Human height

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For other uses, see Tall (disambiguation).

Human height or stature is the distance from the bottom of the feet to the top of the head in a human body, standing erect. It is measured using a stadiometer,[1] usually in centimetres when using the metric system,[2][3] and feet and inches when using the imperial system.[4][5] Adult human height has varied from under 60 centimetres (2 ft 0 in) to over 260 centimetres (8 ft 6 in). On average, males are taller than females.

When populations share genetic background and environmental factors, average height is frequently characteristic within the group. Exceptional height variation (around 20% deviation from average) within such a population is sometimes due to gigantism or dwarfism, which are medical conditions caused by specific genes or endocrine abnormalities.[6]

In regions of poverty or warfare, environmental factors like chronic malnutrition during childhood or adolescence may account for delayed growth and/or marked reductions in adult stature even without the presence of any of these medical conditions.

Determinants of growth and height[edit]

Median (50th percentile) growth curves for male and female 0–20 years.

The study of height is known as auxology.[7] Growth has long been recognized as a measure of the health of individuals, hence part of the reasoning for the use of growth charts. For individuals, as indicators of health problems, growth trends are tracked for significant deviations and growth is also monitored for significant deficiency from genetic expectations. Genetics is a major factor in determining the height of individuals, though it is far less influential in regard to differences among populations. Average height is relevant to the measurement of the health and wellness (standard of living and quality of life) of populations.[8] Attributed as a significant reason for the trend of increasing height in parts of Europe are the egalitarian populations where proper medical care and adequate nutrition are relatively equally distributed.[9] Changes in diet (nutrition) and a general rise in quality of health care and standard of living are the cited factors in the Asian populations. Average height in the United States has remained essentially stagnant since the 1950s even as the racial and ethnic background of residents has shifted. Malnutrition including chronic undernutrition and acute malnutrition is known to have caused stunted growth in various populations.[10] This has been seen in North Korea, portions of African, certain historical European, and other populations.[11] Developing countries such as Guatemala have rates of stunting in children under 5 living as high as 82.2% in Totonicapán, and 49.8% nation-wide.[12]

Height measurements are by nature subject to statistical sampling errors even for a single individual. In a clinical situation, height measurements are seldom taken more often than once per office visit, which may mean sampling taking place a week to several months apart. The smooth 50th percentile male and female growth curves illustrated above are aggregate values from thousands of individuals sampled at ages from birth to age 20. In reality, a single individual's growth curve shows large upward and downward spikes. Partly due to actual differences in growth velocity, and partly due to small measurement errors. For example, a typical measurement error of plus or minus 0.5 cm may completely nullify 0.5 cm of actual growth resulting in either a "negative" 0.5 cm growth (due to overestimation in the previous visit combined with underestimation in the latter), up to a 1.5 cm growth (the first visit underestimating and the second visit overestimating) in the same elapsed time period between measurements. Note there is a discontinuity in the growth curves at age 2, which reflects the difference in recumbent length (with the child on his or her back), used in measuring infants and toddlers, and standing height typically measured from age 2 onwards.

Sir Francis Galton's (1889) data showing the relationship between offspring height (928 individuals) as a function of mean parent height (205 sets of parents). The correlation was 0.57.

Height, like other phenotypic traits, is determined by a combination of genetics and environmental factors. A child's height based on parental heights is subject to regression toward the mean, therefore extremely tall or short parents will likely have correspondingly taller or shorter offspring, but their offspring will also likely be closer to average height than the parents themselves. Genetic potential and a number of hormones, minus illness, is a basic determinant for height. Other factors include the genetic response to external factors such as diet, exercise, environment, and life circumstances. Humans grow fastest (other than in the womb) as infants and toddlers, rapidly declining from a maximum at birth to roughly age 2, tapering to a slowly declining rate, and then during the pubertal growth spurt, a rapid rise to a second maximum (at around 11–12 years for female, and 13–14 years for male), followed by a steady decline to zero. On average, female growth speed trails off to zero at about 15 or 16 years, whereas the male curve continues for approximately 3 more years, going to zero at about 18–20. These are also critical periods where stressors such as malnutrition (or even severe child neglect) have the greatest effect.

Moreover, the health of a mother throughout her life, especially during her critical periods, and of course during pregnancy, has a role. A healthier child and adult develops a body that is better able to provide optimal prenatal conditions.[11] The pregnant mother's health is important as gestation is itself a critical period for an embryo/fetus, though some problems affecting height during this period are resolved by catch-up growth assuming childhood conditions are good. Thus, there is a cumulative generation effect such that nutrition and health over generations influences the height of descendants to varying degrees.

