Talk:Human height/Archive 1

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Some people say here that Eurostat has statistics for stature in Europe. Can somebody tell me please if those statistics can be seen via internet, and if so Where?

Middle Ages

Text lists the Middle Ages in Europe as being a time when people were particularly tall. (The European Middle Ages was an era of tallness with men of above six feet (1.83 m) considered unremarkable.) It is my impression that this is incorrect. Given the size of doorways in old European buildings and the suits of armor from that period displayed in museums, it seems this was a time when people were rather short. Was this not also a time of generally poor nutrition?

It depends what era of the middle ages, i know an ice age fits in there somewhere, but during times of plentiful harvest, lower population density etc archaelogical digs show the average height or early medieval people being similar to those of colonial Americans. (who were almost modern American height). According to most auxologist height decreased most sharply during the industrial revolution, and then in the 20th century returned to former levels of tallness, and then exceeded them. -- rom >> For most sports height is useful as it helps a person carry more muscles.

Muscles follow a square-cube law. Voluminous bodies are actually weaker and more fragile, compared to a small body of the same proportions! It's about muscle leverage. Femto 15:08, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)

According to the table, NL male adults average 182.5cm. According to the fourth paragraph, they average 187cm. Anyone know why htis is or which is correct? -- General Wesc

Probably the fourth paragraph, if that. I am sorry but there is no way that the Dutch average 1.825, even the women are mostly taller than that. I've been all over Holland and have lots of Dutch friends and not one of them under 1,90 cm. I was on a plane to Athens from Coppenhagen in 2001 in the company of eleven Dutch lads aged from 20 to about 40 (I was the only Welshman), seven of the lads were in excess of two metres and the shortest of them was a staggering 1,95cm. By chance, the Serbia and Montenegro (or Yugoslavia as was then) national basketball team was on the same plane and these Dutch lads were on average much taller. Now think about it, the national basketball team of Yugoslavia was handpicked from hundreds of thousands - their presence does not reflect the true average height of people in their country, but these boys who were flying to Athens on business were not basketball players or anything of the sort, just normal people on day to day business, and just in case anyone thought that this is contrary to how the Dutch appear statisticly, when arriving in Athens and joining the dozens of other Dutch people already there, it turned out that they were all the same height, stretching from 192 to well over 2 metres, with poor me at 5'10 (180cm). Celtmist

I think the entire forth paragraph makes no sense. Japanese are expected to be taller within a decade? That makes no sense, especially with japan's low birthrate.

I read that the Japanese average height has increased quite a lot during the last century, and that it likely was due to better nutrition and more protein in the food.

Average heights?

Do the people doing the edits know what a bell curve is? Why say "It is highly variable, but normally falls with a certain range (bell curve)." then post single figures?

And the last couple of "sources" look pretty dodgy.

I do not agree with these figures. Actualy I think The Dutch average somewhere between 2.20 and 2.30 meters. I have seen it myself. In fact, there is reliable information that asserts that some members of the Dutch secret service disguise themselves as giraffes.

Imperial Measurements Added

Because I've grown up with measuring people's heights in feet and inches, when I first looked at the table of average heights in each country, I wasn't sure what was short and what was tall, so I thought I'd be a good dutiful Wikizen and convert the heights into Imperial measurements and have them along side the metric measurements, so we could all be happy.

One snag, I've no idea how to merge cells in tables on Wikipedia. I tried looking up how to do it but it all went over my head!

As a result, it looks pretty crappy. Would somebody mind improving it? Puhweeeeeez?

The data in the table is invalid, though I can't cite "official" data for each country. There is, however, an article on successive famines in North Korea suggesting that, indeed, average young male height is perhaps below 5 feet (152.4 cm):

Rich Da 5' 8"

A related article (same researcher) on the North Korean famine and attendant acute stunting: "The average 14-year-old boy was 10in (25.4 cm) shorter than his average South Korean peer and 42lb (19kg) lighter. The average 17-year-old was 5ft tall, compared with 5ft 8in in the South.",,8122-1082644,00.html

sorry i dunno how to start my own section....but you appear to have used a dodgy calculator in your conversions. the value for the uk in centimetres is higher than that of the usa but alongside it the value in inches is shorter than the usa....whats going on?

I have my doubts about alot of the figures written here as averages.

For starters in Europe these statistics seem to apply to the younger generations though this has not been stated. In which case the Australian average of 177cm should be increased to 178.

I'm also sceptical about some of these figures in general. 178cm for an Iranian ..... where did that come from?

I can tell you that the information here is far from accurate. For example, the latest data for young Spaniards, males, is 1,78, but the table indicates 1,73. These data are quite old. On the other hand it uses data that are not correct at all, like the 1,84 for young Dutchmen.

You're joking right? A person's height fluctuates an average of 19mm over the course of a day, and you think a difference in 5mm shows a serious problem with the data being out of date? Pete.Hurd 02:04, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

I am really surprised at the fact that a person's height fluctuates that much over a day. I do not question it. Only it is pretty impressive.

To be honest, I never really understood how an average height may be taken. Surely it is impossible to measure every single person in every single country. Every day people are born and die; I know it sounds silly and obvious but this does affect the average height in that each day, some people reach their maximum height and stop growing, but this could for boys be at 12 years old or ever 28. Descent can start from as early at 49... anyhow, I do believe that in Holland they are the tallest people on average of all the places I have been which includes the USA, Canada, Germany, Norway, other such countries where people are tall. Even so, looking at the former Yugoslavia, Montenegro remains a part of Serbia & Montenegro which replaced Yugoslavia in 2003. If they seperate which they probably will, I am sure that Hollands days as worlds tallest nation will be numbered because already taking simply Montenegro and excluding Serbia, you have an extremely tall nation. I come from Rijeka in present-day Croatia but my mothers family is all Italian. I am 1,92cm which seemed average in Holland when I spent two years there (2000-2002) but only in Montenegro do I feel like a short man. user:Mario55 13-08-05

Sketchy source for averages...

