Over the past few years we’ve heard the media tell us that height does AND does not matter when it comes to dating. We’ve seen trends like Short Kings pop up alongside other height-focused dating memes. Heck, anytime someone famous dates someone shorter, it ends up being a news story.
Is this just the media getting us into an unnecessary head spin or does height really matter when it comes to dating? Do short guys really finish last or are we just getting worked up over nothing?
Today, we wanted to answer that question. Instead of giving you our thoughts and opinions, we decided to poll 1,000 singles in the United States split evenly across four different gender and age brackets.
We asked 1,000 singles (2) questions:
- When selecting a partner or a match, is height important to you?
- What is the most important physical trait to you when selecting an online match?
Key Takeaways – Does Height Really Matter When Dating?
- 63.9% of respondents said that height is ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ important when selecting a romantic partner or match.
- Height was the second most important physical trait only behind ‘body type’ but ahead of race, weight, eye color, and hair color.
- 71% of women versus 57% of men said that height is ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ important when selecting a romantic partner or match.
What Physical Trait is Most Important When Dating?
To find out where height stacked up (all puns intended) in the level of importance for singles, we asked a follow up question about which physical trait was most important when selecting a partner or online dating match. We gave respondents six different options to choose from and allowed them to select only their top option. Here are the results:
Body type turned out to be the most important by a considerable amount with height coming in a somewhat distant second. One could argue that height is part of body type, but we felt that it was different enough to warrant a separate option.
Physical Trait Importance By Gender
Curious how the results varied by gender? Here are the the key takeaways and data points for how each trait ranked by gender within the poll. Bear in mind that our poll did ask an equal number of men and women equally split across the four different adult age brackets to get the most accurate results.
- Height was only the 4th most important physical trait to men, whereas it was the second most important trait to women.
- Hair color was the least important physical trait to both men and women.
- Nearly half of men answered that ‘body type’ was the most important physical trait when selecting a romantic partner.
Does Height Matter More to Men or Women When Dating?
As you can see in the graph below, over half of both men and women say that height is either ‘very important’ or ‘somewhat important’ when it comes to selecting a romantic partner or online dating match. However, significantly more women (nearly three out of four) say that it’s some level of important, whereas only a little over half of men say the same. Clearly, this is a physical trait that is important to both genders, but significantly more important to women than it is to men.
Here’s the raw data from this poll question.
Does Height Matter More With Different Age Groups
The last bit of data we want to provide is how important height was to singles across different age groups. Across all age groups polled, the number who said it was ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ important was within the 60% range. The highest level of importance was in the 35-44 year old range and the lowest level of importance was in the 45-54 year old range.
Here is the raw data.
Takeaways and Results Considerations
It would appear that based on the results of our poll, yes, height is an important factor when it comes to dating. However, there are a few caveats we want to point out. First, if you’re someone who is shorter and feels like you’re getting the raw end of the deal here, the study didn’t ask whether taller or shorter was better. For example, a shorter person who also wants to date someone their same height may have answered that height is very important, but they’re not referring to taller individuals. Additionally, some people may be more attracted to shorter singles, which would not properly reflect in this data.
Second, while over two-thirds of people did say that height was important when selecting a romantic partner, only about one in five (21.8%) said that it was ‘very important.’ The majority of yes responses come from the ‘somewhat important’ category, which means it’s most likely not a deal breaker for the right person. Additionally, that also means that nearly one-third of people don’t care at all when it comes to selecting a partner. This might seem small in the grand scheme, but that’s literally millions and millions of people who couldn’t care less about it.
In the future, we’d like to dig more into the tall vs. short aspect of the questions instead of making assumptions that if someone indicated height was important, they were referring to finding someone tall. Additionally, we’d like to dig deeper into the differences between body type, weight, and height when analyzing characteristics because there may be some unintended cross over or differing definitions that may be skewing the data. We do feel that any skewing in that sense is minimal, but we’d still like to improve on that for the next study.
It is our hope that this information has proved insightful, interesting, and as a helpful look into the online dating app usage patterns of people in the United States. If you would like to share or use the data from this study, you are free to do so—as long as proper attribution is given.
- For use on websites or written media sources, attribution to Healthy Framework and a link to the website or data study is required.
- For use on audio or video sources, attribution to Healthy Framework is required with a link to the website or data study in the description area or accompanying article.
- If you have further questions or to request additional data, please contact [email protected].
Written By: Healthy Framework Team
The Healthy Framework team has a combined 50+ years of experience in the online dating industry. Collectively, the team has reviewed over 300 dating apps and is known as one of the leaders in the relationship advice and information space. The team’s work has been featured on Zoosk, Tinder, The Economist, People Magazine, Parade, Women’s Health, Her Campus, Fox, and more.