The age of the mother also has some influence on her child's height. Studies in modern times have observed a gradual increase in height with maternal age, though these early studies suggest that trend is due to various socio-economic situations that select certain demographics as being more likely to have a first birth early in the mother's life.[13][14][15] These same studies show that children born to a young mother are more likely to have below-average educational and behavioural development, again suggesting an ultimate cause of resources and family status rather than a purely biological explanation.[14][15]

The precise relationship between genetics and environment is complex and uncertain. Differences in human height is 60%–80% heritable, according to several twin studies[16] and has been considered polygenic since the Mendelian-biometrician debate a hundred years ago.[citation needed] The only gene known to have an influence on human height is HMGA2. People who carry two copies of the "tall" allele of the HMGA2 gene are up to 1 cm taller than those who carry two copies of the "short" allele.[17] A genome-wide association (GWA) study of more than 180,000 individuals has identified hundreds of genetic variants in at least 180 loci associated with adult human height.[18]

The effect of environment on height is illustrated by studies performed by anthropologist Barry Bogin and coworkers of Guatemala Mayan children living in the United States. In the early 1970s, when Bogin first visited Guatemala, he observed that Mayan Indian men averaged only 1.575 m (5 ft 2 in) in height and the women averaged 1.422 m (4 ft 8 in).[citation needed] Bogin took another series of measurements after the Guatemalan Civil War had erupted, during which up to a million Guatemalans had fled to the United States. He discovered that Maya refugees, who ranged from six to twelve years old, were significantly taller than their Guatemalan counterparts.[19] By 2000, the American Maya were 10.24 cm (4.03 in) taller than the Guatemalan Maya of the same age, largely due to better nutrition and access to health care.[20] Bogin also noted that American Maya children had a significantly lower sitting height ratio, (i.e., relatively longer legs, averaging 7.02 cm (2.76 in) longer) than the Guatemalan Maya.[20][21]

The Nilotic peoples of Sudan such as the Shilluk and Dinka have been described as some of the tallest in the world. Dinka Ruweng males investigated by Roberts in 1953–54 were on average 1.813 m tall, and Shilluk males averaged 1.826 m.[22] The Nilotic people are characterized as having long legs, narrow bodies and short trunks, an adaptation to hot weather.[23] However, male Dinka and Shilluk refugees measured in 1995 in Southwestern Ethiopia were on average only 1.764 m and 1.726 m tall, respectively.[24]

In Tibet, the khampas are known for their great height. Khampa males are on average 180 cm tall (5 ft 11 in).[25] Anthropologist Michael Peissel described the Khampa in 1964: "The Khampas stood a good six feet in height."[26]

The people of the Dinaric Alps are on record as being among the tallest in the world, with a male average height of 185.6 cm (6 ft 1.1 in) and female average height of (5 ft 7.3 in).

Birth order and height[edit]

It has been observed that first-born males are shorter than later-born males.[27]

Process of growth[edit]

Main pathways in endocrine regulation of growth.

Growth in stature, determined by its various factors, results from the lengthening of bones via cellular divisions chiefly regulated by somatotropin (human growth hormone (hGH)) secreted by the anterior pituitary gland. Somatotropin also stimulates the release of another growth inducing hormone Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) mainly by the liver. Both hormones operate on most tissues of the body, have many other functions, and continue to be secreted throughout life; with peak levels coinciding with peak growth velocity, and gradually subsiding with age after adolescence. The bulk of secretion occurs in bursts (especially for adolescents) with the largest during sleep.

The majority of linear growth occurs as growth of cartilage at the epiphysis (ends) of the long bones which gradually ossify to form hard bone. The legs compose approximately half of adult human height, and leg length is a somewhat sexually dimorphic trait. Some of this growth occurs after the growth spurt of the long bones has ceased or slowed. The majority of growth during growth spurts is of the long bones. Additionally, the variation in height between populations and across time is largely due to changes in leg length. The remainder of height consists of the cranium. Height is sexually dimorphic and statistically it is more or less normally distributed, but with heavy tails.

Height abnormalities[edit]

Female Stature vs Age (US CDC)
Male Stature vs Age (US CDC)

Most intra-population variance of height is genetic. Short stature and tall stature are usually not a health concern. If the degree of deviation from normal is significant, hereditary short stature is known as familial short stature and tall stature is known as familial tall stature. Confirmation that exceptional height is normal for a respective person can be ascertained from comparing stature of family members and analyzing growth trends for abrupt changes, among others. There are, however, various diseases and disorders that cause growth abnormalities. Most notably, extreme height may be pathological, such as gigantism resulting from childhood hyperpituitarism, and dwarfism which has various causes. Rarely, no cause can be found for extreme height; very short persons may be termed as having idiopathic short stature. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2003 approved hGH treatment for those 2.25 standard deviations below the population mean (approximately the lowest 1.2% of the population). An even rarer occurrence, or at least less used term and recognized "problem", is idiopathic tall stature.

If not enough growth hormone is produced and/or secreted by the pituitary gland, then a patient with growth hormone deficiency can undergo treatment. This treatment involves the injection of pure growth hormone into thick tissue to promote growth.

Role of an individual's height[edit]

Height and health[edit]

Certain studies have shown that height is a factor in overall health while some suggest tallness is associated with better cardiovascular health and shortness with longevity.[28] Cancer risk has also been found to grow with height.[29]

Nonetheless, modern westernized interpretations of the relationship between height and health fail to account for the observed height variations worldwide.[30] Cavalli-Sforza and Cavalli-Sforza note that variations in height worldwide can be partly attributed to evolutionary pressures resulting from differing environments. These evolutionary pressures result in height related health implications. While tallness is an adaptive benefit in colder climates such as found in Europe, shortness helps dissipate body heat in warmer climatic regions.[30] Consequently, the relationships between health and height cannot be easily generalized since tallness and shortness can both provide health benefits in different environmental settings.

