How Happy Are You Right Now? Somerville's Mayor Wants To Know23:25

This article is more than 9 years old.
The marquee of the Somerville Theater (Elizabeth Thomsen/Flickr)
The marquee of the Somerville Theater (Elizabeth Thomsen/Flickr)

The mayor of Somerville wants to know, how happy do you feel right now? And it's not just because Mayor Joe Curtatone is a warm and fuzzy guy. It's because he wants to change the way American cities serve their residents.

When residents of Somerville received their annual census questionnaire this year, it included a Well-Being & Community Survey. The survey included questions like, “How satisfied are you with your life in general?” And, “Taking everything into account, how satisfied are you with Somerville as a place to live?”

The survey raises an interesting issue: what can and what should cities do to ensure their residents are happy? And how should they measure that?

The survey is Somerville's first attempt to explore these questions. Similar efforts are underway in Europe, but Somerville is the first city in the U.S. to give it a try.


  • Joe Curtatone, mayor of Somerville
  • Tara Acker, director, SomerStat Somerville's performance improvement program
  • Ed Glaeser, professor of Economics, Harvard University; author, "The Triumph of the City"

This segment aired on May 9, 2011.