The entire article that lists the average heights relys on the source which is I must say very sketchy and is not even in english. It also goes against alot of other sources that are more reliable.

Also it says the average height in napoleons army was 5'0"...This is also nonsense because Napoleon himself was 5'6" according to his death measurments.(See the napoleon page about the myth of him being short). Napoleon would of towered over the rest of his him if the average height in his army was 5'0". Someone needs to fix it and provide a source when they do.

Another thing...It says that Asians are not genetically shorter but are only that way due to environment and poverty and mal-nutrition. This is nonsense. If it were true....Japanese would average the same as americans do since their economy is doing nearly better than ours. Not only that...But Asian Americans would not be shorter if they grew up in America,But they obviously are. This also needs to be changed.

  • Quite so, and on the rare occasion, when an American is born and raised in Asia, say one born to parents who are diplomats, he too reaches the taller height of the Americans despite breathing the same air as the locals. Besides, what about the more privileged? Islam Korimov of Uzbekistan is short, so are his cabinet colleagues and they have never had impoverished lifestyles! Good observation. Celtmist 17-10-05
  • It has to do with diet. Oriental diets are vegetable and starch based, and hence contain less protein than Western diets. They eat rice and vegetables, instead of steak, cheese, and milk. So wealthy Japanese and Asian Americans are still short because they consume an oriental diet.
  • Asians get less protein?! I beg to differ. Meaty dishes like those with duck and pork are part of many chinese foods. I'm taiwanese myself and from experience, oriental people who are wealthy/rich enough to afford these dishes often enjoy eating them. Plus, what about seafood, which the Japanese eat like crazy! Seafood is high in protein and calcium as well. While it is true that asians don't exactly eat that much dairy, or consume much steak, Asians do get their protein.
  • To me, Asians have a huge range of heights. Are you talking only about East Asians? If so, then generally North Chinese and Koreans are tall while South Chinese and Japanese are short. The majority of Chinese people in the USA are from Southern China can come to your own conclusions.
So, what do these more reliable sources say the heights are? I see no reason to assume is not reliable just because it's not in English... Pete.Hurd 20:38, 3 October 2005 (UTC)


The IP has made several changes to the data in this page, the most recent has been tagged as vandalism. These are subtle edits which qualify as severe vandalism (the same IP has made significant, reverted as vandalism) edits to population of Somalia, and made racist abuse vandalisation to ages like Congoid. Someone should go back and revert all the edits made by this IP. Pete.Hurd 19:01, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

This page protected for a time. Hopefully the vandals will get tired and quit. · Katefan0(scribble) 20:02, 5 October 2005 (UTC)
I'm lifting the protection; hopefully the vandals have gone away. I've got this on my watchlist, if it starts again I'll put it back. · Katefan0(scribble) 16:56, 7 October 2005 (UTC)

I agree with the average heights listed are inaccurate. i'm going to delete them now, better less information than inaccurate information. If someone wants to put some better SOURCED statistics for average heights of nations, then they are welcome to, I will do this a little bit later maybe. But half of the statistics listed here are just stupid. Average height in Iran and Romania the same as Norway, I have my serious doubts. - rom

The data on the page you deleted the link to ( is sourced. The data come mainly from government publications derived from census data, and articles in reputable journals. Thouse sources are more solid that the English links you didn't delete. I think there is embedded vandalism in the table, maybe it deserves some sort of a 'disputed' tag until it gets cleaned up, but I really don't understand rejecting data from just because that web page isn't in English. Perhaps we could solicit some assistance from wikipedians proficient in Japanese and other source languages to track down and translate the citations, I just had a Japanese colleague give me a quick report. The sources were adequate for scholarly work as he saw it. Pete.Hurd 15:14, 12 October 2005 (UTC)

There is definately some very funny things going on with that table ... like the average croation being taller than the average dutchman. The table does not refer to the age of the people it's looking at which is relevent because in Europe and Asia the average height has increased considerably. AND obviously some of these statistics apply to the whole population, and obviously others refer to the younger population and still othere are simply obviously wrong. I don't want to get into a protracted debate of deleting/editing changes, but honestly it's a very bad set of data. Like I said, i'd be happy to make a revised and sourced list later but Karube, isn't in english, and i'd be unlkely to be so prejudiced usually but the data there is often in disagreement with other better sourced data, so I think dismissing the whole table would be best. I can tell you for sure that by leaving it in, we are leaving inaccurate data in wikipedia. - rom

The table is all wonky, somebody should scrap and redo it. --TJ

Well I certainly agree - rom

Anon "TJ"'s complaint about the table being wonky is laughable, being made a minute after having vandalized it himself. I find "rom"'s comment about not usually being so prejudiced a bit of a releif. I was secretly fearing that your complaints about the page were motivated by some wierd racist ideology, nice to know this isn't the case "rom". Oh, BTW, I read your contribution on White Self Hatred on the Self-hatred entry. It's really fascinating stuff. That's the wonderful thing about wikipedia, huh? All those different points of view, each with their own pages. Now, about your suggestion that we delete data from scientific papers because you don't like it. I think it should stay. I'm really excited to hear that you have better data. That's great! The sources for the current data are as good as it gets on the net, and most of the sources are as good as it gets period. I'm particularly keen to hear if you have found data on Jamaicans or Zulus, because I've been looking for those numbers for months. Methodological problems with mean height data is well known and discussed in great detail in papers such as the one cited on the page. Perhaps you could contribute more to this field of knowledge by coming up with new criticisms, or methodological improvements for cllecting such data. I think you ought to submit that to the Annals of Human Biologyof some other learned journal. Best Regards, Pete.Hurd 18:40, 15 October 2005 (UTC)

/* Scientific papers? Karube a list of heights and we don't know where it's coming from. Eurostat lists average heights of people in the EU. I suggest that data take over from Karube, because Karube seems to be a meta list with very little regard to where the information comes from.

