Men’s Height, Average in the US and Globally

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the average height for men in the U.S. is 5 feet 9 inches or 69.1 inches (175.4 centimeters). This data was compiled as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted from 1999 to 2016.

However, it is important to remember that the term "average" means that half of the adult male population will be taller than this measurement, while the other half will be shorter.

Genetic factors primarily determine the height of an individual, but other factors can also play a role, including environmental factors such as nutrition. In fact, over the past hundred years, the average height for men has increased due to better nutrition.

How is Height Data Collected?

National health agencies collect vital statistics on height to track and calculate average heights. These agencies collect standing height at age two and use a digital stadiometer to measure individuals to the nearest 0.1 cm. A stadiometer is a height-measuring device with a vertical ruler and a sliding horizontal stick or rod placed on the top of the head.

It is also worth noting that average heights can vary depending on location. For instance, the average height for men in the U.S.differs from that of men in other countries.

How to Measure Height at Home

To measure your height accurately at home, you don't need specialized equipment. All you need is a pencil and a metal measuring tape. First, remove your shoes and socks, and stand against a flat wall without molding at the bottom. Your entire body should make contact with the wall from your heels to your head, with your gaze parallel to the ground.

Next, hold the pencil horizontally along the top of your head and make a small mark on the wall to denote your height. Finally, use the measuring tape to measure the distance from the floor to the pencil mark. In the U.S., height is typically measured in feet and inches, so round your measurement to the nearest eighth of an inch.

By following these best practices, you can measure your height accurately and determine whether you fall within the average range for your gender and age. It's important to note that accurate height measurements can also be helpful for monitoring growth and development, as well as for certain medical procedures and treatments.

Historical Height and Men's Height Trends

Height among American men has been steadily increasing over the past few decades. Statistics on body mass index (BMI), a metric that takes into account both height and weight, have been gathered since the late 1950s, and they show that average male heights have been rising gradually for the previous 400 years.

Men in the early Massachusetts colony of the Pilgrims averaged roughly 66 inches in height (1620), while enlistees in the United States Army averaged 68.1 inches in height that same year (1943). The typical adult male was 69.3 inches (5 feet 9 inches) tall in 2010.

It's worth noting, though, that men's average height has risen by only a few inches over the past 10,000 years despite this tendency. Men's average height has been determined to be about 168 cm, or about 5 feet and 5 inches, based on the investigation of skeletons dating back to the Mesolithic era.

Improvements in health and nutrition, according to specialists, have played a crucial part in recent height rises. There are now more efficient strategies for preventing disease and promoting health in a child's formative years, as well as for postponing the onset of degeneration in older adults. There is consensus amongst specialists, however, that the maximum height may have already been reached.

Body mass index (BMI) is commonly used for measuring future health status and consequences, however it is crucial to remember that it has limitations and does not account for various characteristics, including body composition, ethnicity, race, gender, and age. Despite this, it is still a rapid and cheap way for doctors to assess possible health condition and outcomes.

Global Average Heights for Men

The average height for men varies greatly across different parts of the world. For instance, in the Netherlands and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the average height for men is just over 6 feet tall, while in some parts of Southeast Asia, such as Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines, the average height is around 5 feet 4 inches or less.

On the other hand, the tallest men come from the Nilotic people of the Sudan, where the average height is around 6 feet 3 inches. It is important to note that these are just a few examples and that many other countries have varying average heights for men.

Here is a list of average male heights in various countries, ranked from highest to lowest:

  1. Sudan - 6 feet 3 inches
  2. Netherlands - 6 feet
  3. Montenegro - 6 feet
  4. Denmark - 5 feet 11 inches
  5. Norway - 5 feet 11 inches
  6. Serbia - 5 feet 11 inches
  7. Croatia - 5 feet 11 inches
  8. Bosnia and Herzegovina - 5 feet 11 inches
  9. Germany - 5 feet 10 inches
  10. Canada - 5 feet 10 inches
  11. United Kingdom - 5 feet 9 inches
  12. United States - 5 feet 9 inches
  13. Australia - 5 feet 9 inches
  14. Japan - 5 feet 7 inches
  15. China - 5 feet 6 inches
  16. India - 5 feet 5 inches

These numbers can vary from one study to another, and it's important to keep in mind that averages are just that - averages. They don't necessarily represent the entire population, and there can be significant variation within a given country or region.

Factors that Affect Height

Height is influenced by various factors, including genetics, nutrition, illness, and geographic factors. While genetics plays a significant role in determining a person's height, other factors can also contribute.


Genetics is one of the most important factors that influence a person's height. Studies have shown that height is highly heritable, meaning that it is largely determined by genetic factors. An analysis of twin studies has found that genetic factors can account for up to 80% of the variation in height between individuals. This suggests that if both parents are tall, their children are likely to also be tall.

However, height is not determined by a single gene. Instead, it is influenced by a complex interplay of multiple genes. Scientists have identified over 700 genetic variants that are associated with height, each of which contributes a small amount to a person's overall height. Some of these genes play a role in bone growth and development, while others influence hormonal regulation or other biological processes that impact height. By studying these genetic variants, scientists hope to better understand the biological mechanisms that regulate height, and potentially develop new treatments for growth disorders.


Studies have shown that a lack of proper nutrition during childhood and adolescence can lead to stunted growth and decreased height potential. Specifically, a diet that is rich in high-quality proteins, calcium, and vitamin D is important for promoting bone growth and development. Protein is particularly important for building and repairing tissues, including bone tissue, while calcium and vitamin D are important for bone mineralization and strength.

It is not just the amount of nutrition that is important, but also the timing. When the body is growing and developing rapidly during childhood and adolescence, proper nutrition is crucial for achieving maximum height potential. Research suggests that the first two years of life are particularly critical for ensuring adequate nutrition and promoting optimal growth. On the other hand, malnutrition or undernourishment during this period can lead to permanent growth deficits.


On the other hand, illnesses that impact food intake or absorption, such as diarrhea-causing infections, respiratory infections, and certain diseases, can hinder height development.


Geographic factors can also play a role in determining height. For instance, the duration of sunlight throughout the day can affect thyroid hormones, which in turn impact height.

It is important to note that while these factors can impact height, genetics is still the most significant factor. An analysis of twin studies found that genes play a major role in determining height, especially as a person ages. However, individuals can maximize their height potential by ensuring proper nutrition and health.

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