What Is the Average Height for Men? (2023)

Medically reviewed by Daniel Combs, MD

The average height for men varies across the world. In the United States, the average male is about 5 feet 9 inches tall. Factors like genetics, nutrition, and medical conditions can affect where you’ll stand on the growth charts.

Starting in early childhood, your healthcare provider should monitor your height to ensure you’re growing at a healthy rate and to compile data for national growth charts. These charts help track your growth against national averages, which can help indicate nutrient deficiencies or underlying medical conditions.

As an adult, knowing your height can help you size your clothes or furniture—but it may also be used to track changes in your health as you get older.

Average Height for Men in the U.S.

The average height of men in the U.S. who are 20 years or older is 5 feet 9 inches. This average is based off of 2015–2016 data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This number is not an indication of how tall a male should be; it’s just a way to gauge the overall height of a population.

Average Height for Men Around the World

Male heights vary quite a bit across the globe. Socioeconomic factors, like access to quality foods and genetics both play a major role in the height differences. Compared to other countries, American men’s 5-foot-9 average is somewhat in the middle of global height averages.

The tallest average male height is found in the Netherlands, with an average of 72.4 inches—or slightly over 6 feet tall. Southeast Asia countries and Guatemala were among the shortest, averaging about 5 feet 4 inches or slightly shorter.

To estimate how much male height varies worldwide, in 2016 the NCD Risk Factor Collaboration published an analysis of 1,472 population-based studies from 200 countries. These studies included more than 18.6 million men born between 1896 and 1996.

Here’s how male height compares in different countries:

  • Netherlands: 6 feet

  • Germany: 5 feet 11 inches

  • Bermuda: 5 feet 10 inches

  • Greece: 5 feet 10 inches

  • Puerto Rico: 5 feet 10 inches

  • Australia: 5 feet 10 inches

  • Canada: 5 feet 10 inches

  • United Kingdom: 5 feet 10 inches

  • Brazil: 5 ft 9 inches

  • South Korea: 5 ft 9 inches

  • Iran: 5 ft 9 inches

  • China: 5 ft 9 inches

  • Mexico: 5 feet 7 inches

  • Kenya: 5 feet 7 inches

  • India: 5 feet 5 inches

  • Philippines: 5 feet 4 inches

These measurements are estimates based on the data available. Since there were no standard instructions for measuring or reporting height across countries, there could be slight differences in measurements between countries.

How the Average Height Has Changed Over Time

Men, and humans in general, are taller than their ancestors. Ten thousand-year-old male skeletons from Europe measured 5 feet 6 inches—about a 3-inch difference from today’s U.S. average.

Even looking back to only the 1960s, the average male was an inch shorter than today’s measurements. The U.S. National Health Survey statistics from 1960–1962 reported men were about 5 feet 8 inches.

Other countries have seen similar or even more drastic trends. One study found men in Iran have grown about 6.7 inches in the last 100 years—which is the largest height gain in the world.

One theory as to why men’s height has increased is that our more modern lifestyles and technologies have led to better nutrition. Access to substantial nutrients throughout life improves your chances of reaching your full height potential. Alternatively, nutrient deficiencies can stunt growth.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean humans will keep getting taller. Researchers indicate that better nutrition itself isn't necessarily adding height. Instead, the access to nutrition is giving people the ability to reach their full height potential and pass on any tall genes.

Factors That Determine Height

Like with most physical traits, a person’s genetics and environment play a major role in development. Your genetics will predetermine what your height could be. At the same time, other influences like nutrition can either help you reach your height potential or hinder your growth.


Height is an extremely hereditary trait that is influenced by multiple gene variants. In fact, researchers have identified more than 700 common gene variants that affect height.

For example, if your parents are short and you don't have an underlying health condition affecting your growth, you are likely to have a shorter height. This genetic situation is called familial short stature.

As a child, healthcare providers can calculate your genetic height potential (your estimated adult height) by finding the mid-parental height. Your mid-parental height is an average height between your two parents and is essentially an educated guess.

Because so many different genes—and environmental factors—affect height, it's not easy to predict height based on genetics alone.


