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What is the least chosen color?

Choosing a favorite color is a common question asked of people to gain insight into their personality and preferences. However, the flip side is which color do people like the least? Understanding the most disliked colors can be just as revealing about human psychology.

The Psychology of Color Preferences

Our color choices are influenced by cultural associations, personal experiences, and even our biological makeup. Certain colors evoke strong reactions and emotions in people, while others go virtually unnoticed.

Cool colors like blue and green are often favored for their calming effect. Warm colors like red and orange can increase arousal and stimulate appetite and conversation. Bright, saturated colors tend to be exciting and bold, while pale, muted shades are considered more elegant and soothing.

Gender also plays a role. Stereotypically, blue is seen as a masculine color, while pink is feminine. Men have a slight preference for blues and greens, while women favor reds and purples. However, these gender norms have shifted over time as color meanings evolve.

Most Hated Colors

When asked about their least favorite color, people tend to reject colors for the following reasons:

  • Ugly or unappealing aesthetic
  • Negative associations or meanings
  • Difficult to match or incorporate into outfits
  • Overused and saturated
  • Boring, dull, or depressing

With those factors in mind, the most universally disliked colors seem to be:


Brown elicits feelings of dirtiness, earthiness, and gloom. It’s considered a dull, sad, and unsophisticated color. Brown is also very common in nature, causing people to overlook it easily.


Bright orange can look harsh and abrasive to some. It’s also associated with warning signs and safety hazards. People tend to describe orange as loud, cheap, or tacky.


Pure bright yellow can cause eye strain when overused. It’s an energetic, youthful color that can seem unsophisticated. Yellow is also very attention-grabbing, which some find overwhelming.

Survey Data on Unpopular Colors

Actual survey data confirms brown, orange, and yellow as the most disliked colors by Americans. A Harris Poll survey in 2016 asked over 2,000 adults their least favorite color from a list. Here were the top results:

Rank Color Percentage Selecting as Least Favorite
1 Brown 29%
2 Orange 18%
3 Yellow 11%
4 Purple 10%
5 Gray 7%

Brown was decisively the top choice, selected by 29% of respondents. Orange and yellow followed distantly, each around 10-15%. Overall, warm and dull colors were rejected most often.

Gender Differences

The Harris Poll also uncovered some gender divides. Here were the top two least favorite colors for each gender:

  • Men – Orange (22%), Brown (21%)
  • Women – Brown (33%), Orange (15%)

While both genders disliked brown and orange overall, men had a stronger aversion to orange compared to women.

Generational Preferences

A survey by YouGov looked at how color preferences differ across generations. Here were the top two most hated colors by age group:

  • Gen Z (18-24) – Brown (20%), Orange (13%)
  • Millennials (25-40) – Orange (21%), Brown (17%)
  • Gen X (41-55) – Orange (21%), Brown (16%)
  • Baby Boomers (56-75) – Orange (18%), Yellow (16%)

Orange was universally one of the top despised colors across all generations. Millennials and Gen X had the strongest dislike of orange compared to other age groups.

Kids’ Preferences

Among children, green and yellow tend to be less favored. In one study published in Developmental Psychology, researchers asked 4 to 5-year-olds to sorted color cards. The colors sorted last included olive green, yellow-green, and yellow.

However, color preferences change with age throughout childhood. Younger kids prefer primary colors while older children like more nuanced shades.

Regional Differences

Color associations can also vary geographically and culturally. For example, green and blue are considered unlucky colors in Latin America. White symbolizes death in Asia. Red represents purity in India rather than passion or danger as seen in western cultures.

These associations may influence individual color preferences within those regional populations. However, more research is needed to analyze specific color dislikes across geographic regions.


In summary, the most universally disliked colors around the world appear to be brown, orange, and yellow. Brown elicits feelings of dirtiness and gloom. Bright orange can look abrasive and is linked to hazard warnings. Pure yellow causes eye strain and feels unsophisticated.

These color aversions stem from cultural associations and biological responses. Color preferences also differ by gender, age, geography, and personal experiences. Understanding the psychology behind most hated colors gives insight into human perception, emotion, and behavior.