There isn’t much you can do about your height as an adult, and yet it factors into everyday life much more than you might realize. While we all know tall people tend to get paid more and promoted more often at work, they’re also at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing certain types of cancers — nevermind the risk of being called “beanpole” or “stretch.”
And yet, people of below-average height have their own issues while enjoying their extra legroom: Shorter women face potential height-related health complications of their own. Both gay men and heterosexual women prefer male romantic partners to be taller than themselves, sometimes leaving shorter men flailing in the deep end of the dating pool. And the last time the United States elected a president of under-average height was all the way back in 1896, with the 5-foot-7 William McKinley.
VICE News’ Complexify took a measuring tape to the world of human stature, high-stepping through everything from the science of growth to bogus height-enhancing drugs, to bring you every inch of this extensive subject. Here’s what we learned.
Animation and graphics by Hunter French and Gabriel Connelly