Tall people are happier than the rest of us, and here’s why

Tall people are happier than the rest of us, and here’s why – words Alexa Wang

Being tall is inherently useful. Tall people can reach the top shelves in the supermarket, you don’t need to worry about who sits in front of you at the cinema, and you always get the best views at a gig.

As if that wasn’t enough, it has now been found that taller people are happier in general than the rest of us. So what exactly does height have to do with happiness?


Tall people are seen as more attractive

To anyone who’s “been out there”, it’s no surprise that the dating pool is full of people who find height attractive. From the statuesque models permeating our billboards and TV screens to dating app bios which include a minimum height requirement for men, it’s clear that an excess of height is considered highly desirable by many.

The National Bureau of Economic Research even found that taller men, in direct contrast with shorter men, marry more and are more likely to date better educated women. And this attitude can be found all over the world; Piotr Sorokowski, of the University of Wroclaw in Poland, discovered that the same beauty standard exists within the Hadza, an isolated group of indigenous nomads from a remote region of Tanzania.

Sorokowski’s methodology involved showing Hadza men and women photographs of male/female couples. When asked which height difference they would prefer in their own relationship, both men and women preferred the couple with the biggest height difference.

But for tall women at least, it’s not quite so simple. A Brunel University study found that short women with long legs are considered the most attractive by heterosexual men. However, men also have preconceived notions that tall women are more successful and wealthier than their shorter counterparts, which are no doubt attractive qualities to many.

Being tall helps your career

As if being considered more attractive wasn’t enough, an extra bit of height can also be a boon to your career. Taller people are more likely to be chosen for the more competitive jobs and even earn more money on average than smaller employees.

It’s likely that this career success stems from the fact taller people are considered to be more healthy, dominant and intelligent than shorter people. Scientists and researchers believe that this correlation between size and social status is actually one of our primal instincts. For example, sized-based hierarchies are prevalent in both bonobo and chimpanzee colonies; creatures who, as a species, are two of our closest primate relatives.

This instinct may have even reached as far as the world of American politics, where research has shown a worrying correlation between a presidential candidate’s height and how many votes are cast in their favour.

In South Korea these height biases go even further. Not only do Korean females earn up to 2% more for every centimetre of height, but companies often ask for height and weight measures on job applications. Because of attitudes like these, procedures such as cosmetic limb lengthening are becoming more and more popular.

It’s not all plain sailing for tall people

Padded bank accounts, successful careers, and an advantage in the dating game are some facts about being tall that cause them to be happier, being too tall may well come at a cost.

Research often shows that shorter people tend to live longer than their taller peers. One study has suggested that this is because shorter people are more likely to possess a so-called “longevity gene”, which acts to protect you from signs of aging. Rather than being the effect of a shorter stature, it appears as though this gene, FOXO3, is in fact the cause, as its presence leads carriers to develop smaller bodies. This study also found that short men are less likely to get cancer and are more likely to have lower blood insulin levels. So even though they may not be happier on average, being a person on the shorter side does have its perks.

Tall people are happier than the rest of us, and here’s why – words Alexa Wang


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