At the extreme end, being excessively tall can cause various medical problems, including cardiovascular problems, because of the increased load on the heart to supply the body with blood, and problems resulting from the increased time it takes the brain to communicate with the extremities. For example, Robert Wadlow, the tallest man known to verifiable history, developed trouble walking as his height increased throughout his life. In many of the pictures of the later portion of his life, Wadlow can be seen gripping something for support. Late in his life, although he died at age 22, he had to wear braces on his legs and walk with a cane; and he died after developing an infection in his legs because he was unable to feel the irritation and cutting caused by his leg braces. Excessive tallness and excessive shortness each can cause social exclusion and discrimination for both men and women (heightism).

Sources are in disagreement about the overall relationship between height and longevity. Samaras and Elrick, in the Western Journal of Medicine, demonstrate an inverse correlation between height and longevity in several mammals including humans.[28]

Women whose height is under 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) may have a small pelvis, resulting in such complications during childbirth as shoulder dystocia.[31]

A study done in Sweden has shown that there is a strong inverse correlation between height and suicide among Swedish men.[32]

Height and occupational success[edit]

There is a large body of research in psychology, economics, and human biology that has assessed the relationship between several seemingly innocuous physical features (e.g., body height) and occupational success.[33] The correlation between height and success was explored decades ago.[34][35] Shorter people are considered to have an advantage in certain sports (e.g., gymnastics, race car driving, etc.), whereas in many other sports taller people have a major advantage. In most occupational fields, body height is not relevant to how well people are able to perform, but nonetheless has been found to correlate with their success in several studies, although there may be other factors such as gender or socioeonomic status that explain this.[33][34][36][37]

A demonstration of the height-success association can be found in the realm of politics. In the United States presidential elections, the taller candidate won 22 out of 25 times in the 20th century.[38] Nevertheless, Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, was 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) and several prominent world leaders of the twentieth century, such as Vladimir Lenin, Benito Mussolini, Nicolae Ceaușescu and Joseph Stalin were of below average height. Further, growing evidence suggests that height may be a proxy for confidence, which is likewise strongly correlated with occupational success.[39]

Sports[edit]

Main article: Height in sports

History of human height[edit]

Troops of the Eight-Nation Alliance in 1900, shows British and American soldiers significantly taller than continental European soldiers. Left-to-right: Britain, United States, Australian, British India, Germany, France, Austria-Hungary, Italy, Japan.

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, people of European descent in North America were far taller than those in Europe and were the tallest in the world.[9] The original indigenous population of Plains Native Americans was also among the tallest populations of the world at the time.[40]

In the late nineteenth century, the Netherlands was a land renowned for its short population, but today its population is among the world's tallest with young men averaging 183.8 cm (6 ft 0.4 in) tall.[41] The tallest average for a subpopulation in Europe is in the Dinaric Alps, with young men averaging 186 cm (6 ft 1 in), and young women averaging 171 cm (5 ft 7 in).[42]

According to a study by Economist John Komlos and Francesco Cinnirella, in the first half of 18th century, the average height of English male was 165 cm (5 ft 5 in), the average height of Irish male was 168 cm (5 ft 6 in). The estimated mean height of English, German, and Scottish soldiers are 163.6 cm – 165.9 cm (5 ft 4.4 in – 5 ft 5.3 in) for the period as a whole, while that of Irish was 167.9 cm (5 ft 6.1 in). The average height of male slaves and convicts in North America was 171 cm (5 ft 7 in).[43]

American-born colonial soldiers of the late 1770s were on average more than three inches taller than their English counterparts who served in Royal Marines at the same time.[44]

Average height of Americans and Europeans decreased during periods of rapid industrialization, possibly due to rapid population growth and increased economic inequality.[45] In early 19th century England, the difference between average height of English upper class youth (students of Sandhurst military academy) and English lower class youth (marine society boys) reached 22 cm (8.7 in), the highest that has been observed.[46]

Data derived from burials show that before 1850, the mean stature of male and female in Leiden, Netherlands was respectively 166.7 cm (5 ft 5.6 in) and 156.7 cm (5 ft 1.7 in). The average height of 19-year-old Dutch orphans in 1865 was 160 cm (5 ft 3 in).[47]

According to a study by J.W. Drukker and Vincent Tassenaar, the average height of Dutch decreased from 1830 to 1857, even while Dutch real GNP per capita was growing at an average rate of more than 0.5 percent per year. The worst decline were in urban areas that in 1847, the urban height penalty was 2.5cms (1 in). Urban mortality was also much higher than rural regions. In 1829, the average urban and rural Dutchman was 164 cm (5 ft 4.6 in). By 1856, the average rural Dutchman was 162 cm (5 ft 3.8 in) and urban Dutchman was 158.5 cm (5 ft 2.4 in).[48]

A 2004 report citing a 2003 UNICEF study on the effects of malnutrition in North Korea, due to "successive famines," found young adult males to be significantly shorter.[specify] In contrast South Koreans "feasting on an increasingly Western-influenced diet," without famine, were growing taller. The height difference is minimal for Koreans over 40, who grew up at a time when economic conditions in the North were roughly comparable to those in the South, while height disparities are most acute for Koreans who grew up in the mid-1990s – a demographic in which South Koreans are about 12 cm (4.7 in) taller than their North Korean counterparts – as this was a period during which the North was affected by a harsh famine.[49] A study by South Korean anthropologists of North Korean children who had defected to China found that 18-year-old males were 5 inches shorter than South Koreans their age due to malnutrition.[50]

Average height around the world[edit]

Adult height between populations often differs significantly. For example, the average height of women from the Czech Republic is greater than that of men from Malawi. This may be caused by genetic differences, childhood lifestyle differences (nutrition, sleep patterns, physical labor), or both.

