Over many decades of study, people have found that there are five main personality types. However, researchers have been questioning if the five personality traits are evenly distributed across the world, or if these personalities a result of geography. According to a US National Science Foundation study involving over 75 million Americans, “personalities are not randomly distributed but are clustered into distinct geographic patterns. Residents of the Mid-Atlantic and New England states are relatively stressed, irritable and depressed, whereas West Coast residents are more emotionally stable, relaxed and calm than the rest of the country. The two coasts are quite similar on other traits, though. Traits associated with intellect, such as creativity, imagination, and openness, are higher in the Northeast and West Coast than in the Central and Southern states, where people are more pragmatic, straightforward and traditional. Compared with the rest of the country, residents of the Central and Southern states are also more neighbourly, friendly and generous.” There could be many reasons for this outcome. People could be moving to certain geographical areas that meet their needs. They could be moving for a job or an educational opportunity. Another reason for personality distribution is social influence. In fact, a study done at the University of Virginia found interesting results when the researchers asked students if they prefer the ocean or mountains? The researchers found that those individuals who had introverted personality types favored the mountains, while the extroverts preferred the beach. People in one area who certain personality traits will project their traits onto other people. The last explanation for personality distribution is that the environment can have a large influence on people’s behaviors. Climate has a large effect on the activities people can engage in, therefore, climate can change the attitudes of people. In conclusion, people with related personality traits are likely to be found in the same geographic regions.


CC BY-SA 4.0 Is Who You Are…Where You Live? by Erica is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

  1. Anna 2 years ago

    Hi Erica,
    I always believed that community had a significant effect on personality, but it’s really interesting that where you are located geographically has an effect as well. I think the study you posted about was fascinating. You may like this article, http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2013/10/regions-personalities.aspx, about research that reveals that regions within the US exhibit distinct personalities. Something you may want to take into account when researching this topic is the Rocky Mountain Suicide Belt. Research has shown that this section of the US has the highest amount of people with depression and amount of suicides, because of the high altitude, meaning that people located in geographic areas with high altitudes may be more sad than those located at sea level. If you’d like to learn more, check out this article about the Rocky Mountain Suicide Belt: https://www.rwjf.org/en/library/articles-and-news/2013/06/solving-the-riddle-of-the-u-s–suicide-belt.html.

  2. Maxwell 2 years ago

    Erica, this is a very interesting topic, I agree that the place we live greatly influences our personality type. I can see this in the large difference between someone from Utah versus someone from New York City. I believe this is due to the environmental factors present as well as the culture there. Places like New York City carry a general dialect that differs from that of Utah and I believe that alone influences someone’s personality or character. I also believe there are some places that have enough diverse culture present that it has little to no effect on general personality of the people.

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