You can find random sources on the internet, like karube seems to have, saying the average American is 6 feet (1.83m). And i'm not talking someones forum guess, i'm talking BBC Now, we don't believe that, but if that was the first result to come up in a search engine, Karube would have listed it.

Here's another problem, the average height of a US male is listed here at 175cm. It doesn't say for what age group or for the total population but fine, maybe karube is listing older people aswell. But that doesn't seem to make sense when you see "shows that the average height of a man aged 20-74 years increased from just over 5'8" in 1960 to 5'9½" in 2002." That equals approximately 176.5cm. Karube has 175cm for average American male sourced from 2001? Maybe they have better data that I do, but I'm doubting it. I think they just remembered hearing 5'9" was an average height in America, and then converted it roughly into cms rounding down. The fact it's in whole cms is suspicious!

Do you honestly think that the average Iranian is 178.7cm and the average person from Finland is 178.2cm. I believe the latter, but not the former at all. Auxology (sp) is the study of human heights and it says differences largely aren't racial (despite your wish to throw racism into the cards) but environmental. So why would the average person in Iran have better childhood growing conditions than the average person in Finland, with one of the best standards of living in the world?

Norway's average height of 179.7cm is sourced at 2002, and for 19 - 44 year olds according to Karube. Now that's one of the first Norwegian heights statistics you get in a search engine, and it's from a reputable sounding source. It was the average height for norwegian conscripts in 2002 (i think they are recruited on the year they are turning 19). So this is the average height for 18 - 19 or possibably 20 year old, which Karube mis sourced as being for 19 - 44 year olds. (not that it's too much of an inaccurate data for 44 year olds in norway who are probably 179 plus cms, but it's just lucky for Karube that this was the first source they found and that Norwegians have had good living conditions for so long.

I have shown you a few times that they have said some extremely dubious things. If you still think i'm a charlatan for objecting to these statistics, which you seem to take as a scholarly work, then fine. Pete.Hurd I've done my best to convince you - - rom

btw, if you want to list better statistics, i'd be happy to help you. Anthropometric studies, Eurostat etc would be a much better place to start. The average heights on karube seem more accurate for far east asian countries, ie about 170cm for japan, about 173cm for South Korean, just under 170cm for china but this if for young people who have recently finsihed growing.

So if you redo the table don't forget the importance to list the age of the people measured, and the year it was done.

If i didn't think you'd keep putting the table back up I'd delete it again, but i'm going to let you decide whether the table should stay, Pete. Please tell me your decision?

  • /

You want to add good data? What's stopping you? All you've done is delete, without respect to the quality of the source, and some of them were excellent sources. Pete.Hurd 02:47, 16 October 2005 (UTC)

You don't get it, I just showed you that Karube is very dodgy with sources, and so itself shouldn't be treated as a source.

What your doing is worse than vandalism, because it's presenting dubious statistics as fact.

What I would recommend is all data sourced only from Karube be scrapped, and all data should say when measurements where taken, and for what age group.

Plus the opinion (and that's all it could be) about white self hatred I gave shouldn't be seen as racist, or part of a racist ideallogy. But think what you like, just don't dismiss my criticisms of these statistics with ad homminem please.

Karube is not a good source, it's not a scientific paper, and I'm not arguing against the whole scientific establishment by calling it into question.

Do you think that Karube should be treated as relevent source, when I have shown you that definately SOME of the statistics are either inaccurate or mislabeled, while others highly suspicious.

A yes or no, answer in light of what I have shown you (ie American average height incorrect, Norwegian mislabelled and therefore inaccurate, and Iranian very suspicious (among others)) should Karube be considered an authoritive source?

Please note, I am not the only person in this discussion critisizing Karube, and you are the only one defending it. -- rom

Deleting the whole table deleted more than just karube. Karube isn't a reliable source, it's a collection, which does list some of the sources (so it can be verified) and it lists the date of collection, and the age range of the subjects in the sample. If the data looks wonky, then go find more data, with it's source reference, date and age of sample etc, and stack it up against what other data has been collected. The answer isn't to delete everything in a hissy fit then sulk off. For some wierd reason, this page attacts vandalism like a cow pie attracts flies. The Iran and Iraq entries are probably ficticious vandalism, and many of the other values have been mutated by hundreds of vandalistic edits. This article needs effort to fix it, it would be great to have better data than karube. Are you just going to complain, or are you going to actually DO something? Pete.Hurd 05:21, 16 October 2005 (UTC)

Well, then. added later, since i forget to critisize your hypocrisy properly getting sidetracked thinking about african tribes. Now you have described karube as a sources during this discussion, and attempted to make light of my claim of having better data, which ofcourse I have seen, and have presented the discussion with some examples. I really don't care what a japanese person says having a quick look over a site, which I have seen has inaccurate hindu-arabic figures next to flags i can recognise. Quick look overs don't mean much in english or any other language. The fact is Karube lists some bad data, and has some obvious mislabelling which I have identified, and that's off the top of my head. Now, You are wrong, an admission would be appreciated. You have described karube as a source calling criticism of karube criticism of the sources, and karube is listed as a source, you've atleast put that back up. So to you karube is a source.

