OPINION: What Makes Hingham Hingham? – Residents Speak

Hingham 4th of July Parade 2022

September 5, 2023 By Glenn Mangurian

Several weeks ago I embarked on an inquiry to get town residents’ opinions on “What Makes Hingham Hingham?” I solicited input via the Hingham Anchor opinion page, selected emails, as well as conversations with residents at different coffee shops around town. All responses were anonymous. Thank you all for sharing your perspectives.

Profile of Resident Respondents
People responded to my questions over the internet or agreed to have a conversation with me in person. The data I collected was qualitative and not a scientific sample. Overall, I collected information from 40 residents – 16 people in direct interviews. Their responses represent a broad cross section of age, gender and duration living in Hingham. The age range was high school students as well as retired senior citizens. Some residents have recently moved to Hingham while others have enjoyed the town for over 40 years. Here is the profile of respondents.

So, What Makes Hingham Hingham?
While the respondent pool turned out to be diverse as profiled above, the perspectives centered on two very positive themes.

1. Residents Appreciate the Warm Small Town Feel, “Vibe” and Spirit of Hingham.

Residents experience Hingham as a special place that is home to multiple generations of families. It is common for young adults to move to Hingham to raise a family and stay for over forty years. Children raised in Hingham often return to enjoy the positive experience for their new families. One after another people expressed their “affection” for the town using a variety of superlatives. The most common descriptors included Hingham as a quaint, small town embracing over 300 years of history. Residents appreciate the beauty, abundance of open space, access to the harbor, fine restaurants, arts and variety of recreation available. Few towns offer the expanse of Wompatuck State Park and the tranquility of World’s End.

Several traditions such as the 4 th of July parade, farmers’ market and Christmas in the Square were mentioned that represent Hingham’s version of Americana. One resident commented that a “Hallmark movie” could be filmed in Hingham. The benefits of Hingham suburban living are complemented by the cultural opportunities of Boston a short ferry or train ride away. Those with whom I spoke believe Hingham to be a civilized, family oriented, safe place that they are proud to call home. All of this creates a “feel” that makes Hingham a special place to live.

2. Hingham Residents Care About the Town and Each Other.
Care was repeatedly used to describe the generosity of their fellow residents. Those to whom I spoke were quick to recognize that residents care about building on the town’s rich heritage and evolving its services for the needs of current and future generations. Those investments in the public good help to sustain the quality of life for current residents and attract new residents.

Many commented that we also care for the wellbeing of our fellow citizens. Hingham is a community made up of many close-knit neighborhoods. While we respect the privacy of our neighbors, we seek ways to support those who may be facing financial or health challenges. Hingham is economically diverse and some have trouble making ends meet. Residents have different ways of offering assistance. For example, Hingham has a vibrant food pantry staffed by over 100 volunteers who service families of all ages. In addition, our town meeting has allocated $500,000 annually in property tax relief for those who might otherwise be forced to leave Hingahm.

Several residents mentioned the importance of our town meeting form of governance. Residents voice their opinions with civility and respect for others. Finally, Hingham runs on volunteers. We have many talented individuals of all ages who give of their time serving as elected officials and on scores of town committees and boards. Hingham would not be Hingahm without these generous volunteers.

The second question I asked was whether residents would recommend Hingham as a place to live to a friend or colleague.

Overall, Residents Are Strong Promotors of Hingham as a Place to Live.
Consistent with the reasons described above, most who responded would recommend Hingham as a place to reside. The recommendation question is a variation on an accepted market research loyalty metric (Net promoter score – NPS) developed by Bain & Co 20 years ago. In this survey I asked respondents to rate their overall experience living in Hingham as indicated by the strength of their likely recommendation to others. Responses were collected on a scale of 0 (not likely at all) to 10 (extremely likely). Bain & Co. suggests classifying responses into three groups: promoters (9–10), passives (7–8) or detractors (0–6). The 40 respondents to my question were distributed as follows:

Almost two thirds (63% – 25 of the 40) of the respondents can be classified as Promoters (Score 9-10). 27% (11 of the 40) respondents can be classified as Passives (Score 7-8). Only 10% (4 of the 40) respondents can be classified as Detractors (Score 0-6).

The most common deficiencies cited by both the Detractors and Passives was the lack of racial diversity among the town’s residents, the high price of real estate and increasing property taxes. Although one Detractor responded mentioning the “affluent attitude” of some Hinghamites, most Promotors mentioned the caring nature of the residents as described above. The Hingham Unity Council and other civic groups seek to bridge differences in experience and perspective to build a culture that respects and values the dignity and humanity of every community member.

The Net Promoter Score is calculated by subtracting the % Detractors from the % Promoters. The potential range is -100 to +100. For this survey the score is 63%-10% or +53. Bain & Co. indicates that a score above +50 is excellent.

Overall, my unscientific research indicates a very positive experience among those choosing Hingham as a place to live. They value all that the town has to offer and care to invest in sustaining the high quality of life for future generations. Now, that is something to be proud of.

1 thought on “OPINION: What Makes Hingham Hingham? – Residents Speak”

  1. Hingham has a huge blind spot when it comes to its senior citizens. The inability to fund and build a Senior Center as befits a town with the resources of Hingham is a SHAME AND VERY SHORT SIGHTED. We represent 30 % of the population and yet we get left behind. Scituate, Marshfield, Cohasset and Duxbury all have Senior Centers to be proud
    of. Why doesn’t Hingham? Ginny Ballou, Hingham


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.