What is the Most Common Enneagram Type?

Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on September 01, 2022

No Enneagram type is good or bad – all types are equal and bring their unique perspectives to the world. But have you ever wondered whether all Enneagram types are equally represented in the population? Like in other personality type theories, some types are more common than others. 

So what is the most common Enneagram type, then? 

The Enneagram Type 8 represents about 15 percent of the population, according to a survey conducted by Truity. Type 9 follows behind with a 13 percent score. Read on to learn more about Type 8 and what major strengths they bring to the world. 

What is Enneagram Type 8 all about?

Enneagram Type 8, aka “The Challenger,” seems more common in men than women by about six percent, with a whopping 18 percent of men with the personality type. Although some people claim that Enneagram Type 8 is one of the rarest Enneagram types – Truity’s survey of 54,000 people suggests otherwise.

If you’re a Challenger, your greatest fear is being vulnerable and powerless. Because of this ingrained fear, Type 8s seek control over their lives. Type 8’s core motivation is to remain independent and in control rather than feeling weak (or even appearing so to others). Because they fear weakness, they abhor any ruling force of society that tries to suppress them, whether it's an organization, government official, or a boss. 

How to spot an Enneagram Type 8

You or someone you know may be an Enneagram Type 8, but how do you tell? Aside from taking the Enneagram personality test, you can recognize a Type 8 from their traits and motivations. 

First, a Type 8 is someone who isn’t afraid to take a stand against unjust laws or officials with opposing views. If a Type 8 feels threatened by an authority figure’s control over them, they won’t hesitate to take the issue to the streets and engage in peaceful protest. Type 8s are also great movers and shakers in drafting and promoting petitions or joining a support group to rally and fight for what they believe in. Type 8s often feel they are strong and capable of protecting the “weak,” so it isn’t uncommon for them to advocate for repressed communities and groups. Because of their intense independence and a long list of goals, Type 8s aren’t afraid to lead the way into unchartered territory.

The easiest way to recognize a Type 8 is to consider their motivation. Do they place importance on an unyielding, strong attitude? Are they the types who hate being vulnerable and don’t mind rallying against intrusive, unfair authority?

Does this sound like someone you know? You may be dealing with a Type 8 if they possess some or all of these qualities:

  • Intense independence
  • Infectious confidence and a self-assured attitude
  • A trailblazer attitude
  • An outlook on life that’s relatively black and white: some people are strong, the others are weaker and need protecting
  • No fear of speaking their mind
  • A direct or blunt approach
  • A rebellious attitude toward what they deem as an unjust authority
  • No fear of confrontation
  • A strong sense of leadership
  • Bravery or fearlessness in fighting for themselves and others

Enneagram Type 8 strengths and weaknesses

Type 8s bring a lot to the table; their contributions to society aren’t to be trivialized. And while a Type 8’s strengths are plenty, like any Enneagram type, they also possess some telling weaknesses that may lead them to specific areas of personal growth.

A desire to defend and protect others

What are some strengths that make Enneagram Type 8s shine? To start, 8s offer a voice to groups of people who are too scared to speak up. For example, if someone is afraid to stand up to an unfair boss for fear of losing their job, a Type 8 coworker might be the first to offer help. Type 8s don’t fear authority figures and don’t respect someone in a place of power because of their position. For an 8, leaders need to earn respect through their actions, and if a leader is an abuser of power, Type 8s won’t hesitate to take a stand against them.

A penchant for leadership

There’s a reason Type 8s do well in careers in counseling, law, politics, activism, and corporate leadership. Type 8s aren’t good at leading people; they’re phenomenal at it. Some famous Enneagram Type 8s include Vice President Kamala Harris and former UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill. If you’re seeking a good leader who isn’t afraid to keep high standards for employees or clients, Type 8s won’t back down or cater to unfair rules or laws. Instead, they’ll do what’s right and enforce people-first policies, ensuring everyone gets a voice.

Other Type 8 strengths:
  • Inspirational inner strength and values
  • Resourcefulness and creativity in finding solutions to problems
  • Self-confidence rooted in high values
  • Diplomacy and initiative in fighting for others
  • A strong sense of justice 
Type 8 weaknesses

All Enneagram types have some blind spots, but it’s important to remember that weaknesses serve as a roadmap for self-actualization. Personal growth should be a goal for everyone, no matter your personality type. Type 8s have a few things they could work on to better themselves, including these common weak spots:

  • They may reject all forms of authority without good reason.
  • Disrespect or disregard for opposing opinions; closed mindedness
  • An intimidating presence that scares people off
  • A rebellious nature toward necessary rules
  • A desire to take charge, even when someone doesn’t ask them (or want them) to

A Type 8’s ideal self

When at their healthiest and most self-actualized, an Enneagram Type 8 is a powerful inspiration to those around them. They champion the ideas and values of oppressed populations and share their voices through collective initiatives. Their leadership strength makes them effective at making positive changes in policy, communities, charities, and otherwise. Type 8 is also adept at self-improvement and helping others realize their best selves. 

Type 8s are also the backbone of families and friendships. In their personal relationships, they offer their generous, caring nature and protection. 

What about the Enneagram Type 9? 

Type 9 is the second most common Enneatype, two percent less common than Type 8. “The Peacemaker” is also a Body Type, like Type 8, but their need to control the environment is more focused on the people around them than on justice. Some forums and websites assert that Enneagram Type 9 is the most common personality type, along with types like Enneagram Type 4 and Type 6.

In summary

When asking, “What is the most common Enneagram type?” you may be surprised to find the answer is Enneagram Type 8. Although some sources claim that Type 8 is one of the rarest types of the Enneagram system, a survey of 54,000 people points to the opposite. Type 8s are the backbone of justice, and their many strengths make them an indispensable part of the population. It’s always key to remember that no Enneatype is better than another; each Enneagram personality brings a unique perspective to the world, keeping it balanced, varied, and thriving. 

Cianna Garrison

Cianna Garrison holds a B.A. in English from Arizona State University and works as a freelance writer. She fell in love with psychology and personality type theory back in 2011. Since then, she has enjoyed continually learning about the 16 personality types. As an INFJ, she lives for the creative arts, and even when she isn’t working, she’s probably still writing.

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About the Clinical Reviewer

Steven Melendy, PsyD., is a Clinical Psychologist who received his doctorate from The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. He specializes in using evidence-based approaches in his work with individuals and groups. Steve has worked with diverse populations and in variety of a settings, from community clinics to SF General Hospital. He believes strongly in the importance of self-care, good friendships, and humor whenever possible.

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