Plus an apology for you citing my entry on revisionist history potentially leading to white self hatred, as evidence of weird racist idealogies, it's my opinion and is not related to any feelings of racial superiority. Just my observations, and i feel that this is a better representation of white self hatred, than merely saying it's an invention of white supremecists to justify racism. Fact, some people are ashamed of their race or cultures history (revisionist or orthodox), these people tend to be white and western, though neither catergory has a monopoly on shameful histories, merely a near monopoly on feelings of guilt about it.

Also implying i'm a charlatan, neither of us are qualified in Auxology or whatever field you want to call this, and no qualification is neccassary, just good sources and loyalty to the facts. I have no respect for findings by anyone from bad sources. Sources matter.

If i find an asian source the asian statistis on karube (I trust them for (japan, south korea and china I know them to be around 170 for japs, 173 for s.koreans, and the chinese government is making chinese kids (lactose intolerant unfortunately) drink milk because they are uspet that the japanese are for the first time ever taller than them, so slight advantage to japs over chinese. and then Eurostat for Europe. And for english speaking countries like Aus, Can, NZ, UK, US, maybe South Africa I can easily find good sources. Not that the stats for Aus/Can look that bad currently, but i'll source i properly. I know all the values for them anyway (exception of south africa), so just have to trace it back to the website.

Anyway, after I track down and give those sources, I want to delete karube, with it's bad data. This article, comes up high on google searches, and will become default common knowledge, so we are going to spread misinformation about important data if we let karube pass as a source (you have called it a source, and have recanted without admitting it, but it's listed as a source on the page). The worst thing about wikipedia is bad data in it, I've identified a bad source, but you still want to leave it in? all the good statistics in it I've seen before, so Karube in and of itself has NO VALUE.

Found a strange value for Canada once of over 5'11" for men born in the 1970s, then i've also seen 1.78m from halls md, and 1.77m i think from the Gov. Canada is a welfare state, and has a high standard of living, but are they that tall? Anglosphere countries seem limited to 5'10" currently (could be the suburban sprawl), but please tell Pete.Hurd from your perspective? Being canadian, has the average height for 30 year olds reached 180plus cm, now taller than norwegians? i'm thinking 1.78m untill that source is verified.

Next is your interest in jamicans and zulus. I have seen statistics about zulus. They weren't massive but they were modern heights. It was on a military site about Rorkes Drift or something similar. Obviously this was for 19th century zulus and probably dubious. The same site had data about Masia (sp?).

If your interested in the heights of African tribes, could easily get sources for pygmies, said to the shortest, and Tutsi said to be the largest (by guiness book of records anyway, at 1.83m, i've also read in an old guiness about a tribe (either tutis or masia) exceeding 6 feet on average, however guiness book of records once printed a record about a 12,000 year old red wood called eternal god that some guy had told them about claiming to be a botanist, so I don't trust them hugely).

What's interesting is, pygmies and to a lesser extent asians are shorter races. IS there such thing as a taller race? Taller than caucasions and most negroids? Currently i'm thinking no, though some people from Sudan, Ethiopia are extremely tall despite having poor conditions. I'm thinking some areas may experience more giantism than others, but have never found any statistics about that.

Are you interested in height because of your studies in aggression and bluffing, Pete.Hurd? --rom

I've been researching the effect of prenatal hormone exposure on adult behaviour, including aggression. Prenatal hormones also influence Digit ratio and other anthropomorphic traits. Digit ratio shows very strange variation across ethnic groups. Some researchers have suggested that lattitude explains some amount of the that ethnic variation, The same pattern has been suggested for human height, so I've been examining the relationship between height and digit ratio, both between individuals within ethnic groups (pretty easy to do), and between ethnic groups on average (harder to get data). Pete.Hurd 15:33, 16 October 2005 (UTC)

Heritability & Height

I think the issue of heritability of height needs to be better explained. The article as written does seem to be aware of gene by environment interactions, and the relatively large heritability for height within populations, and the relatively small contribution to genetics in inter-population variation. I think explicit meantion of heritability studies (e.g. Carmichael & McGue, 1995 'A cross-sectional examination of height, weight, and body mass index in adult twins' Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, Vol 50, Issue 4 B237-B244) for different population is merited. Some recent comments to the effect that the current article:

"[...] says that Asians are not genetically shorter but are only that way due to environment and poverty and mal-nutrition. This is nonsense [...] ...But Asian Americans would not be shorter if they grew up in America,But they obviously are.", and
"when an American is born and raised in Asia, say one born to parents who are diplomats, he too reaches the taller height of the Americans despite breathing the same air as the locals."

show that naive nature / nurture thinking is really prevalent, and this page is a great opportunity to explain modern gene-environment interactions, the use & limitations of heritability estimates within & between populations [1]. It would be really great to have Francis Galton's regression figure correlating father-son heights.

  • Francis Galton. "Regression Towards Mediocrity in Hereditary Stature," Journal of the Anthropological Institute, 15:246-263 (1886).


This table is seriously ugly, and the value of it is seriously questionable.

When the original source (or an actual source) in some cases is found to replace karube it should go.

Even though, Pete.Hurd, has implied Karube itself is a source and of scientific studies no less. He has since admitted it's just a list of sources. (or as i would argue, a list of sources both real, imagined and mislabelled).

The Australian values are debatable with abs(Australian Bureu of Statistics, releasing different figures 177 and 178cm for men, but is more consistent with women. Whatever is the most recent study should be trusted, and ofcourse dated.

