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Tall People Get Paid More

Tall people enjoy a lifelong advantage. Companies reward stature with a larger paycheck.

Height matters. Tall people get larger salaries, higher status and more respect. Furthermore, the advantage seems to be life-long.

Timothy Judge, a business professor at the University of Florida, calculated that each inch in height corresponds to $789 extra in pay each year, even when gender, weight and age are taken into account. An extra six inches, for example, results in an extra $4,734 in annual income.

In management and sales positions, the relationship between height and salary was closely related. Yet height also mattered in less social occupations such as accounting, programming, engineering and clerical work.

Judge also found that height was more important than gender in predicting income. Taller women get paid more than their shorter counterparts. The tall began their careers with bigger paychecks, and kept the fiscal advantage into their 40s and beyond.

In Judge's analysis, height was also related to work performance. Supervisors felt that tall workers were more effective employees. By some measurements, such as sales volume, their performance actually did tend to be better.

Judge reviewed four large-scale studies—three from the U.S. and one from Great Britain—that followed participants from childhood to adulthood, taking note of their work and personal lives.

"Perhaps society is not consciously aware of the importance we place on height," notes Judge. "If the status accorded to tall people has evolutionary origins—when height signaled strength and power—these same psychological processes may exist today; just in our subconscious."