Do Tall People Make More Money?

Tall people are used to being asked “how’s the weather up there?” Well as it turns out, tall people are making it rain on everyone else. That’s right—a growing body of research suggests that tall people make more money than their diminutive counterparts. 

Talk about a “height advantage.”

How much more money do tall people make?

According to a study by the Journal of Human Capital, four to five inches of extra height can equate to an increase in salary of up to 15 percent in Western countries.

A 2003 review of four large U.S. and UK studies led by Timothy Judge, a management professor at the University of Florida, likewise concluded that someone who is seven inches taller would be expected to earn $5,525 more per year.

If you take this over the course of a 30-year career and compound it, we’re talking about literally hundreds of thousands of dollars of earnings advantage that a tall person enjoys.

Timothy Judge

Remarkably, the research even suggests that height plays a bigger role than gender in determining salary, though it’s difficult to prove that outright since it depends on how you analyze the gender salary gap.

The truth is, tall people do make more money. It’s difficult, she added, to attribute the elevated earnings to anything else. They’re not nicer…or prettier. They’re not anything else. But they’ve sort of gotten a halo in society at this point.

Arianne Cohen, author of “The Tall Book, “in an interview on the American Public Media radio program, “Marketplace.”

So why do tall people make more money? Bigger brains?

Well, a study, published in the National Bureau of Economic Research, suggests that it actually does boil down to intelligence. As early as age three, tall people score higher on aptitude tests.

While there’s some debate about correlation vs. causation, a study in The Journal of Psychology asserts that taller people have better social skills and more self-confidence—perhaps because of their physical stature—which can translate to higher emotional intelligence (EQ), which can then aid in pressure situations, namely in the workplace. 

As the thinking goes, taller kids are looked to by their peers as leaders earlier on, which can influence their own self-confidence and ambitions. In other words, tall folks exude leadership.

It’s a theory that has legs. A study using data collected by the German government suggests that tall people earn more money, in part, because they’re more likely to become entrepreneurs. Do all entrepreneurs automatically climb to the top one percent? Of course not. But you can also make the case that business owners have a clearer path to financial freedom than everyone else.

Still, that’s not taking into account that being tall is simply more expensive. Between more food to sustain bigger bodies, houses with higher ceilings, plane tickets in the exit row, you could argue that the extra income barely offsets the inevitably higher costs associated with being tall. Suppose tall people do make more money—that doesn’t mean they net more money.

All that to say, if you’re short and you’ve made it this far in the article, you’re probably mad right now. And that’s understandable. Just remember, height isn’t requisite to success or high earning potential. If you don’t believe me, consider this:

Kevin Hart is 5’4,” and he makes $59 million a year. That’s way more than any other comedian in the world. 

So, worst comes to worst, you can always start telling jokes.

Jared McKiernan

Jared is the editor of Tall AF. As a 6'6 man, he's on a mission to find stuff that fits for the tall community, whether that's clothing, office furniture, or airlines with the most legroom. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling, backpacking, reading, writing, watching hoops, and helping sweet old ladies at Target reach items on the top shelf.

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