As for Norway, i'm pretty sure it's just mislabbeled. It is exactly the average of 2002 18 - 19 year old recruits. The reason they mislabbeled it is that military age in norway is (from the year your turning 19) and military age is up to 44. So a bit of knowledge about that which probably hurt them. The averages refer to the enrolments, and not the officers etc, so while it's possible that there are deferments being counted, 18 - 19 is a much better label than 19 - 44. Mislabeled, sourced, don't need karube.

The major hurdle to me collecting these statistics is that it's so much easier to find male heights than female.

The original source is always better than a list of sources, so there's sort of a tacit agreement for me not to nuke karube, but if I find the original source Karube is citing then source it and label it properly, the karube source should be considered replaced, and redundant or mislabeled data should not be added from cache.

Here's what I think ought to be done with the table:
  1. All the anon edits without sources should be marked with an "x" in the Source column. An asterisk note in the table footer should say something about these potentially being vandalous edits from spurious sources.
  2. All the karube values should be in the table with the "b" source tag. An asterisk note in the table footer should say something about some people thinking that some of these values are not credible. The sources for the karube values should be investigated, and when they are, the source should be changed from "b" to another letter that indicates the non-karube source.
  3. Data from other sources should be added to the table with corresponding sources, added not replace other data. Deleting data is like burning books, just not done. All data is questionable, and human height is not the sort of thing that we ought to expect "one true answer" to, and so it is appropriate to gather data and present it so that educated consumers of the data can evaluate the outliers for themselves.
  4. The year the data was collected should be added to the table where it can be found, as has been done for the subject age. This will be really useful to present change over time.
  5. It would be great to get ethnic data from levels other than national averages, as long as these are quantitative. Anecdotal evidence of variation between closely placed geographic populations certainly deserves a paragraph in the page somewhere.
Make sense, sound ok? Pete.Hurd 17:40, 18 October 2005 (UTC)

1. OK, with that tag i can live with that. 2. That's fine, but sometimes Karube is mislabeled imo, and so more than just the source should be replaced in that case. For instance Norway, and possibably more. The other problem is that if the data is sourced, it may then be out of date, since some sources update yearly etc. 3. I can live with that, 4. Yeah good idea, it's clunky trying to put it in sources. 5. Agreed, but make that a paragraph and don't use anecdotal* evidence. There's some interesting variations within countries or regions. Not just ethnic ofcourse, but between classes and religions. So some examples Northern/Southern Netherlands, french/english Canada, US States (possibility that some midwest states are taller) asian/black/hispanic, North/South Korea (already done), I hear rumours of northern chinese being taller than southern, and African tribes (pygmy, Watusi, anyone else who good figures can be found for).

  • I'd object to anecdotal evidence even more than karube (though I think there is anecdotal data in karube). People notice and remember exceptional cases, use their own (usually overestimated) height for comparison etc. So any anecdotal evidence unless it's something really convincing (like i'd accept anecdotal evidence about pygmys if none other was avialable, but other data is availabel), shouldn't be put in the main article.

The other thing is, should x be used for unkown sources, or left blank? if it's left blank it's a bit of a failsafe as compared to waiting to someone to change it to x? --rom

"The other problem is that if the data is sourced, it may then be out of date, since some sources update yearly etc" There's nothing wring with "out of date" data, as long as it doesn't make the table impossibly large, since it may show patterns of change over time, which would be notable. I think "x" should be used for all unknown sources. A dredge through the ealy history of this file suggests that attributing some of the dat to sources may be impossible. If unsourced, mark as dubious IMnsHO. Pete.Hurd 04:25, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

Some older statistics, might measure different things (such as the whole population, so still be useful), but the title of the table is not Average Heights Around The World And Through Time. Some sources give the heights for every year, so imagine how fast this table would grow, and for such little gain, if we used them.

There's a few issues like changes through time, that have already been dealt with in the text of the article. --rom

Also, I know that race information, for US data, does not belong in age. However, i think that data is relevent/interesting so if it should be moved out of national height averages, it should go somewhere else. --rom

I was reading the annals of human biology 2000 4, about Persistant Variations in Height Between Countries, unfortunatley these heights are self reported. Though the values don't seem outlandish. I won't hate this study, but that fact means it's not my favourite. -- rom

Oh Canada! I've got a problem with Canadian Data. I want to find some reliable information about average heights of young Canadian adults. I've heard rumours (on teh internet) about it being 1.8m for men. That would be great, but i'm a little sceptical that a country with so many recent immigrants could be that tall that quickly. Reading 1.80m and 1.65m from some study about BMI, they are probably self reported results, they show the biggest height difference between men and women on this whole table ie 15cm. So I'm doubting it even more. Maybe statistics canada has some more reliable data somewhere?

When self reported height was averaged for Australian males(18 - 24) in 1995 179.9cm was found to be the average. When measured height was taken it was found to be 178.4cm). For women 18 - 24 the average was found to be 164.9cm for self reported and 163.9cm for average measured height. These values correspond EXACTLY to canadian self reported height, so my best estimation is that Canadian average heights for young men in reality are very similar to the values expressed for UK, Australian and White Americans essentially meaning there might be almost an English Speaking (in multicultural societies) average height. But we need some GOOD measured recentish data on young canadian adults. --rom

Not quite what you are looking for, but I have some self-reported heights from a University of Alberta undergraduate student sample from a couple of years ago: 183.2cm (N=95) & 167.4cm (N=90) for male and female caucasians, and 175.6cm (N=31) & 161.1cm (N=38) for those self-reporting asian ethnicity. Pete.Hurd 07:11, 23 October 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for looking. That adds some credence to the possibility that the average Canadian male is indeed 180cm tall. But i'm still not convinced.

