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The Connection Between Height And Earning Power

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Height and success or height and earning power: if you ask anyone if there’s a connection, most people will say, yes absolutely there is one. But where did this idea come from anyway?

You might be pretty surprised.

Biblical Evidence Now Confirms Giants

David Goliath

Certainly giants have been with us since the beginning of time. The Bible has accounts of giants that caused fear in the land.

In one account, giants scared 10 out of 12 Israelite spies so much that they wouldn’t enter the Promised Land because of them, and the 10 were killed by God later for fearing the giants.

Obsession With Tall Men Took Over The Military And Political Arena

Tall Army

In the 1700s, King Frederick William of Prussia, had an obsession with men who were tall and would pay any price to recruit them into his army.

Between 1713 and 1740 when he reigned, King Frederick William stuffed the Prussian army with tall men and ended up with 83,000 of them at the end.

So convinced of the connection between height and military success, he pointed out that taller men took longer strides, could throw a weapon farther, and they could easily reload the long-barreled muskets used during that time.

No one under the height of six feet was allowed into the army, and the head of the army was 7 feet tall.

What was happening in Prussia became a fad in other parts of the world, and the kicker is that tall men were traded politically as commodities or given as gifts from one country, especially Russia, to Prussia.

Frederick William even hired agents to kidnap and smuggle them to him for use in his army. He even initiated laws where they could only mate with tall women to get more tall men for his army.

To The Aristocracy, Height Equaled Power And Dominion

His experiment in eugenics didn’t work, but nevertheless, greater height translated to greater market value. But not only that, being tall also meant a person had moral strength and social domination.

Using Height To Their Advantage

It’s no surprise that men tried to desert the army shortly after Frederick William died. And because height was used as a method of identification, tall men used it to their advantage.

They would sleep during the daytime as well as night, since a person gains about an inch in height after a good night of sleep.

Height And Earning Power In Athletes: Obvious Connection

Lebron James

When thinking of the connection between height and earning power now, all one has to do is think of the salaries of basketball players, the largest congregation of tall people in today’s times.

Do they make more than most of the population? Yes, absolutely.

Studies On Height And Earning Power Over The Last 50+ Years

Evidence ResearchIn 1969, the front page of the Wall Street Journal contained a summary of one of the first studies on height and earning power.

If headhunters had to choose between two equally qualified candidates, 75% of the time, those who were taller got the job.

And research out of the University of Pennsylvania stated that men taller than 6’2” had incomes 12.4% higher than those under 6’. That’s pretty significant.

Here’s a quick chart to show that difference:

Income Level

Income Level for Tall Men

$50,000

$56,000

$60,000

$67,200

$70,000

$78,400

$80,000

$89,600

$100,000

$112,400

That 12.4 percent increase could now account for the purchase of a second car, a nice down payment of a boat, or a nice wardrobe.

CEO’s Are Tall In The U.S.

In the U.S., according to Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink, only 14.5 percent of males in the U.S. are six feet tall or taller, yet 58 percent of the CEOs were in that height category.

FindingsSurprising Findings On Height And Earning Power

Probably the most interesting study on height and success or height and earning power was the one done by Persico and Postlewaite who used data from long-term studies to determine the connection.

Here are their findings:

1. Every inch of additional height added 2.2% more income if you were British.

2. Every inch of additional height added 1.8% more income if you were American.

3. The tallest 25% earned 13% more income than the shortest 25%.

4. The income discrepancies for height were about equal to prejudices against women or certain races.

The most surprising finding of all was that an individual’s height during adolescence predicted future income. The scientists said that height at age sixteen uniquely influences future wages.

Something happens between the ages of 11 and 16 that influences income, and it’s possibly social activity, sports activity, or even the timing of puberty. No one can say for sure.

Resource: Size Matters, by Stephen Hall, 2006.

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