The short answer: The ISFJ (Introverted-Sensing-Feeling-Judgment) is the most common Myers-Briggs® Personality Type.

Let’s take a look at the characteristics of ISFJs and the reasons this Myers-Briggs Personality Type occurs more frequently than the others.

Why are ISFJs so common? 

According to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® theory, there are 16 different personality types. However, these personality types are not evenly distributed throughout the population; some personality types are many times more common than others. For example, INFJs (Introverted-Intuitive-Feeling-Judgment) personality types comprise a mere 1.5% of the total US population, while ISFJs (Introverted-Sensing-Feeling-Judgment) comprise nearly 14% of the population. 

So, what causes these differences? Why are ISFJs so common? 

While there is no single explanation, some expert psychologists offer an evolutionary perspective, which posits that ISFJs are common today because individuals with ISFJ characteristics would have thrived historically in highly social hunter-gatherer human communities. ISFJs are compassionate, loyal, self-reflective, and able to analyze complex interpersonal situations quickly and accurately. They are able to build deep, passionate relationships with others, while still being introverted and are able to thrive without the presence of others. Interestingly, such features are particularly common among women. In fact, by some estimates, nearly one out of every five women may be an ISFJ – that comes to almost 20%! The ISFJ is sometimes called “The Defender” personality type because they are so dedicated to others’ feelings and needs. They also tend to be detail-oriented and decisive. 

What is the Most Common Myers-Briggs Personality Type?

Learn why the ISFJ Personality Type is considered the most common personality type.

Understanding ISFJs

Let’s take a closer look at ISFJs and their experiences.

ISFJs have strong social skills. Start here

ISFJs have high socio-emotional intelligence and care deeply about other people, whether or not they have close relationships with them. In fact, ISFJs may even be mistaken for extroverts because of how they relate to other people. These social skills are clearly beneficial for individuals as well as for the societies of which they are a part, which may contribute to how common ISFJs are. If you are an ISFJ who frequently feels drained or exhausted, make an effort to carve out time for yourself so you can regroup and recharge. Setting boundaries may help you remain more mentally and emotionally present. 

ISFJs are deeply emotional. 

As Sensing individuals, ISFJs take in information about the world through their five senses. They have an acute attention to detail and have an excellent memory for retaining that information. Moreover, as Feelers, they tend to make decisions using their emotions rather than in a linear, logical fashion. These characteristics make ISFJs loyal, dedicated friends who often form the backbone of their communities or organizations. They are invaluable for social function, which may be part of why they are so common overall. 

ISFJs can be perfectionists. 

Attention to detail has important benefits for individual people as well as their professional and social worlds. Being able to home in on the smallest details can be an incredible skill in professional fields as diverse as medicine, law, and business, as well as in managing a household and even in social settings like remembering friends’ birthdays or anniversaries. Society could not function without people who tuned into these details, which may impact the frequent presence of ISFJs. 

However, sometimes ISFJs can take things a step too far, becoming almost obsessive about nuances that they may or may not be able to control. For example, an ISFJ might plan the perfect corporate retreat, complete with a team-building ropes course, but the whole plan could be thrown off by bad weather completely beyond their control. If you are an ISFJ, try to show yourself some grace and accept the things you can’t change. There is something to be said for being able to enjoy the journey rather than the destination.

ISFJs prefer to operate behind the scenes. 

As Introverts, ISFJs often prefer to stay out of the spotlight. While they are rarely charismatic leaders, they are likely to be the speechwriters or planners on the team that ensures the leader’s success. Without the input and expertise of ISFJs, it would be much more difficult for others to accomplish their purported goals. ISFJs also often take on interpersonal support roles, such as remembering milestones like birthdays or anniversaries, remembering and accommodating dietary restrictions while placing catering orders, and even following up with colleagues or friends who’ve been going through a rough patch. ISFJs take their responsibilities to heart, whether they are explicit parts of their job description or not. It is easy to see why these traits would be invaluable for a society overall, since not everyone can be a leader.  

ISFJs prefer predictability.  

Chaos and constant change stress out ISFJs. They prefer predictability in their professional and personal lives. For example, when they are given a project, they expect the request to be specific and contain set requirements, a target timeline, and a relative priority in relation to their other projects. They also establish structured routines for everything from formatting work e-mails to getting ready for bed in the evening. Once they begin a project or task, an ISFJ will remain focused on it until they complete it. ISFJs dislike getting distracted or sidetracked along the way, and they often have difficulty understanding how others can work on multiple projects simultaneously or move on to something else while leaving their initial focus unfinished. This preference for structure is a common human trait, with even young children often showing a proclivity for order and organization. 

ISFJs and Careers

ISFJs are a great fit for deeply established careers with long histories that involve caring for others, such as medicine, education, religious roles, and counseling. The societal benefits of these careers may in part explain why ISFJs are so common. 

Why is the ISFJ the most common Myers-Briggs Personality Type? 

ISFJs’ ability to thrive both socially and independently may have contributed to their frequent occurrence in the general population. ISFJs are passionate people who go above and beyond the call of duty to support others. They can be reserved, but they are compassionate friends and determined employees once they come out of their shells.