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16 Types

ISTP Overview

Key principles of the ISTP personality type with global survey data

Page contents:


People with ISTP type personality are enthusiastic when it comes to deciphering the physical world. They excel at achieving their goals and are driven by the strong curiosity they possess. ISTPs are inquisitive and this inquisitiveness is shown in their determination to unearth the mysteries in their lives and that they forever seek new adventures and answers. Coupled with their industriousness and the confidence they possess in themselves they are great achievers.


ISTP Principles

What are the core principles behind the ISTP personality type?

ISTPs are curious to learn how things work and they are driven to find ways to make things work better. They like to learn by doing, so they are happiest when either fixing something up or creating something new. Calm and rational, they have the ability to set their feelings aside and spend long hours working in solitude in order to satisfy their curiosity, learn a new skill, or accomplish a goal. Far more interested in physical reality than philosophical discussions, many famous ISTPs have been scientists, explorers, and inventors.

  • Perpetually occupied with discoveries, inventions, mechanical repairs, and other hands-on projects.
  • Conversation often limited to observations, information, and areas of inquiry.
  • Capable of spending majority of their time in solitude when focusing on a new task.
  • Less fussed by social norms, such as dress and small talk in polite conversation.

Action-Oriented

ISTPs get bored when they don't have a problem to solve and when they aren't facing some challenge or danger. They often say that they think with their hands, making them a very practical personality type.

face reading open book

ISTPs can keep occupied by setting themselves new goals and challenges

Direct Communicators

ISTPs value efficiency in every part of their lives, including communication. Their heads are filled with practical concerns while their emotions take a back seat, so don't often seek to make emotional connections with people. They get right to the point when they have something to say, hence why they will often find small talk boring and would rather latch straight on to a topic which interests everyone in the chat.

Launching straight into a common topic of interest will keep an ISTP engaged in the conversation and thankful to have avoided unnecessary pleasantries.

Solitary

Living within their busy minds and deeply engaged in the physical world, ISTPs don't often feel very lonely, even though they do tend to spend most of their time in solitude. Many are content with being single for extended periods of time not feeling a great rush or impulsive desires to be with someone. Their circle of friends is usually not large and will be carefully hand-selected from those they've come across who let them be who they want to be.

blue star

Being solitary does not mean feeling lonely. ISTPs are satisfied with the time they have to themselves. It is for them to use as they wish and their curiosity will keep them occupied throughout their solitude.

Pragmatic

ISTPs have little use for displays of wealth or power, or for anything beyond the minimal requirements for creature comforts. Their homes are as decorated as they feel they need to be and may be cluttered with gadgets and practical items rather than being adorned with sentimental mementos. They dress for function rather than for fashion as this alludes to their practical nature.

light bulb tip icon

Sometimes seen as minimalists, but better described as pragmatists, an ISTP will choose function over form in many aspects of their lives from dress to home utensils.


Data: ISTP World Heatmap

What is the global distribution of the ISTP personality type?

Which countries have the highest percentage of ISTPs? Is this type more common in certain countries? Explore these questions and more with our research data.

Figure 1: Percent of population with ISTP type

world heatmap

What this chart shows

This heatmap shows the percent of each country's population who are ISTP. This helps us to easily identify global distribution of this personality type. Norway, the United Kingdom and Tanzania all have an above-average proportion of ISTPs, whereas Egypt and Venezuela have a below-average proportion of ISTPs.

Notes:
  • 1. Countries with less than 0.001% share of global population have not been included due to sample size.
  • 2. n=27985
  • 3. Population: all
  • 4. Live dataset last updated:

Figure 2: Regions with highest and lowest percent of ISTP types

Top ten countries with highest and lowest percent of respondents with ISTP personality type

regions with highest percent

What this chart shows

This chart shows the top ten countries with the highest proportion of people with ISTP personality type and ten countries with the lowest proportion of people with ISTP personality type. This helps us to easily identify global distribution of this personality type. For example we see Tanzania, Norway, the United Kingdom and Paraguay having an above-average proportion, well over 7.0% of ISTPs whereas Egypt and Venezuela has a below-average proportion of ISTPs right down at 2% and 1.6%, respectively. The global average for ISTPs is 4.9% of the population, so roughly you can expect 1 in 20 people you meet to have this personality type.

