What makes a happy wife? Good-looking husband? Kind and hardworking husband? Could a tall husband probably make a happier wife? Based on research, that could be the answer.
According to Medium, women tend to prefer taller to shorter men. Some might say that this could be just personal preference, but there’s actually research done on that. In research done by Kitae Sohn, an economist at Konkuk University in Seoul, South Korea, he found out that male dating profiles advertising tallness receive more responses—resulted in getting more dates, and taller men are more likely to marry.
He discovered that women act on their desires—if they can help it, they pair up with taller men.
Sohn harvested his data from two large datasets collected in Indonesia—the Indonesian Family Life Survey (IFLS) and the Indonesian Family Life Survey East (IFLS East).
“Indonesia presents an interesting case because it belonged to the region where the mean height was the shortest in the world over the past two centuries; the population remains one of the shortest populations in the world at present. When tallness is scarce, women may enjoy more happiness from tallness than otherwise,” wrote Sohn in his paper.
Began in 1993, these longitudinal projects include a survey of more than 22,000 individuals living in more than 7,200 households and have revisited their respondents periodically ever since.
With their height measured, the question in the Life Surveys asked;
“Taken all things together how would you say things are these days — would
you say you were very happy, pretty happy, or not too happy?”
Sohn’s analysis of the data revealed that a 10cm increase in this height difference was associated with a 3.9% increase in the probability that women would report they were feeling very happy, rather than pretty happy or not too happy. On average, Indonesian men are 10.9cm taller than their wives.
Sohn reasoned that this is because taller men enjoy all sorts of privileges on account of their stature, including higher wages and social dominance. As men’s height is related to their income levels, Sohn suspected that the relationship between the husband’s height and wife’s happiness could be explained by taller men earning high wages.
In other words, tall men might have happier wives because they are wealthier, not just because of their height. A 100% increase in a man’s salary accounted for a 2.1% greater probability that his wife would check the ‘very happy’ box.
However, a study by New York University scholars Abigail Weitzman and Dalton Conley from 1986 to 2009 found out different results after observing more than 3,000 pairs. Men below 168 cm show better results as they were said to be more willing to share housework and lower probability of divorce.
This is possible as Sohn also found that the effect of height dissipated over time as the marriage progressed.
After 18 years of marriage, the influence of height on happiness vanishes as a wife’s happiness is less strongly related to her husband’s height. At that point, they are no more or less happy if their husband is tall or short.
So, women are indeed happier when they’re married to a tall man, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll live happily ever after if the marriage lasts.