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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.

Contact Information
Anna Gartsman
Director of SomerStat

93 Highland Ave.
Somerville, MA 02143
United States

Employee Directory

Somerville at a Glance

Somerville at a Glance is an introduction to Somerville's population, housing, education, home value and other demographic trends over time and compared to Massachusetts as a whole. The current version uses Census and ACS data from 2010 to 2022. 

A screenshot of Somerville at a Glance depicting a line graph of the percent of foreign-born population over time since 2010 to 2022 in Somerville compared to Massachusetts.


Open Data

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.  


Performance Management

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.  


Tracking Happiness

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. Questionnaires, data, and visualizations from 2011 to 2023 surveys are available on Somerville's Open Data Portal.

A screenshot of bar charts depicting happiness over time from the Happiness Survey. Charts are titled with the question "How happy do you feel right now?" and show average scores and percent of responses by answer choice for 2011 through 2023. Happiness is between 3.9 and 4.1 on a scale from 1 to 5.



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 5,000 randomly sampled residents every two years. The survey is made available in the City’s most common languages, which most recently included English, Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, Nepali, Traditional Chinese, and Simplified Chinese.   

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?  
  • Satisfaction with other aspects of life in Somerville 

Additionally, there are rotating questions abcout various factors that may contribute to happiness that the City may be able to influence, such as: 

  • Satisfaction with new and expanded services (e.g., Green Line Extension, Participatory Budgeting, outdoor dining)
  • Satisfaction with City initiatives (e.g., housing stability, response to severe weather events, language access)
  • Concerns (e.g., being priced out of Somerville, presence of rats and mice)

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 attentive listening and empathy 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. 

Continuous Learning 

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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