ve been here, I’ve noticed a lot of things the city has been doing, like installing bike lanes” said Vanessa. She agrees with the idea of the surveys and proceeds to say, “I think it’s a good thing, because policies can be changed to make people happier.” The reason behind this attempt is to create a generally content environment. The government wants to see if they have the power and ability to increase the happiness of the people by finding out what exactly they would like to see differently in their town. Throughout the article, different people give their outlook on the surveys and how they think it will affect them. Tara Acker states, “Is there a correlation between happiness and open space or green space? If we see low levels of satisfaction correlated to low levels of income, perhaps we want more programs aimed at low income people.” Basically, the surveys are designed to be the foundation of the government’s new projects. For instance, if a large percentage of the people are unhappy because their isn’t a playground around them for their children to play in, Somerville will begin construction on building a playground for them. What about the smaller percentage that doesn’t need a playground but needs a closer school so they won’t have to travel such far distances for an education? Not all expectations or wants can be met, however the government doesn’t all this to hinder their mission in making all of its citizens happy. 

In my opinion I don’t believe happiness can be measured nor promoted. People’s feelings change everyday, there is no way they can keep everyone happy all the time. The government shouldn’t be getting involved with how people feel. I believe it’s an invasion of privacy, the government already monitors and controls everything around us, now the way civilians feel is under surveillance too? If the government really wants to help it’s residents, there are many more services that can benefit them and ensure them long term happiness. Such services as, affordable housing, creating more jobs, improving the school system, putting an end to the school’s budget cuts etc. Those are the things that the government should be devoting their time to. Helping with these issues would contribute to long term happiness opposed to making little changes here and there. The problem with the officials making certain changes based on these surveys is that what may bring happiness to one might take it away from another. If they really want to help and make a difference for the people of Somerville they should make general changes that everyone can benefit from not just a percentage of the people.

Article Response How happy Are You? Tanaye A

According to The New York Times’ 2011 article; “How Happy Are You? A Census Want to Know” by John 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. Some people were actually happy at the moment. The purpose of asking this is to become the first city in the United States to track people’s happiness and to advertise policies and make changes in a city that was once in danger to gain happiness. Somerville wish to see the effects on installing bike paths and opening new parks to see if people’s feelings will change while mass transit is getting improved.

However I don’t think happiness can be measured the way Somerville did because; the census didn’t come in everyday. Therefore people feel different everyday or at a different time of day. For example when asked in “how happy are you? A census wants to know, “how satisfied are you with your life in general?” a guy gave himself a six only because he wants to be three inches taller and wants to speak Quechua fluently, which is accurate for him because that’s something that he wants, but being three inches taller isn’t going happen instinct it’s based on his genes. But speaking Quechua can happen if he takes the time to learn it.

Yes, I do think happiness can be promoted because it only takes one person or something that makes you happy, and it can be the little things that make you happy, just by someone saying Hi to you and it made you smile or brighten up your day. For example Somerville was known as “Slummerville, but sense its city is getting gentrified its making the city’s reputation better and looking better as well. Vanessa Lagerman who have lived in Somerville for six years, is a resident who appreciates the city’s effort of making changes to the city, such as adding bike lanes, but that may be happy for people who ride bikes, but not for people who drive cars because it may can cause a lot of traffic.

I think many things are important to our well-beings, according to Mr. Brennan the owner of P J Ryan’s, a pub In Teele square who also noticed the city’s effort, but noticed that while the census was taking surveys it’s going to be high because of what they are doing now to the city, as he said it depends on the mood of the person at the moment, as I said before. If the city wants to something to happen and they see it happening, or there are changes being made. Then of course its satisfying their well beings. As for me I think transportation should lower its prices because it’s too much. Yes, its only $2:50, but that can be a meal for lunch. I don’t think it should increase , and the government continues to increase transportation, but trains are still running slow, having delays, and aren’t working proper, and machines take our money, and for you to get your money back ,you have to go through a whole process by filling out a form and mailing it, is ridiculous . But as for some New Yorkers like me we are spending $30 every week for a weekly metro, which I think is highly too much and $115 for a monthly is even worse. The government knows exactly what they are doing by taking our money. If transportation lower its prices I think less people will hop the trains and will it satisfy everyone well beings, it definitely will satisfy my well being.
Lastly I think their can be a conflict with individual and community well being because, one can say people who are on public assistance shouldn’t have to pay taxes, the community might love that, but the people who aren’t on public assistance will disagree because they will think it is unfair. However I don’t think it’s a measure to people’s happiness it’s based on your mood, and how you are feeling at the moment because people feelings change every day.

Article: How happy are you?… Summary/Response

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.


ENG 1101 HW for Tuesday (9/2)

Hi everyone!

So good to meet you all today, and to get to know a bit about you and your ideas on happiness. I’m going to take photos of your happiness lists and post them to this site for next week 🙂

I know we went through a lot of material quickly at the end of class, so just a few reminders about what needs to happen before our next class on Tuesday (9/2). You should check your homework (as always), on our dynamic course schedule (under Schedule, and then ENG 1101 Schedule).

1. Get an OpenLab account and join our course site. Follow these instructions here. You should do this ASAP (like today, so in case you run into any problems with your e-mail, you can go to the Help Desk).

2. Review the Syllabus & OpenLab Composing rubric & guidelines/expectations, (both of which were also handed out in class), and browse through the rest of the OpenLab site.

3. Make your Introduction post. You can find more info. about what I’m looking for here, and see the post I already made for myself. Here’s info. about posting/categorizing/commenting, and here is info. about adding links, images, and video to your posts.

4. Read “How Happy Are You? A Census Wants to Know” (handed out in class, and also linked from our course schedule online) & blog in response. Check on the Schedule for information about what this post should include (and follow the OpenLab Composing Guidelines).

*All posts are due the night before class, so your Introduction post and your reading response posts (two separate posts) are due no later than Monday night. Make sure to go back and read through the posts before class, and comment on them if you can.

Whew! That’s it for now. I know it seems like a lot to do/learn, but once you get on OpenLab and get the hang of posting, it’s actually simple and fun. Please don’t hesitate to come see me in my office, Namm 520, today (I’ll be around from 1-2:30pm), e-mail me (, or “comment” (click “reply” to this post) if you have any questions. And, most importantly, happy first day of the semester, and enjoy the holiday weekend ahead 🙂