The city of Somerville has just completed something no other American municipality has ever done: a research project aimed at figuring out how happy its residents are.
Happiness, or well-being, is very much in vogue as way to measure the success of public policy, adding to more conventional measures like economic growth. The survey that Somerville sent out was attached to their annual city census earlier this year.
It asked questions like, "how satisfied are you with your life in general?" Then, it moved into more specific areas such as, "how would you rate the effectiveness of local police?"
The idea was to figure out what types of city services make people happier. And now, after almost 7,000 responses, the results are in. We go over the numbers and get reaction from Ed Diener, one of the founding fathers of happiness research.
- Ed Diener, distinguished professor emeritus of psychology, University of Illinois
This segment aired on August 17, 2011.