Finance influencer Vivian broke down a study on online dating that found shorter men must earn more per year to be seen as desirable as taller men, with the number being even higher for Asian men.
In the clip posted to her Instagram account on Friday, Vivian, better known by her online handle “Your Rich BFF,” begins by asking, “How much is six inches worth?”
Referring to a study conducted by the University of Chicago in 2006 titled “What Makes You Click? — Mate Preferences and Matching Outcomes in Online Dating,” Vivian noted the trade-offs between height and income. The study shows that, on average, men who are 5 feet 6 inches need to make an additional $175,000 annually to be as desirable as men who are almost 6 feet. The number increases with shorter heights, with men who are 5 feet, for example, needing to make an additional $317,000 in income.
These numbers do not factor in race, however, as they change when a person’s ethnic background is considered.
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As one Twitter user posted in a screenshot of one of the study’s charts, income-ethnicity trade-offs also heavily influence the numbers.
The table shows that for equal chances with a white woman, an African American man needs to on average earn $154,000 more than a white man. On average, Hispanic men need to make an additional $77,000, and Asian men have to make a whopping $247,000 in additional annual income.
In the case of a white man who makes $62,500, then, an Asian man would have to make $309,500 per year to be seen as equally attractive in the eyes of a white woman.
In contrast, for white men to have success with Asian women, he could make $24,000 less than an Asian man.
Instagram users had mixed reactions to Vivian’s post, with some claiming that height did not matter and others stating that they would gladly take the additional $175,000 in income in exchange for inches.
One user wrote, “Height don’t matterrrrrr! Also if someone is too tall it hurts my neck to look at them. Also you’ll never see if he has a full head of hair or not!”
Another user commented, “i call that the height tax… makes up for the pink tax and the O gap respectively” with a shrugging emoji.
Other interesting takeaways in the study include the fact that in contrast to men, women mostly cannot “compensate” for their ethnicity with a higher income.
Asian men also receive on average only a quarter of the first-contact messages that white men on average do.
A more recent study from the University of Chicago in 2013 found that not only do women respond more to men of a similar or “more dominant racial status,” educational backgrounds do not “mediate” racial preferences.
For example, both white men and white women with a college degree are more likely to respond to white daters without a college degree than they are to Black daters with college degrees.
In a study from 2022, researchers found that out of the 1.8 million online daters they surveyed from 24 countries, the role of “resource-acquisition ability,” a mix of education and income, had a positive association with the amount of attention they received.
“Resource-acquisition” capabilities, in fact, improved the attention men received by almost 2.5 times that of women, and this positive association between resource-acquisition and attention received was true for all countries.