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GREEN AND PLEASANT LAND

These are Britain’s most agreeable places. Hint: London’s not one of them

By Kabir Chibber

London is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, known for a dynamism and multitude of cultures that make the British capital quite distinct from the rest of the country. But is it agreeable? Apparently not.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge used BBC data to analyze a sample of just under 400,000 people from England, Wales, and Scotland, to determine the “personalities” of different parts of the nation. One of the criteria was very British—agreeableness, defined as co-operation, friendliness and trust.

The most agreeable regions? Scotland, as well as the North, the South West, and East of England.

So basically, everywhere besides London.

Describing the capital, the researchers said, ”comparatively large proportions of residents of these areas were uncooperative, quarrelsome, and irritable.” The researchers also pointed out that friendlier regions tended to have higher proportions of females, married couples, and poorer residents.

(One thing to note: While the Scots may be among the most agreeable people in Britain, on at least one count, 45% of them don’t want to be British.)

That said, London was the most extroverted city in Britain, along with Manchester. The Cambridge social scientists noted that “previous research has linked extraversion with physical health and wellbeing, leadership, and occupational performance.” The most introverted regions of the nation tended to be the most agreeable—the North and the East Midlands, in particular.

In general, city-dwellers showed greater “openness”—defined as being creative, unconventional, and curious, and generally associated with a university degree. London, Oxford, Cambridge, Brighton, Bristol, Manchester and Glasgow all made the cut—but so did Wales, which is mostly rural.

The researchers found that people in Wales were less emotionally stable, though. “People were more likely to be emotionally stable in the South West and much of Southern England, as well as across most of Scotland, suggesting that residents of these areas tend to be calm, relaxed, and happy,” researchers said.

So if you’d like to live in the UK but only want to be surrounded by friendly, emotionally-stable people, the the BBC has created a quiz to help you pick the perfect place.