The tallest living man is Sultan Kösen of Turkey, at 251 cm (8 ft 3 in). The tallest man in modern history was Robert Pershing Wadlow (1918–1940), from Illinois, in the United States, who was 272 cm (8 ft 11 in) at the time of his death. The tallest female in medical history was Zeng Jinlian of Hunan, China, who stood 248 cm (8 ft 1 12 in) when she died at the age of 17. The shortest adult human on record is Chandra Bahadur Dangi of Nepal at 54.6 cm (1 ft 9 12 in).

Depending on sex, genetic and environmental factors, shrinkage of stature may begin in middle age in some individuals but tends to be universal in the extremely aged. This decrease in height is due to such factors as decreased height of inter-vertebral discs because of desiccation, atrophy of soft tissues and postural changes secondary to degenerative disease.

Below are average adult heights by country/geographical region. The original studies and sources should be consulted for details on methodology and the exact populations measured, surveyed, or considered.

As with any statistical data, the accuracy of this data may be questionable for various reasons:

  • Some studies may allow subjects to self-report values.
  • Test subjects may have been invited instead of chosen at random, resulting in sampling bias.
  • A relatively small sample of the population may have been measured, which makes it uncertain whether this sample accurately represents the entire population.
  • The height of a person can vary over the course of a day, due to factors such as the amount of exercise done directly before measurement (normally inversely correlated), or the time elapsed since lying down for a significant period of time (normally inversely correlated). For example, one study revealed a mean difference of 1.54 centimetres (0.61 in) in the height of 100 children from getting out of bed in the morning to between 4 and 5 p.m. that same day.[51] Such factors may not have been controlled in some of the studies.

Note: Data in green are representative of the majority of the country or region's adult population.[52]

