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Do you ever meet someone and feel like you already know them? While there are 16 possible personality types in the Myers and Briggs system, some are more common than others. 

The most common personality types appear time and again in the general population, so you can start to notice similarities between the way people think, socialize and structure their lives.

Here’s everything you need to know about the most common personality types and their shared traits.

Overall, the most common personality type is ISFJ

The most common personality type is the ISFJ personality type, known as ‘The Protector’. This type occurs in 14% of the population. It is also the most common personality type among women.

ISFJ stands for Introversion, Sensing, Feeling and Judging. This combination of traits means that people with the ISFJ personality type tend to be compassionate, caring and conventional. They are known for being well-grounded and committed to upholding the traditions and norms of society. 

ISFJs also tend to be hardworking with a profound sense of social responsibility. This makes them reliable, dependable and loyal.

There are competitors for the most common personality type

While ISFJ is the most common personality type among the general population, the picture is a little more complicated than it first seems.

That’s because personality types are not evenly distributed through populations. We see variations by culture, geography, and gender. 

The most common personality type for women

As we have seen, the most common personality type for women is ISFJ. The ISFJ personality type accounts for 19% of women - that’s almost one fifth of all women!

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the ISFJ personality type tops the list when it comes to representation in education, healthcare and religious occupations. These professions tend to be heavily female, and people with the ISFJ personality type (of any gender) tend to place health, spirituality and a happy family as the things they value most.

The most common personality type for men

For men, however, the most common personality type is ISTJ. As many as 16% of men qualify as an ISTJ personality type. This is interesting as among the general population, ISTJ is only the third most common personality type, representing approximately 12% of people.

ISTJs are very close cousins of ISFJs. They, too, tend to be responsible and dependable. ISTJs are characterized by a desire to create order within organizations and institutions. They are adept at planning and have good attention-to-detail, preferring to follow a clear procedure. People with the ISTJ personality type tend to have a strong desire to maintain social order and can be resistant to change.

All this perseverance and planning means that both ISTJs and ISFJs tend to be the people who work very hard behind the scenes to make things run smoothly for everyone else. The main difference between them is that ISTJs are more logic-oriented whereas ISFJs are generally warmer and more tactful with people’s feelings.

The top 5 most common personality types ranked

There are clear differences between the most common personality types in men and women but there are also patterns in the general population. Here’s the ranking of the top 5 most common personality types from most common to less common.

  1.  ISFJ

The ISFJ personality type is the most common personality type in the population, representing as much as 14% of the general population. ISFJs are especially common among women but rarer among men, making up approximately 8% of the male population compared to 19% of women.

  1. ESFJ

The next most common personality type is the extraverted cousin of ISFJ, the ESFJ personality type. ESFJs make up approximately 12% of the general population and are one of the most common personality types among women, coming in at around 17%. The ESFJ personality type is much rarer among men with only 8% of individuals fitting the characteristics common to this type.

  1. ISTJ

Ranking third in the list of most common personality types is ISTJ. The ISTJ personality type can be found in 12% of the general population. This is also the most common personality type among men, accounting for 16% of men. In contrast, the ISTJ personality type represents just 7% of women.

  1. ISFP

Joining the ranking for the most common personality type is ISFP with 9% of the general population qualifying as this personality type. Known as ‘The Composer’, the ISFP personality type is shared fairly equally between men and women. This personality type makes up 10% of women and 8% of men and it’s the fourth most common personality type overall.

  1. ESTJ

The ESTJ personality type comes in fifth as the most common personality type in the population. There are approximately 9% of ESTJs in the general population. As many as 11% of men qualify as the ESTJ personality type, making it the second most common personality type among this demographic. Among women, this is a rarer personality type with just 6% of women sharing the characteristics of the ESTJ. 

The link between Sensing and the most common personality types

Have you noticed what the top five personality types have in common? Yes – they are Sensors rather than Intuitives. Sensors account for every single one of the top five most common personality types in the general population and among both men and women.

Sensors process information using their five senses. They prefer to understand the world through what they can see and touch, generally steering clear of abstract concepts and theories. Sensors like to experience things hands-on and they prefer to focus on what is in front of them. This means they’re often described as “practical”.

Do you have the most common personality type?

Of all the 16 personality types, there are a handful of personalities that crop up time and again. These personality types make up the majority of the population and you probably know quite a few people who fit the characteristics of these most common personality types. If you are one of these types, there’s a fair chance you know someone who thinks like you!

If you’re not sure of your personality type, and you want to know whether you’re one of the more common or rarer types, take the test!

Elizabeth Harris
Elizabeth is a freelance writer and ghostwriter. She’s an anthropologist at heart and loves using social theory to get deeper into the topics she writes about. Born in the UK, Elizabeth has lived in Copenhagen, Frankfurt and Dubai before moving most recently to Budapest, Hungary. She’s an ENTJ with ENFJ leanings. Find out more about her work at bethharris.com