A new study on heterosexual couples, reportedly the first of its kind, finds that when it comes to height preferences, both genders prefer a man to be taller than his female partner, but not too much taller.
Researchers from Groningen University in the Netherlands analyzed data based on the Millennium Cohort Study of parents of almost 19,000 babies born in the UK in 2000. They found that in more than nine out of ten couples, the man was taller than the woman. Differences in height were on average about 14cm.
A previous 1980 study of US and UK couples found that in only one out of 720 couples was the female taller than the male. Because women are on average shorter than men, chance predicts that the occurrence of couples in which the female is taller is two out of 100, 14 times higher than the findings observed in that study, wrote the Dutch researchers.
But researchers note that while women prefer tall men, they don't want them too tall. Couples in which the male was more than 25cm taller than the woman were rarer than expected by chance. Interestingly, women prefered larger height differences than men, but tall women and short men prefered smaller height differences, while short women and tall men prefered larger differences.
The findings were published yesterday in the journal Public Library of Science (PLoS) One. Past research has also found that taller men are more likely to be married and tend to have more children than shorter men.