Country/Region Average male height Average female height Stature ratio
(male to female)
Sample population /
age range
Share of
pop. over 15
covered[53]
Methodology Year Source
Argentina 173.48 cm (5 ft 8 12 in) 160.76 cm (5 ft 3 12 in) 1.08 17 (healthy) N/A Measured 1998–2001 [54]
Argentina N/A 159.6 cm (5 ft 3 in) N/A 19–49 N/A Measured 2004–2005 [55]
Armenia N/A 158.1 cm (5 ft 2 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 2005 [56]
Australia 175.6 cm (5 ft 9 in) 161.8 cm (5 ft 3 12 in) 1.09 18+ N/A Measured 2011–2012 [57]
Australia 177.8 cm (5 ft 10 in) 163.8 cm (5 ft 4 12 in) 1.09 18-24 N/A Measured 2011–2012 [57]
Austria 179.2 cm (5 ft 10 12 in) 167.6 cm (5 ft 6 in) 1.07 21 (N= m:53 f:69, SD= m:6.1 f:5.6) N/A Self-reported 2001 [58]
Azerbaijan 171.8 cm (5 ft 7 12 in) 165.4 cm (5 ft 5 in) 1.04 16+ 97.0% Measured 2005 [59]
Bahrain 165.1 cm (5 ft 5 in) 154.2 cm (5 ft 12 in) 1.07 19+ 91.1% Measured 2002 [60]
Bangladesh N/A 150.6 cm (4 ft 11 12 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 2007 [56]
Belgium 178.6 cm (5 ft 10 12 in) 168.1 cm (5 ft 6 in) 1.06 21 (N= m:20-49 f:20-49, SD= m:6.6 f:5.3) N/A Self-reported 2001 [58]
Benin N/A 159.3 cm (5 ft 2 12 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 2006 [56]
Bolivia N/A 151.8 cm (5 ft 0 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 2003 [56]
Bolivia 160.0 cm (5 ft 3 in) 142.2 cm (4 ft 8 in) 1.13 Aymara, 20–29 N/A Measured 1970 [61]
Brazil 174 cm (5 ft 8 12 in) 161 cm (5 ft 3 12 in) 1.07 25–44 34.8% Measured 2011 [62]
Brazil 177.8 cm (5 ft 10 in) 167.3 cm (5 ft 6 in) N/A 18 N/A Measured 2008 [63]
Brazil 175 cm (5 ft 9 in) 165 cm (5 ft 5 in) 1.06 Young adult N/A N/A N/A [64]
Bulgaria 175.2 cm (5 ft 9 in) 163.2 cm (5 ft 4 12 in) 1.07 N/A N/A Measured 2010 [65]
Burkina Faso N/A 161.6 cm (5 ft 3 12 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 2003 [56]
Cambodia N/A 152.4 cm (5 ft 0 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 2005 [56]
Cameroon 170.6 cm (5 ft 7 in) 161.3 cm (5 ft 3 12 in) 1.06 Urban, 15+ N/A Measured 2003 [66]
Canada 176.0 cm (5 ft 9 12 in) 163.3 cm (5 ft 4 12 in) 1.08 25–44 34.8% Measured 2005 [67]
Canada 175.1 cm (5 ft 9 in) 162.3 cm (5 ft 4 in) 1.08 18–79 90.0% Measured 2007–2009 [68]
Central African Republic N/A 158.9 cm (5 ft 2 12 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 1994 [56]
Chad N/A 162.6 cm (5 ft 4 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 2004 [56]
Chile 171 cm (5 ft 7 12 in) 159.1 cm (5 ft 2 12 in) 1.07 15–24 21.9% Measured 2009–2010 [69]
Chile 169.6 cm (5 ft 7 in) 156.1 cm (5 ft 1 12 in) 1.09 15+ 100.0% Measured 2009–2010 [69]
Chile 171.2 cm (5 ft 7 12 in) 157.2 cm (5 ft 2 in) 1.09 25–44 37.3% Measured 2009–2010 [69]
China, Mainland 172.1 cm (5 ft 8 in) 160.1 cm (5 ft 3 in) 1.07 19 N/A Measured 2010 [70]
China, People's Republic of 166.3 cm (5 ft 5 12 in) 157 cm (5 ft 2 in) 1.06 Rural, 17 N/A Measured 2002 [71]
China, People's Republic of 170.2 cm (5 ft 7 in) 158.6 cm (5 ft 2 12 in) 1.07 Urban, 17 N/A Measured 2002 [71]
Colombia N/A 155 cm (5 ft 1 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 2004 [56]
Colombia 170.6 cm (5 ft 7 in) 158.7 cm (5 ft 2 12 in) 1.07 18–22 N/A Measured 2002 [72]
Comoros N/A 154.8 cm (5 ft 1 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 1996 [56]
Congo, Democratic Republic of the N/A 157.7 cm (5 ft 2 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 2005 [56]
Congo, Republic of the N/A 159 cm (5 ft 2 12 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 2007 [56]
Croatia 180.5 cm (5 ft 11 in) 166.3 cm (5 ft 5 12 in) 1.09 18 N/A Measured 2006–2008 [73]
Cuba 168 cm (5 ft 6 in) 156 cm (5 ft 1 12 in) 1.08 Urban, 15+ N/A Measured 1999 [74]
Czech Republic 180.31 cm (5 ft 11 in) 167.22 cm (5 ft 6 in) 1.08 17 N/A Measured 2001 [75]
Denmark 182.6 cm (6 ft 0 in) 168.7 cm (5 ft 6 12 in) 1.08 23 (N= m:-20 f:20-49, SD= m:NA f:7.4) N/A Self-reported 2001 [58]
Dinaric Alps 185.6 cm (6 ft 1 in) 171.1 cm (5 ft 7 12 in) 1.08 17 N/A Measured 2005 [42]
Dominican Republic N/A 156.4 cm (5 ft 1 12 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 1996 [56]