Check this out it's almost like clockwork. Populations of males surved in age groups.

Age Group
Country 18-24 25-44 45-64 65+ All Method Year
Australia 179.9 177.8 176.0 174.3 176.9 Self reported 1995
Canada 180 178 176 176 177 Self reported 1995

If you round Australia's figures to the nearest cm, you get Canada's figures for all but the 65+ age group. I think they are both 1995 data, either someone has plagerised someone's work or the Canada/Aus averages are very similar.

So, without further ado, the measured Australian heights from the same year for males, following the self reported data.

Age Group
Country 18-24 25-44 45-64 65+ All Method Year
Australia 179.9 177.8 176.0 174.3 176.9 Self reported 1995
Australia 178.4 176.3 174.0 170 174.8 Measured 1995

I think it's a fair assumption, atleast for the year of 1995, the Australian and Canadian heights, where very similar for self reported values and then would be very similar by measured values.

Though, this being 10 years since the measurements it is possible that the average height has increased 1 cm for the for the 18 - 24 group, which would put them up to a very respectable and European 179.4cm (still below the 1995 estimate). However, that's an assumption, thought it would be basically in keeping with recent trends.

  • As a side note, Australia's measured average for the entire male population was listed at 174.8cm, which is probably the equivalent of the New Zealand value of 175cm. I question the value of including statistics grouping in the elderly who may have began shrinking. The thing is, this table misrepresents New Zealander's as being short, when on average they would be taller than most euro populations if you listed the average for the entire population. My guess is that the actual heights for young kiwis are very equivalent with the actual heights from Australia. They are poorer, but still, I'm sure the young kiwi is not only 175cm tall.

Anyway, Statcan HAS the measured height and weight of Canadians, and done recently aswell, but I didn't actually see the data we really need, ie the average measured height per age group.

Maybe you might have better access to Statcan, through the University, Pete.Hurd? --rom

  • As a side note, Australia's measured average for the entire male population was listed at 174.8cm, which is probably the equivalent of the New Zealand value of 175cm. I question the value of including statistics grouping in the elderly who may have began shrinking. The thing is, this table misrepresents New Zealander's as being short, when on average they would be taller than most euro populations if you listed the average for the entire population. My guess is that the actual heights for young kiwis are very equivalent with the actual heights from Australia. They are poorer, but still, I'm sure the young kiwi is not only 175cm tall.

// found some data about that, the figures aren't great, but are an anthropometric measurement of Kiwi heights based on measured british heights. Still, it's probably the source for karube and is better labelled. It's confirming my hypothesis of similar height for Australia and New Zealand.

// though it's hard to come to any other conclusion, when data from UK which is similar to Aus recent data, is correlated with Kiwi data. Still, the anthropometric statisticians thought this was a good conclusion to come to. -- rom

I reverted an edit that changed age and height attributed to, which I've not been able to access trying from multiple domains for many months. Questions to its quality aside, I'm not able to access it to verify the change made. Are others able to access it? If so and the data is there, it could be changed back or the additional age group added. Evolauxia 02:27, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

It's been a while since I looked at the karube site. I have a copy of the site saved somewhere. I'll see if I can find it. Pete.Hurd 02:58, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
I put a copy of the old karube page (in all it's decrepit glory, minus the flags) here. I may put up an english translation (if I run out of useful things to do) Pete.Hurd 21:11, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. Given that it's not as crucial as it once was for country data it may not be worth the trouble for a translation, but the individual sources would be nice. Evolauxia 00:45, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

anti - american bias?

Karube undereported the average height of the entire US population, including the shrinking, and compared it to the young people in Europe.

In the article, it says that there is a wide margin between the average height of US and EU males. This is just simply NOT the case. So i corrected it.,3604,781616,00.html

"The mean height of UK citizens is 1,755.1mm (5ft 9in). Among European men only the Dutch are taller, averaging 1,795mm and with a clear height advantage over the US men's average of 1,760.4."

Now looking at that, they have used the correct US average for the entire adult male population. And the dutch value also appears to be for the 20 - 74 style age group.

Personally i thought norwegians might be be taller than americans aswell. Anyhow, The average american is taller than the population of EVERY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD EXCEPT THE NETHERLANDS! and i think possibably somewhere Scandinavian countries.

Even for young populations, thea verage white US male is over 5'10" and the average black male is a very similar height. This is measured, and not made up statistics.

Americans are not short! Dutch are tall! that's it.

Here's my world view in terms of height heirachies for young people.

Netherlands 1.84m (how did they do that?)

Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Germany, Sweden around 1.8m (good work to their public health).

Denmark has slightly exceeded this, while Norway, Iceland and Sweden have stopped growing? This leads me to one leap of faith in my conclusions.

US (whites and blacks), Australia, Austria, United Kingodom, Finland, New Zealand, Canada around 1.78m (respectable height, only the Dutch may critisize)

Here's my leap of faith these countries will remain under the average current scandinavian averages (which they have nearly reached) for a long time.

Then under that latin countries (France, Italy, Spain etc) ,poorer countries, asian countries etc.

there are some values in eastern europe that I'll believe only when i see some good data.

in any case. The average american is taller than the average EU person. Only the dutch have massively outstripped US heights, as they have done for every other nationality.


