Sad News For the Vertically Challenged: Tall Men Are Happier And Richer, Study Says

By Boonsri Dickinson | September 9, 2009 3:39 pm

tall.jpgSo size does matter: Taller men are happier than shorter men. They’re also blessed with fewer worries and don’t get as sad or angry.

If this upsets you, don’t blame the messenger: These results are based on a study out of Princeton University published in the journal of Economics and Human Biology. Angus Deaton, a professor of economics and international affairs, interviewed 454,000 people on the phone and asked them to judge their life on a scale of one to ten, with one being the “worst possible life for you” and ten the “best possible life for you.” Wouldn’t you know it, the researchers also noted each person’s height.

Based on the Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale,  the team found that the taller respondents were happier, more educated, and richer. BBC reports:

Men who were above average height 5ft 10in (177.8cm) reported that they were standing higher on the ladder than men who were below average height.

They had an average ladder score of 6.55 compared to the shorter men who scored 6.41.

Women scored higher overall than men on the ladder scale and there was less difference between the taller and shorter women.

But psychologist Colin Gill makes a good point: While “there does appear to be a correlation between height and happiness and height and income,” being rich won’t make you happy on its own. It’s more complicated than that. Plus, the people who were happiest weren’t necessarily the tallest. So there’s that.

Related Content:
Discoblog: Short People’s Senses Faster Than Tall People’s

Image: flickr/ netsoftdesign

MORE ABOUT: happiness, height, Princeton
  • CarlZ

    Why do even science blogs fail so badly at reporting this kind of survey? Why do the words “on average” not appear anywhere in this report, nor any mention of how significant the difference is? Is height a bigger predictor of happiness than, say, being married, healthy, or religious? Is it a bigger predictor of intelligence than parental intelligence or income? Without such sublety, the whole report is palpable nonsense.

    The lunacy is compounded by, in other reports, speculation that “lower income” is somehow an outcome of short stature being attributable to malnutrition in childhood that in turn impacts intelligence and growth — as opposed to, you know, having short parents… Unless they’ve actually controlled for expected height based on genetic factors, this is the kind of ludicrous leap that rightly gets the soft sciences ridiculed by real scientists who actually respect causation over speculation.

    As to why shorter people might be less happy: many studies have proven that attractive people get treated better by others in every measurable way (not to mention being richer as a result of being more likely to get promoted), and height is an obvious element of attractiveness. So… well, duh. Taller people get treated better by life than shorter people, and shorter people are not oblivious to this. Congratulations, Prof. Deaton! Nobel Prize in the offing for you, I think!

    Come on, Discover: this is the kind of tabloidish reporting I expect from the daily press. From you I expect better.

    • James

      Wow, ‘someone’ has a chip on their shoulders. I can’t even imagine how s…unhappy you must be to post that kind of long-winded rant.

      Your social better. 

      But yeah, old news is old yet just stumbled upon it. I found these kind of sociological studies fascinating. Even more so that it confirms what I always observed but couldn’t quite establish.

  • Ethnicity, sexual orientation, hair length, body odour, penis size, disabilities and fried potatoes consumed

    Get over yourself CarlZzzzzz!

    Who would be so stupid as to think that every single tall person is happier than all the short people, in the world?

    And, even if that crazily naive person existed, I would imagine they would have to be very, very stupid, and on average, extremely masochistic, to want to read your pompous long-winded rant.

  • Wesley

    As a tall person, I really hope this news is true. I understand that tall people can be luckier in some regards, but we also have some things harder than others. It usually balances out though and the good outweighs the bad. We can be happy no matter who we are though!


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