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tom_g's avatar

Height and financial success?

Asked by tom_g (16575 points ) February 20th, 2012

I moved from a middle/working class town three years ago to an upper middle class suburb and noticed something odd. The men in my old town (A) are significantly shorter than the people in my current town (B).

At first I thought it was merely confirmation bias and I was ignoring all of the misses. However, whenever I go to a school event, I have the ability to stand back and observe.

When I lived in Town A and went to school events, I would socialize with the dads and found that most dads were shorter than I was. A few were my height, but it seems that nobody was taller than me.

Now that I live in Town B, there are only a handful of dads that are shorter than I am. Most are at least my height (6’1”), and there are a good percentage of them that are taller than I am.

Googling “height and financial success” yields some results, which is just fascinating to me. (“In the U.S. population, about 14.5 percent of all men are six feet or over. Among CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, that number is 58 percent.”

Has anyone experienced or noticed this? Should I fear for my boys because they are small for their age?

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13 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

From my personal experience, headmasters of independent day schools were, on balance, much taller than the average male.

digitalimpression's avatar

58% isn’t really staggering.. especially considering the average height of a man.

Though there are some aspects of a leader that people tend to subconsciously look for (such as physical presence) these aspects are by no means a requirement for success.

blueiiznh's avatar

I would not fear for the because of their stature.

As long as they are happy in who they are and with what they do, who gives a rats ass about the rest.

Money can’t buy you happiness but it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery.
~miligan

zenvelo's avatar

There have been studies that show taller men are more successful. Same is true for presidential candidates: the taller one generally wins. It’s not absolute; but it does indicate a bias towards taller people.

marinelife's avatar

Height has a direct correlation to success, but not an inevitable one.

“NPR points out that Martin Luther King, Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, John McCain and Tom Cruise are all talented, American and 5 feet 7 inches tall.” Buzzfeed

wundayatta's avatar

This is well-known. It’s a pain in the ass if you happen to be a short person with no reason to live, a la Randy Newman. But whatcha gonna do?

I recently found out that my grandmother castigated both her daughters for marrying short men.

I try not to let it bother me. Life is not a fair game to play.

deni's avatar

It’s not just you. This is talked about in depth in the book Freakonomics. Yep. If you are a short man you are much less likely to head a big company.

tom_g's avatar

Thanks everyone. I did some more googling. Hmmm…

Has anyone else noticed this? I feel have felt short (at 6’1”) while at some events. A few weeks ago we had the father/daughter dance, and it was absurd.

My boys are going to be short. That’s fine. I just want them to have as much opportunity as someone who is “tall”. This whole thing seems ridiculous.

wundayatta's avatar

@tom_g I hope you have told your kids that life isn’t fair. There is nothing to be done about this. All you can do is your best and ride that as far as it will take you. Not everyone needs to be a CEO or make a few million dollars a year. There is room for people to play other roles. Biology is destiny to some degree. But we still have a lot of freedom to screw around.

zenvelo's avatar

@tom_g Teenagers these days seem to be a good 4 inches taller than when I was in high school. There were only a few girls in high school who were taller than me (I am 5’ 8”); now at my son’s high school it seems like half the girls are taller than me.

tom_g's avatar

Ok, so this was clearly a stupid question the more I look into it. This has been well established for some time. I guess I had never really experienced it. At 6’1”, I had never felt short before. I just went to Starbucks and there were 4 men in the place. All of them were taller than me by about 3 inches (I’m 6’1”).

Oh, and yes @wundayatta, my kids have been hearing that life isn’t fair for some time.

wundayatta's avatar

@tom_g You’re welcome to come hang around me. You’ll feel quite smug tall 24/7!

partyrock's avatar

I hear about this too and was just reading about it.. has to do with status too, and power. It’s very interesting. I wonder what it is for women? Like the bigger boobs or nicer hair the woman has, the more loved she will be…? Kind of like here, that taller men make more money (or are the head of a company, you know what I mean)

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