El Salvador 165.6 cm (5 ft 5 in) 160.3 cm (5 ft 3 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 2007 [56]
Egypt N/A 159.5 cm (5 ft 3 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 2008 [56]
Egypt 170.3 cm (5 ft 7 in) 158.9 cm (5 ft 2 12 in) 1.07 20–24 N/A Measured 2008 [76]
Estonia 179.1 cm (5 ft 10 12 in) N/A N/A 17 N/A Measured 2003 [77]
Ethiopia N/A 157.6 cm (5 ft 2 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 1997 [56]
Finland 178.9 cm (5 ft 10 12 in) 165.3 cm (5 ft 5 in) 1.08 25–34 14.7% Measured 1994 [78]
Finland 180.7 cm (5 ft 11 in) 167.2 cm (5 ft 6 in) 1.08 -25 N/A Measured 2010-2011 [79][78]
France 177 cm (5 ft 9 12 in) 164.6 cm (5 ft 5 in) 1.08 20–29 N/A Measured 2001 [80]
France 175.6 cm (5 ft 9 in) 162.5 cm (5 ft 4 in) 1.08 18–70 81.7% Measured 2003–2005 [81]
Gabon N/A 158.4 cm (5 ft 2 12 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 2000 [56]
Gambia 168 cm (5 ft 6 in) 157.8 cm (5 ft 2 in) 1.06 Rural, 21–49 N/A Measured 1950–1974 [82]
Germany 181 cm (5 ft 11 12 in) 168 cm (5 ft 6 in) 1.08 18–25 N/A Self-reported 2009 [83]
Germany 178 cm (5 ft 10 in) 165 cm (5 ft 5 in) 1.08 18+ 96.5% Self-reported 2009 [83]
Ghana N/A 159.3 cm (5 ft 2 12 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 2008 [56]
Ghana 169.5 cm (5 ft 6 12 in) 158.5 cm (5 ft 2 12 in) 1.07 25–29 N/A Measured 1987–1989 [84]
Greece 178.06 cm (5 ft 10 in) N/A N/A Conscripts, 18-26 N/A Measured 2006–2007 [85]
Greece 178.3 cm (5 ft 10 in) 166.6 cm (5 ft 5 12 in) 1.07 21 (N= m:20-49 f:20-49, SD= m:6.6 f:5.3) N/A Self-reported 2001 [58]
Guatemala N/A 147.3 cm (4 ft 10 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 1998 [56]
Guinea N/A 158.8 cm (5 ft 2 12 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 2005 [56]
Haiti N/A 158.6 cm (5 ft 2 12 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 2005 [56]
Honduras N/A 152 cm (5 ft 0 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 2005 [56]
Hong Kong 171.7 cm (5 ft 7 12 in) 158.7 cm (5 ft 2 12 in) 1.08 18 N/A Measured 2006 [86]
Hungary 177.3 cm (5 ft 10 in) N/A N/A 18 N/A Measured 2008 [87]
Hungary 176 cm (5 ft 9 12 in) 164 cm (5 ft 4 12 in) 1.07 Adults N/A Measured 2000s [88]
India 164.7 cm (5 ft 5 in) 151.9 cm (5 ft 0 in) 1.08 20–49 63.7% Measured 2005–2006 [89]
India 166.3 cm (5 ft 5 12 in) 152.6 cm (5 ft 0 in) 1.09 20 2.7% Predicted 2005–2006 [90]
India 161.2 cm (5 ft 3 12 in) 152.1 cm (5 ft 0 in) 1.06 Rural, 17+ N/A Measured 2007 [90]
Indonesia 158 cm (5 ft 2 in) 147 cm (4 ft 10 in) 1.07 50+ N/A Self-reported 1997 [91]
Iran 173.4 cm (5 ft 8 12 in) 159.8 cm (5 ft 3 in) 1.09 21–25 16.0% Measured 2005 [92]
Iran 170.3 cm (5 ft 7 in) 157.2 cm (5 ft 2 in) 1.08 21+ 78.5% Measured 2005 [92]
IraqBaghdad 165.4 cm (5 ft 5 in) 155.8 cm (5 ft 1 12 in) 1.06 18–44 N/A Measured 1999–2000 [93]
Ireland 177.5 cm (5 ft 10 in) 163.5 cm (5 ft 4 12 in) 1.09 21 (N= m:54 f:20-49, SD= m:6.3 f:7.6) N/A Self-reported 2001 [58]
Israel 177 cm (5 ft 9 12 in) 166 cm (5 ft 5 12 in) 1.07 18–21 N/A Measured 2010 [94]
Italy 177.2 cm (5 ft 10 in) 167.8 cm (5 ft 6 in) 1.06 21 (N= m:106 f:92, SD= m:6.0 f:6.1) N/A Self-reported 2001 [58]
Italy 176 cm (5 ft 9 12 in) 165 cm (5 ft 5 in) 1.07 18–40 37.0% Measured 2005 [95]
Ivory Coast N/A 159.8 cm (5 ft 3 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 1998 [56]
Ivory Coast 170.1 cm (5 ft 7 in) 159.1 cm (5 ft 2 12 in) 1.07 25–29 N/A Measured 1985–1987 [84]
Jamaica 171.8 cm (5 ft 7 12 in) 160.8 cm (5 ft 3 12 in) 1.07 25–74 64.5% Measured 1994–1996 [96]
Japan 170.7 cm (5 ft 7 in) 158 cm (5 ft 2 in) 1.08 17 N/A Measured 2011 [97]
Japan 172.0 cm (5 ft 7 12 in) 158.70 cm (5 ft 2 12 in) 1.08 20-24 (N= m:1,708 f:1,559, SD= m:5.42 f:5.30) N/A Measured 2004 [98]
Jordan N/A 158.2 cm (5 ft 2 12 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 2007 [56]
Kazakhstan N/A 159.8 cm (5 ft 3 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 1999 [56]
Kenya N/A 159.4 cm (5 ft 3 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 2003 [56]