From where did this information appear that the male average in Serbia is 1,75cm? For the time being, it is inapplicable because Serbia is not a country, only a constituent republic forming one part of a larger state. If the contributor meant Serbia & Montenegro (for that is the name of the country) then that's what he/she should write. I can imagine that this would increase the average because if Montenegro IS included and the average is still only 1,75cm then the people of Serbia must be extremely short. Please remember, a country is nothing more than a name of a government, no matter what the name, or whether or not there is a federal structure with a concensus that people in each sector form a nationality. I know from interest that in the near future that Serbia will gain its independence from the current state and that will change the table once again, not because Serbia might become home to the shortest Europeans, but because Montenegro will inevitably become the tallest state. At present, Holland as a country has the tallest people (tending to measure those of Germanic descent and not Dutch citizens of Moroccan/Indonesian/Suriname etc. origin - they would reduce the average drasticly); the people known as the Tutsi are the tallest average tribe, but they are not the key members of any nation state. Taller still are the South Slavs of Montenegro and parts of bordering Herzegovina, this may be said to be the breeding ground from the worlds tallest people. For the time being, it cannot be recorded because there is no slot for it. Montenegrins, for all their desires for recognition, are still a minoroty in a larger country...even after they topple the Netherlands, their status as a tall breeding groung will be shared with the north-western border zone in Herzegovina, namely Trebinje and the surrounding regions. Wait and see! Celtmist 27-10-05

Well, celtmist, I've heard anecdotal evidence that these people are tall, and certianly know some taller south slavs in Australia. These people where listed as the tallest in europe in the book, i think it's called Races of Europe and was written in 1939. It's on a site called and seems to me to have a possible racist interest.

However, you need direct evidence to make a statement like that, just because there are some noticably tall people among the population does not mean that the whole population is tall. If there is some direct, modern records, perhaps conscription records for the regions in which these ethnicities are concentrated it would be interesting to see whether this anecdotal and/or historical evidence is accurate.

Currently it's argued that basically caucasians/africans (with the obvious exceptions of pygmies) are basically the same height under good conditions. Whether there is some region of reverse pygmy stature ... it seems there isn't.

Anyway, I'm interested in testing this theory about gigantic peoples of Montenegro.

-- rom

On a side note, I'm wondering if we have an ability to invent a group of tall people in our heads. In Australia, there is a nick name "big red" given to tall well built people with red hair. All this tends to lead people to conclude that there was a race of gigantic Red heads running around in the British Isles at sometime. If someone is tall and has blond/brown/black hair, it can be assumed that they have inherited the tall genes from this pre-historic reds, or if someone is short and red haired then they got the red hair, but the height genese from somewhere else. If they are both tall and red headed then they got the tall and red haired genese from these prehistoric people.

The problem with that, is that it's impossible to come to any other conclusion when you think that way. I think this phenomona of "big red" is due to the fact that red haired people are noticable, as are tall people. So if someone is both tall and red haired you remember them and this leads you to thinking that there are more giant reds then is really the case.

I'd like to see statistics about hair colour and height within the same ethnic groups, but I imagine it doesn't have a statistically significant difference.

BTW I've wondered if a similar phenomon occured in Europe for the Nordic race to be invented (ie tall blonds). That both tall people and blond people are noticable, so a race of tall blonds is mentally created. the other thing though, is that Scandinavian countries have been comparitively tall during the 20th century, but this stereotype is older than that.


Hello to you Rom. I'll be honest with you- it IS difficult to prove these things, find sources etc. I mean how do people measure average height anyway? I'm Welsh and stand at 5'10" (about 180 I think) but have never been measured once with the height being submitted towards establishing an average (well, not that I know). Now I have read in parts about people from Montenegro being extremely tall but none of the sites appear accurate and to be honest, I get told this! Mainly by them! I've been there many times. For my experiences, I'd definitely say that they are Europe's tallest and no group of people anywhere in the former Yugoslavia touches them. But I am not suggesting that they are ALL tall. In Montenegro's south which I know to be more populous, you do get a fair few people who are not tall. It's quite usual to see young men at just 178cm but rarely ever shorter, and that is just it. The farther north you head in Montenegro (not east or west because it is daimond shaped), the taller people get, and in towns such as Pljevlja, Bijelo Polje, Šavnik and Žabljak, as well as their surrounding municipal villages, the people ARE enourmous. There can be no debate, nor conversation. The problem is, that they hardly consist of 100,000 people between them and that is less than one sixth of Montenegro's population, BUT for each Northern Montenegrin who is not so tall, I'm sure you'll find MORE than five replacements in the Central and Southern regions to make up for them and such raise the average height. With Serbia having about 10 million people, Montenegrins would do little to raise their average of about 0,97cm (or there about!). In England and Wales, if you go into a crowded area and see a man who is over 2 metres tall, he tends to get stared at since he sticks out like a sore thumb. In Holland, go into a pub and it's quite possible to see a two-metre fellow in every direction you look, the Dutch are very tall and I lived there so I know it. Montenegrins are another cattle of fish, espeically in the north; there, it is nothing unusual for one lad to be two metres tall and then to find that ALL of his friends are the same height give or take a bit...let me introduce a "big red" style myth:


