Are You and Your Town a Good Match?
If you’re looking for your ideal place to live, you might want to read the results of a study by Assistant Professor Wiebke Bleidorn on the personalities of cities across the country.
Using data from an online survey of 543,934 people, Bleidorn and colleagues compared the personality traits of 860 U.S. cities, based on the prevailing “Big Five” traits of their inhabitants — emotional stability, extraversion, openness to new experiences, agreeableness and conscientiousness.
The researchers also rated the cities for how religious their residents considered themselves.
They found that the better the fit between a person and city on three of the personality traits — openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness — as well as for religiosity, the better it was for an individual’s self-esteem.
A person’s own emotional stability and extraversion have far greater effects on self-esteem than their town’s personality traits do.
But Bleidorn told BBC Future that different cities really do attract certain kinds of people. “People may move to a city because they feel that it suits their personality best,” she said.
Here are some cities with the highest and lowest scores for each trait:
High: Orem, Utah
Low: Brooklyn, New York
High: Whitewater, Wisconsin
Low: Portland, Oregon
High: Santa Monica, California
Low: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
High: Jackson, Tennessee
Low: Beverly Hills, California
High: Fayetteville, North Carolina
Low: Amherst, Massachusetts
Check out more examples in illustrations by BBC Future.