Korea, NorthNorth Korea 165.6 cm (5 ft 5 in) 154.9 cm (5 ft 1 in) 1.07 20–39 (defectors) N/A Measured 2005 [99]
Korea, SouthSouth Korea 173.74 cm (5 ft 8 12 in) 160.1 cm (5 ft 3 in) 1.08 20-21 N/A Measured 2013 [100]
Kyrgyzstan N/A 158 cm (5 ft 2 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 1997 [56]
Lesotho N/A 157.6 cm (5 ft 2 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 2004 [56]
Liberia N/A 157.3 cm (5 ft 2 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 2006 [56]
Lithuania 177.2 cm (5 ft 10 in) N/A N/A Conscripts, 19–25 N/A Measured 2005[101] [102]
Lithuania 181.3 cm (5 ft 11 12 in) 167.5 cm (5 ft 6 in) 1.08 18 N/A Measured 2005 [103]
Madagascar N/A 154.3 cm (5 ft 12 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 2003 [56]
Malawi 166 cm (5 ft 5 12 in) 155 cm (5 ft 1 in) 1.07 Urban, 16–60 N/A Measured 2000 [104]
Malaysia 166.3 cm (5 ft 5 12 in) 154.7 cm (5 ft 1 in) 1.07 Malay 20-24 (N= m:749 f:893 SD= m:6.46 f:6.04) N/A Measured 1996 [105]
Malaysia 168.5 cm (5 ft 6 12 in) 158.1 cm (5 ft 2 in) 1.07 Chinese 20-24 (N= m:407 f:453 SD= m:6.98 f:6.72) N/A Measured 1996 [105]
Malaysia 169.1 cm (5 ft 6 12 in) 155.4 cm (5 ft 1 in) 1.09 Indian 20-24 (N= m:113 f:140 SD= m:5.84 f:6.18) N/A Measured 1996 [105]
Malaysia 163.3 cm (5 ft 4 12 in) 151.9 cm (5 ft 0 in) 1.08 Other indigenous 20-24 (N= m:257 f:380 SD= m:6.26 f:5.95) N/A Measured 1996 [105]
Mali – southern Mali 171.3 cm (5 ft 7 12 in) 160.4 cm (5 ft 3 in) 1.07 Rural adults N/A Measured 1992 [106]
Malta 175.2 cm (5 ft 9 in) 163.8 cm (5 ft 4 12 in) 1.07 25–34 16.5% Self-reported 2003 [107]
Malta 169.9 cm (5 ft 7 in) 159.9 cm (5 ft 3 in) 1.06 18+ 94.8% Self-reported 2003 [107]
Mexico 172 cm (5 ft 7 12 in) 160 cm (5 ft 3 in) 1.08 18–39 51% Measured 2003-2011 [108][109]
MexicoMorelos 167 cm (5 ft 5 12 in) 155 cm (5 ft 1 in) 1.08 18–76 N/A Self-reported 1998–1999 [110]
Moldova N/A 161.2 cm (5 ft 3 12 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 2005 [56]
Mongolia 168.4 cm (5 ft 6 12 in) 157.7 cm (5 ft 2 in) 1.07 25–34 (N= m:158 f:181) N/A Measured 2006 [111]
Montenegro 183.2 cm (6 ft 0 in) 168.4 cm (5 ft 6 12 in) 1.09 18–37 N/A Measured 2011 [112]
Morocco N/A 158.5 cm (5 ft 2 12 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 2003 [56]
Mozambique N/A 156 cm (5 ft 1 12 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 2003 [56]
Namibia N/A 160.7 cm (5 ft 3 12 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 2006 [56]
Nepal N/A 150.8 cm (4 ft 11 12 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 2006 [56]
Netherlands 183.8 cm (6 ft 12 in) 170.7 cm (5 ft 7 in) N/A −21 N/A Measured 2009 [113]
Netherlands 180.8 cm (5 ft 11 in) 167.5 cm (5 ft 6 in) 1.08 20+ 92.6% Self-reported 2010 [114][53][115]
Netherlands 183.2 cm (6 ft 0 in) 169.9 cm (5 ft 7 in) 1.08 20–30 N/A Self-reported 2010 [114]
New Zealand 177 cm (5 ft 9 12 in) 165 cm (5 ft 5 in) 1.07 19–45 51.7% Estimates 1993–2007 [116]
New Zealand 174.5 cm (5 ft 8 12 in) 163 cm (5 ft 4 in) 1.07 45–65 28.6% Estimates 1993–2007 [116]
Nicaragua 170.18 cm (5 ft 7 in) 153.7 cm (5 ft 12 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 2001 [56]
Nigeria 163.8 cm (5 ft 4 12 in) 157.8 cm (5 ft 2 in) 1.04 18–74 86.7% Measured 1994–1996 [96]
Norway 182.4 cm (6 ft 0 in) 168 cm (5 ft 6 in) 1.09 20–25 9.0% Measured 2008–2009 [117]
Norway 181.6 cm (5 ft 11 12 in) 168.2 cm (5 ft 6 in) 1.08 26–35 15.2% Measured 2008–2009 [117]
Norway 180.3 cm (5 ft 11 in) 167 cm (5 ft 5 12 in) 1.08 20–85 88.8%[118] Measured 2008–2009 [117][53][115]
Peru 164 cm (5 ft 4 12 in) 151 cm (4 ft 11 12 in) 1.09 20+ 85.4% Measured 2005 [119]
Philippines 163.4 cm (5 ft 4 12 in) 151.7 cm (4 ft 11 12 in) 1.08 20–39 49.5% Measured 2003 [120]
Philippines 161.9 cm (5 ft 3 12 in) 150.2 cm (4 ft 11 in) 1.08 20+ 83.1% Measured 2003 [120]
Poland 178.5 cm (5 ft 10 12 in) 165.1 cm (5 ft 5 in) 1.08 18 N/A Measured 2010 [121]
Portugal 171 cm (5 ft 7 12 in) 161 cm (5 ft 3 12 in) 1.06 20-50 N/A Self-reported 2001 [122]
Portugal 173.7 cm (5 ft 8 12 in) 163.7 cm (5 ft 4 12 in) 1.06 21 (N= m:87 f:106, SD= m:8.2 f:5.3) N/A Self-reported 2001 [58]
