Data Byte: A Happiness Report Card for Sarasota County

What makes you happy? Over the past decade our community has looked at over one hundred indicators of community well-being, in domains ranging from Civic Participation and Economy to Transportation and Natural Environment. Using these data we’ve collected we have created Community Report Cards, People Count Reports and Community Study Reports to assess and share how we’re doing as a community in terms of overall well-being. Analyzing the data from a wide range of community indicators is important for us, the people of Sarasota County, because familiarity with and reflection on the data leads to better, more informed decision making. But what would the people of Sarasota County say about themselves? Are we a happy county? WorldHappinessReportOne neat tool for measuring happiness has been developed by The Happiness Initiative in Seattle: using a short online survey for people to provide their self assessment of their daily life and community,  the Happiness Initiative has created a Happiness Report Card for Seattle and one for the United States. The Happiness Report Card is an interesting concept, but Seattle was not the first to consider measuring happiness. In fact, the concept of measuring Gross National Happiness, or GNH, originated from the small country of Bhutan in the Himalayas. Rather than focusing on high economic growth and Gross National Product as an indicator of well-being, leaders in Bhutan instead chose to focus on indicators of community well-being such as psychological well-being, community vitality, environmental quality and time balance as more holistic indicators of progress for their country. This mindset of looking at the whole picture of community well-being is what the SCOPE Community Data Initiative is all about. Community Data is both the expert knowledge that is collected about us and the public knowledge of what life is like here. Tomorrow, Wednesday March 20th , is International Happiness Day. What would it look like to measure happiness right here in Sarasota County? What are the important aspects of your daily life that contribute to your overall well-being? Please leave your responses to these questions here in the “comments”—we’d love to hear them!