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Personality Research articles on personality


Romantic Height Preferences in Men and Women

I did a survey exploring height preference in men and women for the opposite sex.  The stereotype is that women prefer tall men or at least taller men, and that men prefer shorter women (relative to their height).  The results confirm that pattern, with men showing slightly more flexibility than women in their preferred height range.   Interestingly, I found some truncation in the height range preference as women get older.  The mean remained the same in older women but the high and low end height range were curtailed.   With men there was a less clear pattern which showed an increase in the high end of the preferred height range with age.

Sample Info
age range 18-65
# of men 1249
# of women 1458
average height of women in sample 5ft 4.9in
average height of men in the sample 5ft 10.3in

Question that was asked:

What height range do you find most attractive in the opposite sex?

Users were able to select a low end and high end, with a range of 4ft to 7ft 6in, iterated in inches (metric equivalents were included).

Height Preferences

Men and Women

  • the average mean height preference difference of all men was 1.64in shorter, the overall ideal range was 4.93in shorter to 1.65in taller
  • the average mean height preference difference of all women was 7.94in taller, the overall ideal range was 5.3in taller to 10.4in taller

Short women

  • avg height 5ft 1.6in
  • prefer a range of 5ft 7in to 6ft 1in
  • mean preference of the group 5ft 10in

Average height women

  • avg height 5ft 5in
  • prefer a range of 5ft 9in to 6ft 2in
  • mean preference of the group 5ft 11.5in

Tall women

  • avg height 5ft 8.5in
  • prefer a height range of  5ft 10in to 6ft 4in
  • mean preference of the group 6ft 2in

Women overall

  • 5ft 10in to 6ft 1in was in the ideal range of all women, on average
  • all three groups of women have a range in their ideal of five to six inches, on average
  • the shorter the woman, the taller the start of her ideal range is, in relative comparison to average and tall women

Short men

  • avg height 5ft 6.6in
  • prefer a range of 5ft 2in to 5ft 8in
  • mean preference of the group 5ft 5in

Average height men

  • avg height   5ft 10in
  • prefer a range of  5ft 3in to 5ft 9.5in
  • mean preference of the group 5ft 6.25in

Tall men

  • avg height 6ft 1.66in
  • prefer a range of  5ft 4in to 5ft 11in
  • mean preference of the group 5ft 7.5in

Men overall

  • 5ft 4in to 5ft 8in is in the ideal range of all men, on average.
  • all three groups of men have a range in their ideal of five to six inches, on average (same as women).
  • only the short male sample, on average, had taller women in there ideal range, the tallest end of the ideal range for average and tall men is below each group's average height.


If you adjust for the height difference of men and women (men are @5in taller), men have an almost identical opposite direction height preference.  Adjusting for the height difference of men and women, women would still prefer men .3 to 5.4 inches taller than them (the unadjusted preference range is 5.3 to 10.4 inches taller).  Men prefer women 4.93in shorter to 1.65in taller than them.  Thus, men have approximately a one inch larger acceptable range, on average. That one inch is on the taller end of the preferred range.  So men, are more likely to self report as being attracted to slightly taller girls, whereas women do not share that accommodation in the opposite direction.  The female range preference ends at slightly above their gender adjusted height.  From an evolutionary standpoint this all makes sense.  Preference selection should be mirrored in the sexes and any flexibility is more likely to show up in males since women exert greater selection power than men, on average.

These are anonymous self reported results but they match up very well with previous research on this topic.   In a study by Gillis and Avis (1980) only 2 couples out of 720 consisted of a pair in which the man was shorter than the woman.   In a study by Hensley (1994) women most preferred a man who was 72 inches (6ft) tall.    In a study by Cameron (1978), 100 percent of the women advertised the desire to date a man who was 4 inches taller than themselves.

*Short, Average, Tall groups were determined by separating the samples into gender specific height groups of as close to 1/3 of the entire gender sample number as possible.
**3.28-3.30 version of test

Comments (16) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Preaching to the choir – Still it is nice to be able to statistically support a theory about this stemming from my own experience in the dating world; specifically, the internet dating world. As a result of my experiences there, I long ago came to the understanding your data looks to conclude. And as happy as I am that you have done this work, there isn’t a man on the wrong end of 5′ 7″ with experiences that would lead him to conclude anything other than what your study shows; women are attracted to taller men for maddening, but perfectly understandable reasons both base and superficial. I don’t like it, but I understand it. And I ain’t judging them either. How could I? “Settling” isn’t as fashionable as it once was a hundred years ago or so, but then, as it is today, “…nothing new is under the sun!” Women want a good provider and protector and men want… (well maybe I should just speak for myself since any reader won’t know I am playing a sexist for laughs(mostly) lol)…and men want what men want from a woman. And it is precisely this that is at the crux of my digital dating dilemma; The kind of women I want doesn’t want a man like my kind; and the kind of women I could settle down with are, well….Unsettling. So, single is how I settled.

  2. The actual proportion of taller woman/shorter man mating in western countries is 43-53%.
    3.7 percent of married couples consist of a taller wife. But the proportion from random chance is 8.55%.
    Dalton Connely from NYU also did research (not yet published) that now its 4.5%

    So Shorter men take a HIT, but you have to separate demographics from preferences.

  3. So basically, all us guys shorter than 5′10 should just kill ourselves because no woman wants us.

  4. @kofybean NO obviously not.. As a woman I have been to attracted to both short and tall men.. height isn’t THAT important.. its the person and who they are… I would not like a stupid, boring tall guy nor would I want a stupid, boring short guy. Women want confidence, humour and a clean guy. Seriously you have that down and you take care of yourself, your good to go!

  5. @kofybean Well, what about women taller than 5′ 8″, like me? They should just kill themselves as well? Personally, I believe that for every man there is a woman, if you are willing to wait long enough.

