Size Matters: How Height Affects Happiness & Success

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Several surveys have found that tall people earn more money. According to some studies, each extra inch is worth $1000 a year. Science reporter Stephen S. Hall explores how physical size relates to success in Size Matters.

Size Matters is available for purchase at


Stephen S. Hall

Comments [7]

Judith Widmann

I was listening to this program when I had to enter the supermarket. Within two minutes, I experienced one of the problems of being short, because I had to ask for help from a (relatively tall) store employee to reach a box of cereal on the top shelf. I was once 5' 1/2" but I am now only 4'11" (the incredible shrinking woman??).
In my fantasy, I become rich enough to purchase the seat in front of me in the theater! On the other hand, there are worse problems than being short.

Jul. 03 2007 01:24 PM
Rocky from New York

Interesting story - it's been the story of my life. I noticed that there was no mention of how difficult it can be to find women who are open to being with a shorter man. Short women want a tall man and tall women are uncomfortable with a short one. Go figure...

I also found much bias in the work world. People are comfortable making harrassing comments regarding height, but as noted in the interview, racial or ethnic comments of a similar ilk are found to be unacceptable. I have had to survive this and many other double standards as a result of my stature.

Jul. 03 2007 12:43 PM
anthony clune from downtown

Don't forget wit. A few of the bullies I knew are selling pizzas and cars now. Smaller boys suffer early and are rewarded with riches and beautiful women (or men) now.

Jul. 03 2007 12:38 PM
Taryn from NYC

I'm 5'11" and female, and all my life I've been asked if I play basketball. People also remark "Wow, You are so tall." How do you suppose they would feel if I said, "Wow, you are so short!"

Jul. 03 2007 12:28 PM
Sarah from Brooklyn

I feel that this issue can be complex for women as well. I'm five foot and my height has always been viewed as being cute. Small and fiesty, they say. I've always loved being my size. On the other hand, being a small woman in buisness, I've often found myself having to work hard to be taken seriously. I often wear heels, because I feel the extra height helps people to view me as an adult and take me seriously.

Jul. 03 2007 12:18 PM
carolita from manhattan

In college I was tall and pretty, but when I became a model, I was the short, ugly model! Then I stopped modelling and went back to being considered tall and pretty again. Then I went back into modelling and was short, even fat! and a "character face" again! It all depends where you are. I learned through my experience never to believe anyone, because the standards of beauty and height differ and carry more or less weight depending where and who you are. This is what kids need to know!

Jul. 03 2007 12:18 PM
Amy from NYC

While from a public health perspective, it probably isn't a good thing that average American height (even amongst the native born) isn't growing, as a 4'10" woman, I can't help but be somewhat relieved that I won't become even more left behind for practical and selfish reasons. Because manufacturers take changes in average height/weight into account for their products, very short individuals would have an even harder time finding everyday items such as furniture and clothing. I've been documenting my experiences on my blog at Some Small Sense ( and cannot escape the conclusion that it is simply more costly in time, money, and frustration to be shorter than everyone else. Not only do we suffer from the often negative attention from our height, but I often feel that there's also a literal financial "short tax" forced upon us too.

Jul. 03 2007 12:15 PM

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