City of Somerville’s survey finds people are happy living there

News Somerville
Data from the “Happiness and City Satisfaction Survey’’ shows that residents have gotten happier over the years.
Data from the “Happiness and City Satisfaction Survey’’ shows that residents have gotten happier over the years. Jessica Rinaldi / Globe Staff

Somerville residents are happier on average than those in Switzerland, which was ranked 2015’s happiest country in the world.

That’s one finding from the City of Somerville’s latest “Happiness and City Satisfaction Survey.’’ The survey was randomly distributed to residents in 2011, 2013, and 2015, and found that over these years residents have gotten happier.

When asked the question, “How happy do you feel right now?’’, the average response in 2015 was a 7.8 out of 10, up from 7.5 in 2011 and 7.7 in 2013. When asked, “How satisfied are you with your life in general?’’, the average response in 2015 was an eight. Both those 2015 numbers are higher than the scores of Swiss residents responding to similar questions.

The city noted in its report that only 185 completed surveys, of 500 distributed in 2015, were returned, therefore the sample might not be a full picture of the general population’s feelings.

Life in Somerville

The residents were also asked, “How satisfied are you with Somerville as a place to live?’’ Their responses increased over the years from 7.6 in 2011 to 7.7 in 2013 to 8.2 in 2015.

Each Ward in Somerville individually reported greater levels of city satisfaction between 2013 and 2015, with Ward 1 showing the greatest increase. Ward 1 includes East Somerville, along with Assembly Square.

There’s been a large amount of development in the Ward, especially at Assembly Square, and more is still to come.

Residents also said they felt safe walking in their communities at night and that they were satisfied with the physical appearance of the neighborhoods and parks.

Room for improvement

But the city realizes it still has things to work on.

“We do use it for gauging residents’ satisfaction and with that we hope to be able to address any issues we see that could be problematic,’’ Daniel Hadley, chief of staff to Somerville Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone, told The Boston Globe.

One thing Somerville residents weren’t psyched about was how pricey the city has become. Asked to rate the cost of housing on a 5-point scale, respondents gave it a 2.6.

Somerville residents also reported lower levels of satisfaction with certain city amenities, like quality of public schools and trust in the local police.