SomerStat: The Mayor's Office of Innovation and Analytics
SomerStat is a performance management team working within the Mayor's Office in the City of Somerville. SomerStat integrates data into City decision-making; supports the operations of City departments; contributes to the City's policy planning and implementation; and increases governmental transparency by sharing data with the community.
Monday - Wednesday
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
8:30 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.
8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
93 Highland Ave.
Somerville, MA 02143
SomerStat plays a key role in the City's COVID response, ensuring the emergency response team has the data they need to make decisions in real time. Visit the City's Infectious Illness Dashboard to learn about how COVID and Flu impact our community.
For other datasets, visit the Somerville’s Open Data Portal, which hosts datasets on a variety of topics including 311 calls, city services, mobility patterns, public health, and others.
SomerStat is a performance management initiative that helps Mayor Ballantyne supervise the work of City departments by using financial, personnel, and operational data to inform decision-making and to implement new ideas. In regular meetings with City department managers and other key decision-makers, SomerStat helps to identify opportunities for improvement and to track the implementation of improvement plans.
SomerStat builds systems and capacity within departments, streamlining processes and helping constituent-facing staff work more efficiently. SomerStat also tracks progress over short-term budget cycles and towards sweeping 20-year strategic visions and reports this progress to senior-level internal stakeholders as well as the public.
The Somerville Happiness Survey measures residents’ overall happiness and satisfaction with various aspects of life in the City of Somerville. SomerStat has conducted the survey every two years since 2011.
The primary purpose of the survey is to inform decisions that support and enhance happiness in Somerville. Conducting the survey biannually allows for longitudinal analysis, and surveying a random, representative sample of residents provides insight into a broad cross-section of opinions that aren’t always heard in self-selecting samples such as public meetings and online comments.
In 2011, Somerville became the first municipality in the United States to survey its residents on happiness and wellbeing. Somerville was inspired by David Cameron's creation of a wellbeing index in the United Kingdom and Bhutan's attempts to track gross national happiness, as well as a worldwide shift in focus from economic measurements of wellbeing to socio-emotional indicators. The Happiness Survey was designed by SomerStat with the input of academic partners and experts on measuring wellbeing.
The Happiness Survey is a part of the City's decision-making process and previous analyses of survey responses have resulted in expanded access to recycling services, greater investment in trees, and increased funding for open space and recreational land.
How it works
SomerStat sends a Happiness Survey to approximately 5000 randomly sampled residents every two years. Copies of the survey are included in the most common languages in the municipality, which most recently included English, Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, and Nepali.
The survey contains a set of standard questions including:
- How happy do you feel right now?
- How satisfied are you with your life in general?
- How satisfied are you with Somerville as a place to live?
Additionally, there are rotating questions about various factors that may contribute to happiness that the city may be able to influence, such as:
- Satisfaction with neighborhood
- Beauty of parks and outdoor spaces
- Mobility (ability to get where you want to go)
- Cost and condition of housing
- Availability of city services
Finally, we ask demographic questions such as age, race, gender, and income in order to ensure a representative sample of responses compared to the U.S. Census and other independent sources of demographic information, and to see how answers may differ for various identity groups.
Equitable Public Service
We are committed to supporting excellent, equitable service to Somerville’s constituents. We strive to be anti-racist and to dismantle systemic injustices through our work.
Listening With Empathy and Respect
SomerStat is committed to by listening to and empathizing with colleagues, stakeholders, and constituents, stakeholders, and departmental staff in order to solve problems in a way that is respectful of different experiences and interests.
Open to Hard Conversations
We are prepared to ask difficult questions and to address challenging problems.
Our team approaches our work with curiosity, creativity, and a willingness to learn.
Collaboration Based on Trust and Accountability
We build strong working relationships with our colleagues based on trust and accountability. This foundation allows us to productively collaborate to do our work to produce public value.
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