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Curious About Happiness & Somerville’s Smiley Survey

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(credit: AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

WBZ-TV's David Wade David Wade
Multiple award-winning journalist David Wade co-anchors WBZ-TV News at...
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BOSTON (CBS) – We all want to live happy lives. But what brings happiness?

Ann from Pembroke Declared her Curiosity asking, “When are people going to be happy with enough… instead of wanting it all?”

Linda from Weymouth says, “There are good things out there and we need to be reminded of them.”

Well, one city is trying to find out just what it is that makes people who live there happy.

Since 1887, Lyndell’s Bakery has been making life a little sweeter in the city of Somerville.
The famous half moon will have you over the moon.

“It’s the happiness survey, says Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone. We are all about happiness here.”

He’s asking people returning their city census to answer five questions rating their overall happiness on a scale from one to ten.

WBZ-TV’s David Wade reports.

“It’s uncharted waters. No one has done this in this country,” pointed out Tara Acker, the mayor’s chief number cruncher and director of Somerstat.

Acker is hoping to turn the data into new policy. “You’re hoping in the end you’ll be able to say, ‘ok people are happy when they have bike trails or no potholes,’ that sort of thing,” she said. “That’s exactly what we hope to do.”

The city spent about $1,500 on the happiness survey and found most people are happy that someone cared enough to ask.

City Hall is still crunching the numbers on an official happiness index.
In a city once dubbed “Slum-er-ville”, the mayor is hopeful. “I think we are going to be close to ten,” he says.

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