Portugal 176 cm (5 ft 9 12 in) 163.1 cm (5 ft 4 in) 1.08 University Students 20-24 (N= m:10 f:10, SD= m:4.8 f:5.7) N/A Measured 2008 [123]
Rwanda N/A 157.7 cm (5 ft 2 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 2005 [56]
Senegal N/A 163 cm (5 ft 4 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 2005 [56]
Serbia 182 cm (5 ft 11 12 in) 166.8 cm (5 ft 5 12 in) 1.09 18–30 N/A Measured 2012 [124]
Singapore 171 cm (5 ft 7 12 in) 160 cm (5 ft 3 in) 1.07 17–25 N/A N/A 2003 [125]
Slovakia 179.4 cm (5 ft 10 12 in) 165.6 cm (5 ft 5 in) 1.08 18 N/A Measured 2004 [126]
SloveniaLjubljana 180.3 cm (5 ft 11 in) 167.4 cm (5 ft 6 in) 1.08 19 N/A Measured 2011 [127]
South Africa 169 cm (5 ft 6 12 in) 159 cm (5 ft 2 12 in) 1.06 25–34 N/A Measured 1998 [128]
Spain 178 cm (5 ft 10 in) 166.2 cm (5 ft 5 12 in) 1.07 21 (N= m:111 f:94, SD= m:6.9 f:6.2) N/A Self-reported 2001 [58]
Sri Lanka 163.6 cm (5 ft 4 12 in) 151.4 cm (4 ft 11 12 in) 1.08 18+ 93.6% Measured 2005–2006 [129]
Swaziland N/A 159.1 cm (5 ft 2 12 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 2006 [56]
Sweden 181.5 cm (5 ft 11 12 in) 166.8 cm (5 ft 5 12 in) 1.09 20–29 N/A Measured 2008 [130]
Sweden 177.9 cm (5 ft 10 in) 164.6 cm (5 ft 5 in) 1.08 20–74 82.4% Self-reported 1987–1994 [131]
Switzerland 175.4 cm (5 ft 9 in) 164 cm (5 ft 4 12 in) 1.07 20–74 84.8% Self-reported 1987–1994 [131]
Switzerland 178.1 cm (5 ft 10 in) N/A N/A Conscripts, 18–21 N/A Measured 2005 [132]
Switzerland 178.2 cm (5 ft 10 in) N/A N/A Conscripts, 19 N/A Measured 2009 [133]
Tanzania N/A 156.6 cm (5 ft 1 12 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 2004 [56]
Thailand 170.3 cm (5 ft 7 in) 159 cm (5 ft 2 12 in) 1.07 15–19, STOU students N/A Self-reported 2005 [134]
Togo N/A 159 cm (5 ft 2 12 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 1998 [56]
Turkey N/A 156.4 cm (5 ft 1 12 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 2003 [56]
TurkeyAnkara 176.1 cm (5 ft 9 12 in) 162 cm (5 ft 4 in) 1.09 18–29 N/A Measured 2004–2006 [135]
TurkeyAnkara 174 cm (5 ft 8 12 in) 158.9 cm (5 ft 2 12 in) 1.10 18–59 N/A Measured 2004–2006 [135]
Uganda N/A 159.2 cm (5 ft 2 12 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 2006 [56]
United Arab Emirates 173.4 cm (5 ft 8 12 in) 156.4 cm (5 ft 1 12 in) 1.11 N/A N/A N/A N/A [136]
U.K.England 175.4 cm (5 ft 9 in) 161.9 cm (5 ft 3 12 in) 1.08 16+ N/A Measured 2010 [137]
U.K.England 177.1 cm (5 ft 9 12 in) 164.4 cm (5 ft 4 12 in) 1.08 16–24 N/A Measured 2010 [137]
U.K.England 177.6 cm (5 ft 10 in) 163.7 cm (5 ft 4 12 in) 1.08 25–34 N/A Measured 2010 [137]
U.K.Scotland 175 cm (5 ft 9 in) 161.3 cm (5 ft 3 12 in) 1.08 16+ N/A Measured 2008 [138]
U.K.Scotland 178.2 cm (5 ft 10 in) 163.5 cm (5 ft 4 12 in) 1.09 25–34 N/A Measured 2008 [138]
U.K.Wales 177.0 cm (5 ft 9 12 in) 162.0 cm (5 ft 4 in) 1.09 16+ N/A Self-reported 2009 [139]
U.S. 177.6 cm (5 ft 10 in) 163.2 cm (5 ft 4 12 in) 1.09 All Americans, 20–29 17.4% Measured 2003–2006 [140]
U.S. 176.3 cm (5 ft 9 12 in) 162.2 cm (5 ft 4 in) 1.09 All Americans, 20+ 91.0% Measured 2003–2006 [140]
U.S. 178 cm (5 ft 10 in) 163.2 cm (5 ft 4 12 in) 1.09 Black Americans, 20–39 N/A Measured 2003–2006 [140]
U.S. 170.6 cm (5 ft 7 in) 158.7 cm (5 ft 2 12 in) 1.07 Mexican Americans, 20–39 N/A Measured 2003–2006 [140]
U.S. 178.9 cm (5 ft 10 12 in) 164.8 cm (5 ft 5 in) 1.09 White Americans, 20–39 N/A Measured 2003–2006 [140]
Uruguay 170 cm (5 ft 7 in) 158 cm (5 ft 2 in) 1.08 Adults N/A Measured 1990 [141]
Uzbekistan N/A 159.9 cm (5 ft 3 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 1996 [56]
Vietnam 162.1 cm (5 ft 4 in) 152.2 cm (5 ft 0 in) 1.07 25–29 N/A Measured 1992–1993 [84]
Vietnam 165.7 cm (5 ft 5 in) 155.2 cm (5 ft 1 in) 1.07 Students, 20–25 N/A Measured 2006–2007 [142]
Zambia N/A 158.5 cm (5 ft 2 12 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 2007 [56]
Zimbabwe N/A 160.3 cm (5 ft 3 in) N/A 25–49 N/A Self-reported 2005 [56]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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