Would you rather get married earlier, or stay married longer? Here's what the data says
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Tall men marry earlier but are more likely to cheat and divorce. Short men are more likely to stay married, according to new research that indicates it's the height of ignorance to discount personal stature as a factor in several aspects of one's life.
The New York University sociologists who wrote a working paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research told Quartz that it amounts to a "height-based status exchange." Writers Abigail Weitzman and Dalton Conley noted that short men have less-desirable physical status but make up for it with better proportional earning power.
To gather data, they looked to the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, which has followed the same 4,500 American families (adding study subjects as those families grew) since 1968.
The researchers categorized men as short if they are below 5-foot-7 and tall if they are at least 6-foot-2. They noted that short men are 1,450 percent more likely to marry someone who is taller than an average-height man.
As you climb through the height data, though, it gets a bit more complicated. Writes Emily Morgan for Headlines and Global News: "These height-challenged men do pick much younger women, who may not possess the intelligence level a taller man looks for in a potential spouse. To make up for their shortness, these men make more money when in a relationship and are 24 percent less likely to earn less than their spouse."
Click the slideshow at the top of this page to view 7 ways marriage isn't the same for men and women.
There's less difference in the incomes of tall men and their spouses, the working paper said.
Morgan adds, "The taller man marries more educated women, older women and women of the same race. The authors' research still supported historic gender power roles, finding that potential partners associate tall stature with attractiveness, masculinity and status."
"This further confirms an existence of height-based status exchange in which short men compensate for their lower physical status with higher proportional earnings, while tall men appear more likely to use their status to attract women with higher relative earnings," the NYU researchers concluded.
Scientific knowledge based on factors like height continues to inch up. For instance, The Telegraph notes that "on average, tall men rise above their shorter colleagues in the workplace. Not only are around 90 percent of high-power business CEOs above average height, but studies have also shown that just a couple of extra inches of vertical growth results in a substantial increase in earning power."
Slate was more concise when summarizing research on height and income: "It pays to be tall."
Each extra inch translates to about $1,000 more in annual income, wrote Steven E. Landsburg in that piece: "If you're 6 feet tall, you probably earn about $6,000 more than the equally qualified 5-foot-6-inch shrimp down the hall."
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