Notes:
  • 1. Countries with less than 0.001% share of global population have not been included due to sample size.
  • 2. n=27985
  • 3. Population: all
  • 4. Live dataset last updated:

ISTP: The Four Letters Explained

What does ISTP stand for?

The four letters of the ISTP personality stand for: (I)ntroverted, (S)ensing, (T)hinking, and (P)erceiving. Let's consider each of these four traits.

introverted

Introverted

(I)ntroverted vs (E)xtraverted

An introvert is often thought of as a quiet, reserved, and thoughtful individual. They don't seek out special attention or social engagements, as these events can leave introverts feeling drained.

  • Prefer time to themselves
  • Find social interaction an effort
  • Have close circle of friends
  • Introspective and curious
  • Prefer writing to talking
  • Prefer working alone

Introverts and extraverts can be separated based on how they regain energy. Introverts prefer minimally stimulating environments, and they need time alone to recharge. Extraverts refuel by being with others.

sensing

Sensing

I(N)tuitive vs (S)ensing

Sensing types are focused on the real-world, valuing concrete evidence, logic, and facts. They rely on their senses to navigate the world, rarely believing things they have not themselves personally experienced.

  • Pragmatic and realistic
  • Employs absolute thinking
  • Values lived experience
  • Prefers plain language
  • Less interested in abstractions

Sensing types pay attention to details, rather than the bigger picture. They prefer to work with raw and unadulterated information, refusing to make assumptions or draw conclusions until they have understood the crux of the issue.

thinking

Thinking

(T)hinking vs (F)eeling

Thinking types are objective. They make decisions based on facts. They are ruled by their head instead of their heart. Thinking people judge situations and others based on logic. They value truth over tact and can easily identify flaws.

  • Use logic and objectivity
  • Seek the truth
  • Value reason and rationality
  • Direct with people
  • Prefer facts to opinions

Thinking types are critical thinkers and oriented toward problem-solving. Thinking does not mean a person is without emotion.

perceiving

Perceiving

(J)udging vs (P)erceiving

Perceiving types are cognitively flexible and open to new possibilities. They prefer variety and unpredictability to routine, welcoming change and rejecting rigidity whenever possible.

  • Open to new possibilities
  • Acts spontaneously
  • Adapts to new information
  • Seeks new experiences
  • Lives in the moment

Perceiving types are comfortable making decisions spontaneously, or even postponing decisions until more information is available. They focus predominantly on the present moment, preferring tasks which are open-ended and flexible, rather than those with deadlines or timetables.


Data: What percentage of people are ISTP?

Which MBTI® type is the rarest and which is the most common?

Figure 3: Global distribution of ISTP types

How does the percent of ISTP type people compare with other types?

ISTP how-rare

What this chart shows

This chart shows percentage of the population who are ISTP. We see that INTJ is the rarest and ESTJ is the most common. ISTP is just below the median standing joint 5th rarest along with ENFJ with 4.9% of the population falling into this MBTI type.

Notes:
  • 1. n=29746
  • 2. Population: Global
  • 3. Live dataset last updated:

Data: ISTP Age Statistics

Are ISTPs more or less likely to be in a particular age group?

Figure 4: percentage of ISTP types by age

How does the proportion of ISTP types vary by age?

ISTP by age

What this chart shows

This chart shows what percent of each age group are ISTP. Compared to the average of all ages, we see there is the highest concentration of ISTPs in the under 21 age group and the lowest concentration with those participants who are between the ages of 51 and 60. There is a downward trend with how many people in age group belong to the ISTP personality type as the age groups increase. The only notable exception here is a blip right at the end for the over 61s.

Notes:
  • 1. n=40574
  • 2. Population: Global
  • 3. Live dataset last updated:

Data: ISTP Genders

Survey data on ISTP types by genders

ISTPs are mostly male (52.3%) with 46.9% female and 0.9% other.

Figure 5: Type ISTP by gender

genders

What this chart shows

The split between genders across the ISTP population is 46.9% female, 52.3% male, and 0.9% other. Compared to the average population, ISTPs have a slightly higher proportion of males.

Notes:
  • 1. n=27985
  • 2. Population: global
  • 3. Dataset last updated:
  • 4. Data is derived from users' self-report responses to the question "What is your gender?"

 


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Ellie Simmonds, MSc

University of Bath, Psychology

Ellie Simmonds, MSc in Psychology from University of Bath. Ellie is an associate lecturer on psychometric assessments and has extensive knowledge of the 16-type model.