Throughout childhood and adolescence, children need nutrients from food to grow and reach their height potential. Children who experience malnutrition, or a lack of nutrients, may have stunted growth. This means their height is short for their age. Stunted growth in childhood might affect your height in adulthood.

Research has found that specific nutrients, like protein, are linked to taller men. One study of men from 105 countries found that those who ate more high-quality animal protein were taller.

Aligning with other data, men in northern and central Europe—countries with the highest male height averages—ate the most animal proteins, including dairy. In contrast, men in East Asia, countries with shorter height averages, ate more foods that were not as protein-rich, like rice.

Medical Conditions

Having certain chronic disorders, especially as a kid, may affect your growth.

Conditions that make it hard to absorb nutrients from your food can stunt your growth as a child. Other conditions may affect your joints or bone structure, which can impact growth.

Some conditions often associated with decreased nutrient absorption and shorter heights include:

  • Cystic fibrosis: A genetic condition that can impact digestion

  • Juvenile idiopathic arthritis: Inflamed joints may cause slow, fast, or uneven bone growth

  • Anemia: A condition in which a person has lower levels of red blood cells

  • Chronic renal insufficiency: A kidney disease that can result in lower nutrient levels and loss of appetite

  • Inflammatory bowel disorder: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis both cause inflammation in the digestive tract and can impact digestion

Other medical conditions can directly affect how you grow as a child and adolescent, resulting in extreme tall or short heights.

Gigantism, or extremely tall height, can be caused by a few different conditions that cause the body to create too much growth hormone, including:

  • Pituitary tumors: Abnormal growths in the pituitary gland, which is located in the skull

  • Carney complex: An endocrine disorder characterized by tumor formation and pigmented areas of the skin

  • McCune-Albright syndrome: A genetic condition that affects the bones, skin, and hormone-producing tissues

  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 or type 4: Abnormal cell growth

  • Neurofibromatosis: Development of tumors that affects the brain, spinal cord, and nerves

Extremely short height is considered dwarfism, which can affect height in two ways: proportionate short stature (PSS) and disproportionate short stature (DSS). PSS means the arms, legs, and trunk are proportionately small. DSS means the limbs or trunk is significantly smaller and disproportionate to the body. An underlying genetic condition usually causes dwarfism, including:

  • Endocrine disorders

  • Growth hormone deficiencies

  • Bone diseases like achondroplasia

Why Do Men Get Shorter With Age?

Many people start to lose height as they get older. On average, older men lose about 0.08 to 0.10% of their height per year—or about two to four centimeters through the end of life.

You can start getting shorter after age 40, but height loss typically becomes more rapid after age 70. Aging often leads to declines in muscle mass and bone density. These changes can cause you to become shorter over time.

Following practices to promote healthy aging can help you maintain your height for longer. This includes eating a nutritious diet, getting exercise, and keeping up with healthcare appointments. Seeing a healthcare provider regularly can help monitor your bone health to prevent and treat bone loss.

How To Measure Your Own Height

If you want to figure out how tall you are, find a flat wall with a mirror directly across from it (you could also place a standing mirror in front of your wall). Then, follow these steps to accurately measure your own height:

  1. Stand tall against the wall, with the back of your heels touching the wall and your shoulders flat against the surface (your head should not touch the wall).

  2. Place a stiff, flat object like a hardcover book, piece of cardboard, or cutting board on top of your head and slide it back until it touches the wall and the top of your head.

  3. If you have a mirror across from you, look to ensure the object is parallel to the floor and your posture isn’t slumped or leaning.

  4. Using a pencil, mark a short horizontal line where your flat object hits the wall and touches your head (this will be the bottom side of your object).

  5. Put the object down, grab a tape measure, and measure from the floor to the mark to record your height.

Your height may not fall on an exact measurement. If that’s the case, you can measure your height to the nearest 1/8 inch.

A Quick Review

The average male height varies depending on location, genetics, medical conditions, and nutrition.

In the U.S., the estimated average male height is 5 foot 9 inches. Men in the Netherlands have a taller average height at about 6 feet, while Southeast Asian countries and Guatemala have a shorter average height at 5 foot 4 inches.

Your genetics will initially determine how tall you’ll be, but access to nutrient-dense foods and the presence of chronic conditions can impact your height potential.

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Read the original article on Health.


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