Nick Ut, Associated Press
School children enter the water Wednesday June 29, 2011 on Santa Monica Beach in Santa Monica, Calif. Santa Monica seems almost like paradise. The sparkling blue ocean, shimmering sandy beaches, clear skies and a famous pier with a merry-go-round paint a picture of contentment.

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Santa Monica seems almost like paradise. The sparkling blue ocean, shimmering sandy beaches, clear skies and a famous pier with a merry-go-round paint a picture of contentment.

But there's also loads of traffic and a high cost of living, two things that recently prompted the real estate blog Movoto to rate Santa Monica No. 2 on its Top 10 list of America's Most Stressed-Out Suburbs.

To do something about that, the city applied for a Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge grant, proposing a "Wellbeing Project" that would determine just how much people in this picture-postcard town really like living here. The city received $1 million grant.

This week, officials will begin asking residents if they are happy with their community.