Average Height for Men in U.S. and Worldwide

When it comes to physical attributes, height is often a topic of curiosity and fascination. Whether you’re reaching for something on the top shelf or standing in a crowd, your height plays a significant role in how you interact with the world around you. But have you ever wondered what the average height for men is? In this post, we’ll look into the factors that influence height and discover where in the world men are tallest. So, if you’re ready to find out the truth about average male height, keep reading!

simple adult teenager male person with a roll tape measure the height against the wall

Average Height for Men in the U.S.

The average height for men in the U.S. depends on several factors, including age and ethnic background. Here’s a breakdown:

Overall average:

  • Around 5 feet 9 inches (176 cm). This is based on national data from various sources, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Variations based on age:

  • 20-39 years old: 5 feet 9 inches (176.1 cm)
  • 40-59 years old: 5 feet 9 inches (175.8 cm)
  • 60 years and older: 5 feet 8 inches (173.4 cm)

Variations based on ethnicity:

  • Non-Hispanic White: 5 feet 10.4 inches (179.3 cm)
  • Hispanic/Latino: 5 feet 7.5 inches (171.5 cm)
  • Black: 5 feet 9.3 inches (176.2 cm)
  • Asian: 5 feet 7.2 inches (170.7 cm)

The shortest states for men on average are Hawaii (5’7″), California and New Mexico (both 5’8″). The tallest states are the Midwest and Great Plains states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Nebraska with averages of 5’10”-5’11”.

Only about 14% of American men are 6′ or taller. Less than 4% are 6’2″ or taller. Overall height has steadily increased over the last 60+ years.

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Average Height for Men Worldwide

Here’s a look at how the average height for adult men compares globally:

  • The Netherlands has the tallest men in the world, averaging 6’0″ (183 cm).
  • After The Netherlands, the countries with the tallest men are Belgium (5’11”), Estonia, Latvia and Denmark (all average 5’10”).
  • Most Western European, Scandinavian and central European countries average in the 5’9″ to 5’10” range.
  • Countries with medium heights in the 5’7″-5’8″ range include the United States, Britain, Germany and Australia.
  • North and South Korea have similar averages, around 5’7″, same as Peru and Malta.
  • Shorter average heights under 5’7″ are found in most Asian and Latin American nations. The shortest continents overall are Asia and Latin America/Caribbean.
  • The shortest countries in order are Timor-Leste (5’2″), Laos, Madagascar, Nepal and Philippines all averaging 5’3″.
  • Recent generations of men are taller than their ancestors in most parts of the world due to better nutrition and healthcare. East Asian countries have seen some of the biggest generational gains in average height.

What Determines a Man’s Height?

The height of an individual is determined by a variety of factors, including genetics, nutrition, health, socioeconomic status, and environmental influences. Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors and how they can contribute to a man’s height.

1. Genetics

Genetics plays a significant role in determining a person’s height. Your height is largely influenced by the genes inherited from your parents. Genes control the growth and development of bones, muscles, and other structures that contribute to height. However, it’s important to note that while genetics provide a foundation for height potential, they are not the sole determining factor.

2. Nutrition

Proper nutrition is essential for optimal growth and development, especially during childhood and adolescence. Adequate intake of essential nutrients, such as proteins, vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates, is crucial for bone growth and overall health. Malnutrition or a lack of essential nutrients can stunt growth and lead to shorter stature.

3. Health

Good overall health is important for reaching your maximum height potential. Chronic illnesses, infections, or hormonal imbalances can interfere with proper growth and development. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which includes regular exercise, sufficient sleep, and stress management, can support optimal growth.

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4. Socioeconomic Status

Socioeconomic factors, such as access to quality healthcare, education, and resources, can indirectly influence a person’s height. Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds may have limited access to nutritious food, healthcare facilities, and opportunities for physical activity, which can impact their growth and development.

5. Environmental Influences

External factors, such as exposure to pollutants, toxins, and certain medications, can affect a person’s height. Additionally, cultural and societal factors may influence dietary preferences, physical activity levels, and overall lifestyle choices, which can impact height.

How Do Doctors Measure Average Height?

Doctors don’t actually directly measure “average height.” Instead, they rely on data and research to understand average height ranges for different populations based on factors like age, ethnicity, and sex. This information is typically presented in growth charts, which are used to assess individual growth and development compared to established norms.

Here’s what doctors actually do when measuring height:

  • Use a stadiometer: This is the preferred tool for accurate height measurement. It’s a tall ruler attached to the wall, often with a sliding headpiece that rests on the person’s head.
  • Follow proper measuring technique: This involves ensuring the person stands straight with their heels together and back against the wall, chin parallel to the floor.
  • Record the measurement: The distance from the top of the head to the floor is recorded in centimeters or inches.
  • Compare to growth charts: The individual’s height is then compared to relevant growth charts, which show the expected height range for their age, sex, and sometimes ethnicity.

When Do Men Stop Getting Taller?

Men typically stop growing taller by the end of puberty, which can vary from one individual to another. On average, most men finish growing and reach their maximum height by the age of 18 to 20 years. However, some may continue to grow slightly until their early 20s.

The end of height growth in men is marked by the closing of growth plates in the bones, known as epiphyseal plates. Once these plates fuse, which happens towards the end of puberty, further growth in height is not possible. The timing of this process is largely determined by genetics, although nutrition and overall health during the growing years can also play significant roles.

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Testosterone and other hormones have significant effects on growth patterns, and they are also responsible for the other changes that occur during puberty, such as muscle development and changes in body shape. If there are concerns about growth or development during adolescence, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare provider for assessment and guidance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is 5’11 tall for a man?

Yes, a height of 5ft 11in is considered above average for men in the UK and USA. It would be considered average height in Sweden but below average in Holland. In some Asian countries, 5ft 11in is considered very tall.

Is 5’12 a real height?

No, 5ft 12in is not actually a valid height. It is more common for people to refer to this as 6ft instead of 5ft 12in.

Is 5’9 considered short?

No, a height of 5ft 9in is not considered short. The average male height in the US is around 5ft 10in, so 5ft 9in would be close to the average height.

Is 5’2 too short for a guy?

Yes, a height of 5ft 2in is generally considered short for a guy, especially in the US. The average height for males in the US is around 5ft 10in.

Is 6’2 tall for a man?

Yes, a height of 6ft 2in is considered tall for a man. Only around 3.9% of men in the US are 6ft 2in or taller, and globally only around 10% of men have a height of 6ft or more.

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