Taller people have the edge when it comes to happiness

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Taller people are happier on average than shorter people, with each extra inch in height giving as much satisfaction as a four percent increase in income, according to a U.S. study.

Spectators watch the Champion Hurdle Trophy race on the first day of the Cheltenham National Hunt Festival meeting in Gloucestershire, March 15, 2005. REUTERS/Mike Finn-Kelcey

Data from a Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index study found taller people were more satisfied with their lives, more likely to report positive emotions like enjoyment and happiness, and less likely to report emotions like anger, sadness, and stress.

“On average, men who gave their lives the worst possible rating were more than three-quarters of an inch shorter than the average man,” the researchers said in a statement.

The Gallup data suggested it would take a 29 percent increase in income to have the same effect on men’s life satisfaction as moving from below-average to above-average height.

“Alternatively, each additional inch of height has the same effect on reported life satisfaction as a four percent increase in family income,” they calculated.

But the Gallup Poll Daily said there were also other factors that had to be taken into account when relating height to happiness -- not least income and education.

Men who did not graduate from high school are on average more than an inch shorter than average-height men are and are up to two inches shorter than the average college-educated man.

The differences were found to be slightly less for women.

“The main reason why taller people do better is because they have higher incomes, they are better educated, and they work in higher status occupations,” said the researchers.

“People with more education have higher income and higher status jobs, and they earn more money. Money, in turn, is a powerful predictor of life satisfaction.

The researchers deferred to other studies which have looked at why taller people are more likely than shorter people to have reached their full cognitive potential which suggested cognitive and physical function developed together.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index tracks the well-being of U.S. residents daily with the results of this survey based on interviewing over 1,000 people a day from January 2 to July 7.