Are there regional personality differences in the United States?


An examination of the results across regions for each trait reveals surprisingly consistent geographical patterns for Neuroticism and Openness. As can be seen in the top panel of Figure 1, Neuroticism tends to be high in the Northeast and Southeast and low in the Midwest and West. And as can be seen in the bottom panel of Figure 1, Openness tends to be high in the New England, Middle Atlantic, and Pacific regions and comparatively lower in the Great Plains, Midwest, and Southeastern states. There is some consistency for Agreeableness, which tends to be high in the Southern regions and low in the Northeast, and for Extraversion, which tends to be high in the Northeast and low in the West. Conscientiousness shows the least degree of consistency and tends to be high in the Mountain and West North Central regions and low in the Pacific and West South Central regions. Looking across traits, one finds that the most consistent patterns of results appear for the Southeast and Western regions, followed by the Northeast and Midwest regions.

And these are far from one-off results:

Although the results are not identical across the three investigations, the degree of overlap is remarkable considering that the studies were conducted over a span of more than 30 years, that very different personality measures were administered, that each study relied on different sampling strategies, and that different data collection procedures were used. 

Source: Statewide Differences in Personality Toward a Psychological Geography of the United States” from American Psychologist 2010

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