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Height and Income 

Height and Income

Inas Rashad* (2007) of Georgia State University finds that taller individuals enjoy a wage premium after controlling for demographic and geographic characteristics. This is true for all race-gender groups. A white male experiences a 5.4% increase in income for every 10 cm (or 4 inches) increase in height. In dollar terms, this is equivalent to an approximate increase of $1,924 in annual income. Similarly, white females experience an increase of 5.4%, or $1,818.

This study utilizes the 1984 – 2005 samples of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System in estimating trends in height over time by gender and race, and in analyzing the relationship between height and physical health and labor market outcomes in the United States. Results at mean values for males indicate that being 10 cm taller is associated with an $1874 – $2306 income premium. For females, results indicate that being 10 cm taller is associated with an $891 – $2243 earnings premium. These results are significant at the 1% level.

The last section of the table provides data recalculated to show Wage premiums per year for every inch above the mean height for each gender and race. Therefore, a white male enjoys $489 per year for every inch above the mean height when compared with fellow short white male. The difference is impressive for Hispanics, but taller black females do not see that much difference in their income.

Gender Race Percent Increase
of Annual Income
For 10cm/4 inches Wage premiums per year
for every inch above
the mean height
Male White 0.54 $1,924 $489
Male Black 0.77 $1,954 $496
Male Hispanic 1.04 $2,306 $586
Male Other 0.55 $1,874 $476
Female White 0.54 $1,818 $462
Female Black 0.42 $891 $226
Female Hispanic 1.07 $2,243 $570
Female Other 0.49 $1,613 $410
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