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Here's where you should live in London based on your personality type

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Scientists have found that people who are tired of London may actually just be living in the wrong postcode.

Using data from the BBC's Big Personality Test - which gathered a sample of 590,000 people - an international team of researchers analysed how personality and life satisfaction differed across the city.

They studied geographical clustering on six factors - life satisfaction, extraversion, emotional stability, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness - determining that finding the best place to live depends on the match between individual personalities and the characteristics of the neighbourhood.

The below map, created by the research team, shows clustering of each trait. Red suggests high levels, with blue showing low levels. For instance, more people who live in west and south-west London show extraversion than those living in the east and north-east. Therefore, individuals who display higher levels of extraversion would would find themselves to be more compatible with the west and south-west of the city.

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It's very common for people to talk about where is the best place to live, but most research has tended to look at factors such as income and low crime rates, and only on a very broad geographical scale, failing to consider individual differences in personality.

As a result, studies imply that all people would be equally happy in the same places. It's a one-size-fits-all conclusion that, as we show, is misleading because one's level of happiness is dependent on whether their environment is suited to their personality.

  • Dr Markus Jokela, University of Helsinki, Finland

Their findings show higher levels of life satisfaction in the more affluent parts of London and clusters of low life satisfaction in north-west, north-east, and south London.

The least agreeable areas were found in the West End, an area that "has the highest crime rate, busiest pedestrian traffic, and some of the highest housing prices in the capital" - the team posit that this could support the stereotype that people who live in big, densely-populated cities are less considerate towards others.

People who live in the centre of town generally tend to be more open to new experiences while those in the suburbs tend to be more agreeable and conscientious.

In areas that showed lower life satisfaction overall, the researchers found that those individuals who displayed the most agreeable and conscientious traits tended to fare best - i.e. show higher than average satisfaction.

The research, funded by the Kone Foundation and the Academy of Finland, is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week.


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