There are several articles that state that tall people make more money. According to wikipedia it is a known fact that some jobs require tall people, however I'm skeptical that on average this is indeed a fact. Do taller people earn more money on average?

  • The assertions are not that jobs require tall people, it's that tall people are paid more.
    – Nicole
    Mar 21, 2012 at 17:56
  • no, look at the wikipedia article it says "Some jobs do require or at least favor tall people, including some manual labor jobs, law enforcement, most professional sports, and fashion modeling."
    – isJustMe
    Mar 21, 2012 at 18:41
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    Wut? This is a commonly used trope to teach false correlation in statistics class (the real correlation is that men are on average taller than women, and also earn more). Do these articles actually mean this seriously? Mar 21, 2012 at 18:56
  • @Konrad Rudolph: you should write that as an answer
    – nico
    Mar 21, 2012 at 21:31
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    @ajax333221 And apparently the analysis explicitly corrected for this – which is good. But neither article mentioned this. Mar 22, 2012 at 9:45

1 Answer 1


According to a meta-analysis of four studies (>8k total subjects) by Judge and Cable (2004):

height is positively related to income after controlling for sex, age, and weight.

A study by Persico et al 2004 provide further review and analysis of the height-income relationship, and point out that most presidents are well above the average height of their time (see fig below). Finally, a Scientific American article provides an interesting discussion of the relationship between height and other traits.

enter image description here.

Judge and Cable, 2004,The effect of physical height on workplace success and income: preliminary test of a theoretical model. J Appl Psychol. Jun;89(3):428-41. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.89.3.428

Persico, Nicola, Andrew Postlewaite, and Dan Silverman. 2004. The Effect of Adolescent Experience on Labor Market Outcomes: The Case of Height,” Journal of Political Economy, 112(5) (2004), 1019-1053 doi:10.1086/422566

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    Silvio Berlusconi, Nicolas Sarkozy and Benito Mussolini are/were all quite short. Must be a right wing thing.
    – nico
    Mar 25, 2012 at 18:47
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    The "average height in population", is that overall population or just adult male population?
    – vartec
    Nov 9, 2012 at 12:04
  • Looks like the mean (5'6) if for men, not the entire population (according to wolframalpha) Nov 9, 2012 at 14:01
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    The height of presidents is noise in this case - most of the leaders of the most powerful countries on Earth are average or below average height (France, Canada, Russia, Japan, India, etc.) I think for this answer to be scientific it would have to look at different types of jobs, even if looking exclusively at America. As it is phrased the question is as subjective as 'Do people of color earn less money' - it is useless without context.
    – Stumbler
    Dec 10, 2016 at 17:58
  • @Stumbler Your comment only addresses the one paper on the heights of presidents. I agree that this would be insufficient evidence if it was the only evidence. However, I provided three references, only one of which uses heights of presidents as evidence. Did you have a chance to review the Judge & Cable 2004 and Scientific American articles? Dec 12, 2016 at 22:11

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