Tall Men Make more Money…but only up to 6 Feet

Wednesday, May 20, 2015
(photo: Getty Images)

About to ask for a raise? You might have more luck if you do it wearing a pair of elevator shoes.


A study published in the Journal of Human Capital showed a difference in height among men, even just four or five inches, can result in higher earnings ranging from 9% to 15%, according to Joe Pinsker at The Atlantic. Pinsker also reported that another source indicated “an extra inch is worth almost $800 a year in elevated earnings.”


Some research showed “some inches are worth more than others,” Pinsker wrote, with bigger increases in earnings between 5’4” and 5’6”. Once you get to 6 feet tall though, the salary increases—at least those related to height—level off.


Height isn’t only an indicator of salary. A study using data from Germany showed that the taller a person is, the more likely they are to be an entrepreneur, as opposed to working in a desk job. Taller people are also happier in their professional lives, and it turns out, with their lives in general.


Maybe Randy Newman was right.

-Steve Straehley, Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

The Financial Perks of Being Tall (by Joe Pinsker, The Atlantic)


thomas samaras 9 years ago
I’ve studied the ramifications of increasing height on health, physical performance, intelligence, ecology and the risks of human survival for almost 40 years. The results, based on 40 papers, book chapters and books, are contrary to popular and scientific opinions. First, the observation that children are more intelligent because of our better diet goes against extensive nutrition research that shows the Western diet promotes not only taller and heavier people but also chronic disease (World Cancer Research Fund Report, 2007). The famous nutrition expert, Professor Barry Popkin, has also noted that chronic disease is a recent phenomenon, and the World Health Organization has reported that the affluent diet promotes chronic disease. The belief that shorter people are inherently less intelligent appears to be an artifact. For example, if we look at periods of exceptional intellectual achievements, they were also periods of short height. The ancient Egyptians and Greeks, the Elizabethan period and Renaissance, 16th C Holland, and two dynasties in China were relatively short compared to modern Europeans and North Americans. (Most of these populations averaged between 5’4” and 5’7”.) In addition, many of the world’s most creative people have been short or not much over 5’7”. Examples in literature and science include Alexander Pope, John Keats, Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, Steinmetz, Einstein, Millikan, Michelson, McClintock, Buckminster Fuller, and Madam Curie. Famous artists include Picasso, Juan Miro, Thomas Benton, William Hogarth, Salvador Dali, and Michelangelo. In music, Mozart, Beethoven, Mahler, and Stravinsky were also short by today’s standards. Many of these high achievers were less than 5’3”. As far as athletes go, gymnasts, ice skaters, divers, and marathon runners tend to be short. A Finnish study showed that a number athletic categories were shorter compared to the average military recruit. For example, boxers, long-distance runners, cross-country skiers, wrestlers and weightlifters averaged shorter than military recruits. The weightlifters were almost 2 inches shorter. It’s sad that scientists, NGOs and governments have ignored the dangers of a world of increasingly large people. Not only does promotion of taller height promote obesity and poor health, but it also threatens the future of humanity. The reason is that bigger body size comes with a cost. A world population of bigger people consumes more food, water, energy and raw materials. It also produces more waste, destroys more forests and animals, and promotes rising ocean levels and air pollution. In conclusion, the higher performance and pay of taller people is based on the social and economic advantages our society bestows on them. In addition, taller people are more often from higher income families to start with. This was shown by research that showed people who spent one or more of their three life phases in working class environments were shorter than those who spent all three phases of their lives in higher classes.

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