What does geopsychology say about a city’s personality?

According to the growing field of psychological research, people living in cities like Charleston, SC may be more willing to compromise than those in Boston, MA — see what it says about your city.

A person in a white sweater leans over a table to shake hands with a person in a beige sweater.

People living in the South tend to be more agreeable than those in western cities.

Photo by fauxels via Pexels

Does where we live have any bearing on our personalities? A growing field of psychological research called geopsychology says “yes.”

According to geopsychology, those from Madison, WI are likely more extroverted than their friends across the nation in, say, Sacramento, CA. And while you may have heard about that good ol’ southern charm, now there may be a form of scientific proof to back it up.

What is it?

ResearchGate defines geopsychology as “the relationship between the complex matrix of static and time-varying geophysical and geochemical variables within a locality and human behavior.”

In other words, there’s a correlation between one’s geophysical space and one’s mind. In particular, research on the “Big Five” traits — conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness, and extroversion — has led researchers to create a set of personality maps for the US.

These maps aren’t a Buzzfeed quiz that tells you exactly who you are — the field of geopsychology stresses that other factors play a role in personality + individual differences exist — but they can provide a broader look at a particular area’s common personality traits + how they compare to different parts of the nation.


Those in the South overwhelmingly display characteristics of discipline and diligence, but the map shows small spots with a high concentration of conscientious people all over the US.

Folks living in cities like Madison, WI or Columbus, OH may tend to be more flexible — but less systematic — than their southern neighbors.


The South also leads the map in terms of agreeableness — people living in cities like Greenville or Charleston, SC may be more considerate or willing to compromise than those in Boston, MA or western cities.


Sunshiney cities like San Diego, CA; Tampa, FL; and Fort Worth, TX, in addition to other cities in the western half of the country and across the South, all share emotional stability as a trait. Much of the Northeast, on the other hand, sees a large amount of emotional instability — aka neuroticism.


Like trying new things or learning new ideas? You probably live in the West — or one of the pockets throughout the US that also show openness like Austin, TX or Richmond, VA.


Folks living in southern and midwestern cities tend to be more extroverted than their West Coast counterparts — though pockets of Texas, like San Antonio, also trend more sociable.