  6. I think there a bit of an overreactions. For one, this is height PREFERENCES not a requirement. So calm down , there is no need to pull a something crazy. I’m pretty sure that many people will adjust if you have lack little in height but push forward in strength, confidence, and obviously humour (or a nice looking face :P ).

  7. nice work very comprehensive…. the survey itself tells about the “ideals” but the fact is ideals do not exist in real world…. ofcourse we do have exceptions :) …… SO “out of the range” folk cheer up!! Also its not only the height that matter in selecting ur companion other thngs are lot more important and above them is the nature and the character of the individual…

  8. This is very interesting. As a woman of 5′10″ I can say I haven’t been very popular with the men-folk…other than guys with a taller woman fetish (for which there are a lot out there). There’s someone for everyone. It kind of sucks when you fall out of the norm, until you learn to deal with it, accept yourself and then learn to appreciate being different. I don’t prefer guys who are much taller than me. I’ve dated shorter and taller. My boyfriend is less than an inch taller than me. I love it. :)

  9. So much a do about it. Yeah it concerns many who are wondering about something like: am I in the range? So am I any attractive to others? At the end of the game, it is an obsessive, sometimes, sorry guys, “sick” feeling whether you are in or out. Height as far as I can see it comes way behind other more important stuff, basically morality, intelligence and attitude. We may still behave by primitive prompt of provider for women and a baby carrier for men, yet at moments of sobriety and deep thought, we think of more durable qualities that our partner should have. I think I have already said them above

  10. Well I have been with many woman taller than me. I’m around 5 foot 77 barefoot, so I am not exactly tiny but I do find alot of heightist woman out there especially in the internet dating world. But if they actually bothered to get of their high horse (lol, no pun intended) and give you a try they might find (like so many of my ex partners) height isn’t really that relevant and there are far more important qualities for a man to have. Being good in bed as crude as that sounds is far more important than height by the way guys. So if any of you are despairing don’t! Most shorter guys make up for their lack of height in other ways anyway. And I am pretty sure if they were famous and in the public eye these heightist woman would have no problem being with that guy even if he was slightly shorter than them.

  11. Most of the “modern women” I’ve encountered for the past several years say all the right things–it’s character, intelligence, sense of humor, et cetera, that really count–yet when it comes down to their actual selection behavior, it’s obvious that a man’s looks (including height–especially height) and money are the actual motivators. These same women also talk about equality ad nauseum, but when the check arrives, they suddenly become traditionalists.

  12. This is convenient. I’m the exact height that tall men prefer (5 feet 7.5 inches), and I prefer tall men.

    I’ve been lucky to be tall but not gigantic, so that only very short men consider me too tall to date, and I’m not generally attracted to those men anyway. And apparently I’m ideally sized for my target demographic.

    The shortest man I’ve dated was ~5′9″. It was awkward wearing heels around him. I feel like an Amazon if I tower over the guy I’m with.

    @ Daniel: women’s motivators are not either/or. We want it all. The personality, the character, the brains, the looks, the stability. You sound bitter and irrational.

  13. A lot of people are talking about how superficial this study is. It’s an appearance preference study, that’s the point. Yes, women prefer taller men. Does that mean that most women would take a tall jerk over a short guy who had a great personality? No. Plus, this is just an average. I’m 5′3″, and I’m therefore supposed to want a guy who is 5′10″. My ex was 6′6″ and that was perfect height in my opinion. For every short girl that wants a 6′6″ guy, there’s a short girl that wants a 5′2″ guy (if averages worked out perfectly, I mean).

  14. @Tinydancer
    Would women take a tall jerk over a short guy who had a great personality? Yes, a thousand times yes! The only difference is, if a short guy has the same attitude of a tall guy, people claim he has a Napoleon complex.

    You say that for every short girl, there is a short guy to match, and that simply is not true.

    Everyone wants to be loved, and everyone deserves a chance to to find love. Being a short male means your chances are unreasonably limited because no matter how many women a short man talks too, they will always be bothered by his height in the back of their mind, even if he is taller than her.

    Women aren’t viewing men on their own merit, they are sizing them up in comparison to other men. One man cannot control what his height is, nor what his height is compared to other men, he can only control himself on the inside, and that’s is not something women are attracted to.

  15. @kofybean

    Dude, men do the same thing to women. You’re never skinny enough, tall enough, clear-skinned enough, big-boobed enough, big-assed enough, whatever. it is HUMAN nature, not FEMALE nature, to think the grass is greener on the other side. People are NEVER satisfied and ALWAYS get bored. Look at how many guys are married to fucking supermodels and cheat on them in Hollywood! I myself dated a man who was married to this absolutely stunning, supermodel-looking woman (I’m pretty too but I’m short and not as fit as she was) and he was cheating on her left and right because he was BORED with her. Stop the “oh woe is me” spiel. In the end, you will ALWAYS be on your own because that’s how life is! People suck

  16. @Danalia well you go with your tall stunning, hollywood man who cheats, just don’t complain about it. Going for a tall man despite his personality faults, or rejecting short men and claiming they all have personality faults is pretty far out. It doesn’t matter if a woman is is short, fat, tall, flat chested, etc, there are still plenty enough men out there who with love her. It doesn’t work that way if you are a short man, and most all women will never love you, will never know your personality, will never even look at you, because of something he can’t change. There is no comparison. There is no characteristic you can list about a woman that majority of all men will reject.

    You can’t disagree with me, and then turn around and tell me there is no way to change it, just live with it. Cuz then you agree with me. You are all contradicting yourselves to say that I’m wrong, and then turn around and state the very same implication I made that there is nothing you can do about it! If you can’t change your life for the better because society (women in this case) have you locked out, what can you do?

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