Study: Being ugly might actually be a good thing when it comes to your bank account

LONDON — Good news if you’ve been told you’re either “very attractive” or “very ugly” — there’s a decent chance you earn more money than those around you, according to a study.

Researchers at the London School of Economics and the University of Massachusetts have been able to somewhat dispel a pervasive theory regarding attractiveness, commonly referred to as a “beauty premium” or the “ugliness penalty.” Previous studies have found that those who are good-looking command higher wages in their employment. This phenomenon has been seen in a wide range of professions, from business to law.

It turns out that people aren’t necessarily discriminated against because of their appearance, the researchers determined.

For their analysis, Satoshi Kanazawa and Mary Still, the study’s co-authors, examined a dataset pulled from a popular survey looking at adolescents, the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, also known as “Add Health.” The survey is notable in that it measures physical attractiveness for a given individual in four installments over a period of 13 years, doing so on a five-point scale.

In their analysis, Kanazawa and Still write that while more attractive individuals often out-earned their less attractive peers, this was often due to the presence of other qualities. Those qualities being smarter, healthier, calmer, more extroverted, and more conscientious.

“Physically more attractive workers may earn more, not necessarily because they are more beautiful, but because they are healthier, more intelligent, and have better personality traits conducive to higher earnings,” says Kanazawa in a statement.

Attractiveness can be beneficial either way, for some

Interestingly, those who were categorized by Add Health as being “very unattractive” were also higher earners. They always outearned those who were deemed “merely unattractive,” and in some cases made more money than individuals of average and above-average attractiveness.

The finding that those on the far end of either side of the beauty spectrum make a better living was likely skipped over in previous studies because individuals less attractive than average were all lumped into one category.

In addition, few studies have examined all of the combined factors that Kanazawa and Still took into account.

The study is published in the Journal of Business and Psychology.


  1. The reason why being ugly is better for your bank account if you are a man is that you’ll never be able to attract a woman and therefore won’t have to worry about whether she only wants you for your bank account, nor will you ever have to worry about being taken to the cleaners when, not if, she decides it’s time to cash out and file for divorce.

    I’m an ugly guy and I can confirm that what I’m saying is 100% true.

  2. True, if you have a job opening and there are two people with equal qualifications do you pick the ugliest or prettiest? Sure… people like looking at ugly people all day.

  3. Look at Eric Schitt of Google fame for example. Very successful – yet disgusting to look at. Mark Cuban, how bout those ears. Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, the list goes on and on and on.

  4. .
    Ugly people may be successful but I don’t listen to them because they don’t know what they are talking about.
    I get all my advice from pretty Hollywood actors.

  5. This really depends on your occupation. Cover Model? Ugly Cover Model…… I bet who makes more out of those two…. Cindy Crawford made a good living out of being beautiful.


    An ugly woman
    walks into a shop with her two kids.

    The shopkeeper asks “Are they twins”?

    The woman says “No, he’s 9 and she’s 7.

    Why? Do you think they look alike?”

    “No,” he replies “I just can’t believe you got laid twice”!

  7. Depends on your definition of ‘ugly’. Most people are probably pretty normal looking, and a lot of people will change depending on the day (sleep, mood, etc…). There are very few people who are just flat out ‘ugly’ with no change of redemption.

    Plus, a lot of jobs don’t require you ever meeting the customer, so as long as you don’t offend your co-workers, who cares?

  8. Psychology is an irreproducible custom-fit fraud, p < 0.001. Human Resources hires pleasant mediocrities – drinking buddies – to avoid risk. This effectively staffs Sales & Marketing. It is lethal in math, engineering, science, technology, and research where mediocrity (diversity, equal opportunity, social promotion) is a vice of the doomed..

    If you need bleeding edge triumph you hire autism, Jews, Asians, and East Indians with fat university GPAs. Yeah, they're gonna be ugly, unkempt, and socially vile. Look at your spreadsheets, and smile.

