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A Closer Look at the Average Height Around the World 

A Closer Look at the Average Height Around the World 

Do you know the average height around the world? Height can vary significantly from one country to another and between men and women. But why is that, and what does it say about different geographical regions?

Here’s a closer look at the average height around the world.

WHO’s Standard on the Average Height

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) growth standards show the expected average height of adult men is 5ft. 9.5 in. and 5ft. 4.3. in. for adult women.

The Real Average Height Around the World

The WHO growth standard provides a good look at height averages. However, average heights have been shown to vary by geographical region and country.

​ 1. For Men

For Men

According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), average heights began to decline from the early 2000s. Here’s a look at how estimated average heights for men have changed in recent years.

2001-2002 2003-2004 2005-2006 2007-2008 2009-2010 2011-2012 2013-2014 2015-2016
176.4 cm 176.5 cm 176.2 cm 175.9 cm 175.9 cm 175.7 cm 175.8 cm 175.03 cm

2. For Women

For Women

Here’s a look at how the estimated average height for women has changed in recent years.

2001-2002 2003-2004 2005-2006 2007-2008 2009-2010 2011-2012 2013-2014 2015-2016
162.2 cm 162.3 cm 162.1 cm 162.2 cm 161.9 cm 162.0 cm 161.6 cm 161.5 cm

3. Average Height in Different Countries

Geographical location plays a significant factor in determining the average height in men and women. Here’s a look at the average heights for the tallest and shortest country averages.

The Top 10 Countries with the Tallest Average Heights

• The Netherlands: 72.36 in.

• Montenegro: 72.13 in.

• Denmark: 71.89 in.

• Norway: 71.81 in.

• Serbia: 71.65 in.

• Germany: 71.26 in.

• Croatia: 71.06 in.

• The Czech Republic: 70.97 in.

• Slovenia: 70.98 in.

• Luxembourg: 70.83 in.

The Top Ten Countries with the Shortest Average Heights

• Indonesia: 62.2 in.

• Bolivia: 62.9 in.

• The Philippines: 63.7 in.

• Vietnam: 63.82 in.

• Cambodia: 63.98 in.

• Nepal: 64.17 in.

• Ecuador: 64.37 in.

• Sri Lanka: 64.41 in.

• Nigeria: 64.49 in.

• Peru: 64.57 in.

Which Country Has the Tallest People?

Tallest People

Image source: Pinterest

38-year-old Sultan Kösen was awarded the title of world’s tallest living man by the Guinness World Records in 2009. He stands at 246.4 centimeters, or 8 ft 1 in. His towering height is the result of acromegaly and gigantism and, because of his acromegaly, he uses crutches to walk.

Sultan Kösen is a part-time farmer from Turkey who, in 2004, joined the Magic Circus of Samoa and currently tours around the world.

​Which Country Has the Shortest People?

Shortest People

Image source: Pinterest

Edward Niño Hernandez was awarded the title of the shortest living man in 2020 by the Guinness World Records. The Bogotá, Colombia native measures at just 72.1 centimeters, or 2 ft 4.38 in.

In an interview, his mother, Noemi Hernandez, said that her son had not grown since he was two years old. Today, Edward weighs around 22 pounds and is only slightly taller than a carry-on suitcase.

What Influences the Height Around the World?

What Influences the Height

The average height around the world is influenced by several factors, including:

1. Genetic Makeup

Scientists suggest that around 80 percent of an individual’s height is pre-determined by their genetic makeup. These genes impact cartilage growth plates and disorders that can limit growth.

2. Medical Conditions

Some medical conditions stunt or delay growth during adolescence and cause a person to be shorter during adulthood. These medical conditions include kidney disease, diabetes, lung disease, digestive tract disease, anemia, Cushing’s syndrome, and Turner syndrome.

3. Activity Levels

Children and adolescents who do not receive enough exercise or receive too much exercise can experience delayed growth, leading to shorter statures.

4. Environmental and Economic Factors

Environmental and economic factors have a significant role in average heights. Unequal access to essential resources, such as nutrition and healthcare, can result in lower average heights. Poorer countries generally result in lower averages compared to more prosperous countries.

5. Caste Systems

Caste systems within a country can also heavily influence height averages. For example, India’s caste systems reflect economic influences on height. Members of high castes generally have better access to healthcare and better nutrition. As a result, members of low castes were 4.5 cm shorter than members of higher castes.

​How to Measure Your Height

Measure Your Height 

Before measuring your height, remove your shoes and any clothing that may prevent an accurate measurement. Then, stand flat against the wall and look straight ahead so that your chin and line of sight are parallel with the floor.

If you have someone to help you, have that person place a flat object against the wall so that it gently rests upon the top of your head. They will need to mark the wall where the flat object meets the top of your head.

Then, use a metal tape measure to determine the distance between the created mark and the floor to determine your height. If you do not have someone to assist you, you will need to hold the object above your head with one hand and mark where the object meets your head with the other.

About Author

Priscilla Dreher

Known for her travel blogs, Priscilla Dreher started out as sociologist in her career only to combine her love for writing with her penchant for philanthropy in the later years. A widely traveled author, Dreher has championed many human rights causes and continues to advocate for socio-political inclusivity in all her writing.