Find your postcode personality: Are you in the right part of London for you?

 
Sarah Spickernell
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Where do you fit in? (Source: Getty)
If you're someone who looks sharp in a suit, likes socialising with equally sophisticated suit-wearers and visits suit-friendly venues, you'd probably find it extremely uncomfortable wearing a t-shirt and jeans for a week.
That's because the things you do, wear and surround yourself with are chosen to complement your personality, and if that perfect balance is disturbed it can lead to discomfort.
This same rule should be applied when choosing an area to live in, according to Dr Markus Jokela from the University of Helsinki, Finland. Yet too often we forget our “postcode personality” and instead focus exclusively on logistics.
"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," she said.
"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."
So next time you're thinking of moving, have a look at the subtle details – is the local coffee shop suitably bohemian or overtly pretentious? Is the area pleasantly quiet and relaxing, or old fashioned and boring? These things can make the difference between just liking the place you live in and feeling completely at home.
Jokela came to this conclusion by carrying out a study on 56,000 Londoners from 216 postal districts, in which she compared their locations with five different personality traits and overall “life satisfaction”.
The map below shows the results, and it's possible to see a considerable degree of variation between the different areas in terms of how likely a person is to fit in. For each personality trait, the red areas represent the places where that characteristic is most likely to be found, while the blue areas show where you're unlikely to come across someone with that trait.

(Source: Dr Markus Jokela, University of Helsinki, Finland)

WHERE DO YOU BELONG?

Extroversion: Battersea and Wandsworth
If you're an outgoing type looking for people to return your “hello” in the street and strike up a conversation with in the newsagent, your best bet is to head very central but slightly west and south of the river.
Emotional stability: Richmond and Putney
Those with high emotional stability are likely to be found in a similar area to the extroverts, except slightly further west. Of everywhere in London, the most emotionally stable people are to be found in Putney and Richmond.
Agreeableness: Nowhere
If you want people to be nice and compromising towards you, avoid the very centre of London – Soho, Covent Garden, Oxford Street are full of the ruder types, according to this map. Instead, go as far out of London as possible to find maximum politeness.
Conscientiousness: Twickenham and Watford
You're going to have to head all the way out to Watford or Twickenham to knuckle down without any disturbances. It's here that you'll find London's most conscientious inhabitants.
Openness to experience: Shoreditch and Hackney
Like the extroverted types, these are concentrated in the centre. Areas of greater average openness also showed a mixture of neighbourhood characteristics, including higher population density and higher housing prices, higher ethnic and religious diversity, and higher crime rate.
The findings support previous research showing that openness is associated with a wider range of interests and tolerance for alternative lifestyles and ideas, and that these dispositions are often thought to characterize residents of densely populated urban areas.
Life satisfaction: Wandsworth and Richmond
The researchers found the highest levels of life satisfaction in the most affluent regions of London, with the lowest satisfaction arising in northwest, northeast, and south London.
But this shouldn't be taken too much into consideration when deciding where to live, since life satisfaction is more likely to be related to personality type. As with previous studies, the researchers found that people who were most emotionally stable and/or extroverted tended to have the greatest life satisfaction, irrelevant of where they lived.

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