  9. Hillary Clinton, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Maxine Waters and Nancy Pelosi? If you can’t be a good example then at least you can be a horrible warning. ; )

  10. Social engineers engaged in nonsensical social engineering… want you to believe attractive people are generally smarter, healthier, calmer, more extroverted, and more conscientious. Attractiveness is largely genetic… any other genetic characteristics that someone made those claims about would be rightfully run out of town on a rail.

  11. Follow people conducting a survey on ugly people’s earnings back to their University and ugly people will answer the door.

  12. It makes the beautiful people feel better if they think they can succeed financially. Epic fails are epic fails.Succeed how? So if you are beautiful and stupid, you might have to blow a few more people, if you are beautiful and smart and think everything is going to get handed to you, you still have to blow a few more people. If your stupid, you are the people protesting Trump right now.

  13. I’d imagine that the truth is that ugly people are more successful. The world is the beautiful womans’ oyster, and it tends to make them weak. Ugly people tend to be strong because the world isn’t going to hand them much; they have to work for what they have.

  14. BS! This is a study to make ppl feel better about themselves just like praising overweight models! It’s all marketing to a more obese & zit faced computer geek population! Historically studies have shown attractive ppl climb the ladder further. Just like Men w/hair r also more successful in the corp world (that may be changing based on new studies showing shaved headed mean are more authoritative…thanks to Vin Diesel & The Rock), but just google or YouTube studies & videos! Fact check. Attractive ppl get noticed more, theyre helped more, they have more conversations w/complete strangers! Elevator rides r VERY diff. Ugly ppl get NO eye contact whereas attractive ppl get conversation!!

    1. Nope. Everybody knows nerdy ugly people are the smart ones. They’re nice to look at but you don’t want them doing things that require a lot of intelligence. Generally. There are occasional exceptions.

      Usually a person gets brains or beauty but it rare to get both.

  15. This opens up a whole new medical subspecialty…I can see the billboards now:
    “Drs. Tarnow and Jones, accredited plastic surgeons, can make you REALLY ugly!
    How ugly? As ugly as buzzards on a gut truck!”

  16. So I wasted $$$ on my childrens’ braces? I don’t think so. Drivel from the ivory towers continues. Shocking!

  17. I get it. Stupid people are also ugly, but heinously ugly people are smart and rich. In other words, to the farm for average people. Smart and good looking as well as morbidly ugly rise to the top.

  18. Whatever happened to beauty is in the eye of the beholder? Who made the decision as to who was ugly and who was very attractive?

  19. The one place looks mean nothing is in pro sports. The handsome Michael Jordan and the Ugly Dennis Rodman were paid to play basketball, not be models.

    1. The projects full of children in the USA would prove you right about that. The ugly not only get it often but breed indiscriminately.

        1. You think the term projects is not currently in use? What planet are you from? Antoine Dodson bed intruder auto tune the news song from 4-5 years ago? A young black woman singing I got raped by some idiot in the projects.

          1. I stand corrected, I do remember Antoine and his animated descriptions at the scene of the crime.

  20. I’ve worked in a lot of places. Women in management are almost always tall. Men higher up in management tend to be 6’4″ or taller, athletic, and have thick hair regardless of their age.

  21. Everyone knows that ugly people can make as much money as attractive people, they just have to work a lot harder at it. Take chubby girls, for instance, that are willing to do anything in bed because they know the attractive girls are much more stingy in the bedroom.

  22. “It turns out that people aren’t necessarily discriminated against because of their appearance, the researchers determined.” Bullshit

      1. You need glasses for the man was not a handsome man just a perv… and not that great in the sac as his former lovers have revealed

        1. Didn’t say he was handsome. Just not physically ugly, like, for example, Web Hubbell. On the inside, he’s the second ugliest person alive.

