The citizens in Patron aren’t mindless automatons. They have their own wishes, needs and issues that cause them grief and unhappiness. Be mindful of this since if it gets out of control, you’ll have a riot on your hands and before you know it, your beautiful city will be burning left and right.
Unlike in similar games, meeting the citizens’ material needs are just one cog in the machine. As the town progresses, different social issues will arise that will need your watchful eye.
It is only natural that your Citizens want to be healthy and have a long, fruitful life. Keeping them healthy, investing in the appropriate infrastructure and social policies will enable this. There are of course some things you have no control over. Sudden disease outbreaks cannot be completely prevented, but a good health system can go a long way in preventing needless deaths. Keep in mind that diseases are also seasonal. Your citizens will get sick more often during the Winter, than they will during the Summer. And those are not the only factors involved. Keeping them properly and diversely fed and having enough Firewood or Coal so they can keep warm are also very important segments.
Everybody wants to feel safe, especially in their own home. Placing Guardhouses and employing enough Guards helps with this a lot, but depending on other factors, you could run into riots and looters running through your fair city. In general, other than through random events, Safety will go down as more problems start happening in the city. Citizens who feel unsafe will undoubtedly leave for good.
You’re all immigrants, that’s a given. You’ve arrived here on a ship and claimed these lands as your own. But that doesn’t mean all your Citizens will welcome more destitute immigrants with open arms. It could actually make them quite angry. Others will be more inclined to the idea though. As usual, it can be a truly polarizing issue. Despite that, you have more than enough room to maneuver about, but bear in mind that the higher the Immigration, the more likely it is for new would-be citizens to arrive from the mainland.
Some of your Citizens are in love with the King and the Monarchy. Not all, though. Actions that go directly against the King’s orders and wishes will anger the former and appease the latter. You’ll have to balance the issue with finesse. Loyalty is likely the most abstract of social issues put it definitely has its rightful place. The King will reward those loyal to him, but also punish those who are not.
There’s nothing like good ol' religion to stir up a conversation or two. Your Citizens are spiritual creatures, at least some of them. Others, not so much. Those who are will appreciate you building churches and focusing on the matters of spirit. The other side will find it problematic. As a general rule, you'll find that the lower social classes (Peasants and Laborers) will favor good standing with the Church. You can guess how the Merchants and the Gentry feel about it.
Who wouldn’t want their kids to get properly educated and move up the social ladder? Well, it's more or less the middle ages. Not everyone considers education to be of value. Working the fields, now that's proper work. In those times the upper classes, (Merchants and Gentry), were more inclined to see the benefits of education. Enacting complimentary decrees and building schools is the proper way to go if you're into education as well.
As noted above, material needs shouldn’t be neglected. Simply put, people want stuff. Even basic stuff, like food and construction materials. They use those every day. It’s no wonder they find it important.
Once the basic needs are fulfilled, your Citizens will look for more luxurious things. The finer things in life, as some call it. In Patron, they’re simply called luxuries like quality furniture, warm clothes and fine garments, jewelry and fine liquor. As citizens progress up the social ladder, they'll want event more. Peasants might consider Flowers a simple, but adequate luxury. The Gentry won't be content until Perfumes are in stores.
There are only two things you cannot escape: death and taxes. Taxes truly are inescapable, but you’re the Patron and you still have a lot of maneuvering room with tax decrees to both balance the budget and to keep the people happy… or at least content. Taxes are almost exclusively controlled through decrees enacted by you directly, but it is important to mention that this issues doesn't revolve only around a lump sum a citizen is expected to pay. Rather, the various individuals and social classes will tend to make comparisons. If, for example, Peasants believe that the Gentry should pay a whole lot more in taxes, they will get cross if the situation is quite the opposite. So the key thing to remember here: People like to make comparisons and they might not like the results.
All of the above, summed up, constitute general Happiness. When your people are happy, they work well. When they’re not, they’ll go so far as to cause problems and even riot. Some social policies and buildings have an impact on this general happiness directly. Happiness therefore provides a general understanding of how happy or unhappy a citizen is in your town. That doesn't mean that they can be overjoyed if they have nothing to eat. However there are different thresholds for different social issues. Having perfume is simply not as important as having food on the table. Sure, a family might decide to go look for their happiness elsewhere even if the basic needs are met, but there is a difference in the grand scheme of things.