  23. I disagree with the article
    Good looks is a premium across all cultures. What defines “good looks” (in my opinion)
    -Facial symmetry. Regardless of race symmetry is an essential part of looking good.
    -Youth. Youth is associated with beauty and explains why older people strive to look younger than more attractive
    -Health and vitality. From healthy looking skin to body strength naturally brings attraction.
    -Etiquette to good manners: being beautiful inside is just as important. A good looking person who is nasty does not win.
    -Good grooming; is basic aspects of being an attractive person in any culture
    I am sure there are more but this is just the minimum

    1. Dennis Hastert, Barney Frank, Toe tapping Larry Craig, Daniel John “Dan” Flood, Nancy Pelosi, Madelene Albright, Sandy Berger, Louis Lerner, … the list goes on and on and on.

      Yup a whole US government full of some of the ugliest people on earth

  24. I wonder if the results measured the level of effort required for the really ugly to earn more than the attractive? Would these people typically have more education of work twice as hard as attractive people?

    Either way, maybe it gives hope to a few people who fall in to the realm of the most ugly.

    1. Uhh…I don’t know. I can’t tell whether Jennifer Aniston or Rosie O’Donnell is more physically attractive. I’m sure people argue for hours over this.

      1. I’ve read numerous people that don’t think Jennifer Aniston is very attractive. Mostly regarding aspects of her facial features. But between Rosie and Jennifer I think the winner is clear.

  25. One of those studies that seem to be the opposite of my personal experiences. I feel mostly for women on this issue, as I have watched beautiful women endure less heartache. Beautiful women are accepted when they go through difficult programs, less likely to be ignored, easily get help and endure less ridicule when wrong, etc… Without getting into personal experiences, I have watched very attractive women breeze through difficulties, because they were escorted through it with acceptance and a lot of help/assistance. I have always said beauty vs ugliness is the real unfair advantage in this country. This has always appeared much stronger than race or culture. There are also studies that adamantly disagree with this particular study., With that said, those women that were given an unfair shake in this department appear stronger in the long run, if they endure. Of course, all of this is generalizing.

    1. Things are easier for the more attractive, but not just because of their looks. The traits that are often seen as the most attractive are the most rare among the population…mutations, if you will. Despite the stereotype, no doubt promoted by ugly people, that attractive people are typically less intelligent, the opposite has been proven true in numerous studies.

      Perhaps, things are easier for attractive people, simply because they are easier? Of course there are no absolute rules in life, but it is interesting to think about.

    2. Yeah Elizabeth Taylor had the life what seven marriages twice three times to the same guy and her best friend in the end was the greatest child abuser and junkie in the history of the USA.

      1. Well, since the tech dorks came along, they skewed the whole bell curve.
        I live in Silicon Valley, trust me, they’re the saddest looking gaggle of maggots you’ll ever lay eyes on.

    1. The long list of POTUSs with their very ugly wives and children is evidence enough besides has any one taken a good look at the average federal government worker and their bosses?

    2. It’s a shame you’re not educated enough to understand that proper nouns, including those for religious and mythological beings, are capitalized, comrade.

      1. I’m WILLING to point out that your response should win the award for “Most Random Criticism” of a rhetorical remark on a ridiculous study. I hope my grammar and capitalization was sufficient enough for you this time.

          1. As for being a Republican, all that proves is that a liberal by any other name is just as foul, comrade.

            It’s worth noting that you didn’t call yourself a conservative or American, which means you may have some vestigial decency in you. I can only hope you work on bringing that out.

          2. Maybe one day, when you grow up, you’ll learn to read (entirely) and realize how ridiculous you are.

            I was born and raised in America. Hate to shatter your reality, but that actually makes me an American.

            And no, it’s not worth noting that I didn’t refer to myself as a conversative.

            Americans are free to believe whatever they want, so long as it doesn’t infringe onto other people, “comrade.”

            Alright, this was fun, but I’m done encouraging your socially inadequate attempt at what you seemingly believe to be a legitimate debate.

            Please keep going, if you wish. I’m sure others enjoy scratching their heads at your off-base responses, too.

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