...and they say that even a myth has a grain of truth if you know in which direction to look. Tall polititians often represent tall nations and vice versa. Holland was represented until 2002 by Wik Kok, a huge man; Germans by Helmut Kohl at a staggering 1,94cm (even though Gerhard Schröder isn't tall), Clinton is a rather tall man at a bit over 1,90cm as was George Bush Senior, Reagan wasn't short for that matter, Vladimir Putin is about as tall as an undergrown Serb and Thassos Papadopolous of Cyprus could pass for his younger brother if not for the wrinkles! But these are ALL statesmen. But with statesmen come associates, public secretaries, congress colleagues, advisors etc. George Bush jr may only be 6 foot (which in 2005 is not tall anywhere), but apart from Donald Rumsfeld whose grandchildren and now grandparents, any American alongside Bush towers head and shoulders above him, remove Bush from the picture, you have a nation of people over 6 foot tall. Stereotype maybe but you have to look for the shorter ones, and in so, you get past hundreds more big ones... Milo Djukanović, current Prime Minister of Montenegro's republic (not country), is margianally above 1,90cm and is taller than currently every world leader. His president, Filip Vujanović is slightly shorter, Montenegro's speaker of Parliament Ranko Krivokapić is 2 metres tall, Tarzan Milošević, mayor for Bijelo Polje is also 2 metres tall (I've met him), and then there is a army of cabinet members at 185-195cm with the odd shortie, like current Serbia & Montenegro head of state Svetozar Marović only 170cm, yes he is from get the odd one. But when so many polititians are so damn tall, it tends to be a prelude for the nation they represent. But the bottom line is Rom, that table on the article is pure politics: countries are nothing but names of governments, and consist of various groups of people, some class themselves as seperate nations, others as the same as another and even then there is variety from one part of the country to the other. Who is to say that Polish people are the same height in Pomerania as Mazuria? If all Slavic people averaged the same then I wouldn't be writing this! Political though it is, for the time being, Montenegro can stay unlisted since it is just a constituent republic. When they gain independence, the Dutch can start sweating and settle for Silver medal! The world will see, when there are Montenegrin diplomats everywhere, the football team etc. Celtmist 28-10-05


This article is quite a mess, especially the international table and height data, which I know is incorrect. I'm not even gonna touch that, at least right now.

I reworked the body of the article and added quite a bit. It's incomplete right now, and especially needs better structuring IMO. Another priority is to add quantative data to the text as well as citations, which I'll do as time permits. Discussion is much encouraged.

Good work Evolauxia,

I think references (stuff like the CEOs are taller, and taller candidates win, as well as the psysiology) would be really valuable! As for the pressing need for some informed discussion of scientific research on genetic and environmental factors. A couple of papers that might be a useful start to whoever picks that up:
  • Livshits, et al 2002. Genetics of human body size and shape: body proportions and indices.ANNALS OF HUMAN BIOLOGY, 29:271-289.
  • Livshits, et al 2000. Genetic analysis of growth curve parameters of body weight, height and head circumference. ANNALS OF HUMAN BIOLOGY 27: 299-312.

Cheers Pete.Hurd 14:53, 1 November 2005 (UTC)

I have a problem with some of the changes made, 1. The Netherlands measurement of 1.84m is the highest i've ever seen (I put it in to replace the 6'1" from the New Yorker, which seems to have come out of misconversions of cm to inches). Commonly you see 1.83 or 1.8m listed for average height of young males. But 1.84m seems to be the most up to date.

Secondly, Scandinavian height may have exceeded North American (unless you trust the Canadians to be honest with their height self assessemnt), and has increased at a high rate at some point. THat point however, was in the early and middle parts of the 20th century and has barely increased at all (or not at all) for 30 years

So including Scandinavians in the fast growing catergory would be wrong. Many nations have no exceeded US average heights for young males. For the total population (the average for all age groups) it has only happened in Scandinavia and Netherlands, however.

Originally the article said that height was highly variable. It's not at all, looking at the Norwegian table i posted in 2004 being 195cm puts you in the 98.5% and being 165cm puts you in the 1.2%. So more than 2 standard devations, all of that for being just 8.3% away from the average height. Compare that to other anthropometric measurements and it's not a very big variance at all (lets say cocks(sorry for being crude but i saw a table of measurements), to be in simialr percentiles to that they would have to vary by 33% (roughly 4 inches for the low end, and 8 inches for the high end). Everyone is always going on about how they are the same size on average, BUT if you got 100 men you would be quite surprised if the tallest was over twice the height of the smallest? Atleast you should be! Other measurements like nose length (world record of 7 inches (i think) for a nose - compare that to average ..... in terms of variance that's a 30 foot man). Feet or hand sizes also vary more than height.

When I deleted this mention of high variability, it kept getting put back up. So I added the line about giantism and dwarfism, with 20% a number I chose to conincide with a US average and the height the giantism article said was hugely due to giantism. And that Dwarfs are often considered to be under 4'10", which is closer to average than that. (I also think that Giants do not neccassarily have to exceed 7 feet personally - but there seem to be a fair number of people that height who are not giants). Anyway, I put 20% up because i felt a rough estimate was a lesser of two evils when compared to having it changed to "highly variable". Plus it is very likely that most cases of variance of 20% from the average of height, ARE due to a medical condition.

However, that arbituary figure i'd be happy to see deleted as long as height is not considered "highly variable", when for an anthropometric measure, it's truly not at all.

As for changing the age when peole stop growing, I'm for that, someone had early teens for females and mid teens for males. So i took it up a step mid for girls late for boys(I would have put early 20s, but it keeps getting changed back). But it's more thorough to include early 20s growers. Rare as they may be in modern times.

-- rom.

Wow, quick reaction and good comments no less, with plenteous older good comments too. Obviously there is high interest in this article including some knowledgable people, so we should be able to produce an excellent article. The annoying changes will just have to be monitored as it's a high interest and provocative subject socially.

I added the Scandinavian countries into a pre-existing sentence. The height increase rates certainly aren't remarkably high, rather the actual heights as you said. I'll clean this and similar stuff up if someone doesn't get to it before me. As for number of nations that have exceeded US heights for young adult males, as a proportion of the number of countries of Europe it is not high; but the UK, Netherlands, Scandinavian countries, and even Germany heights have been reported in various scientific papers and media reports as being higher, only quite recently for some (again, I'll source this unless someone gets to it first). Sourcing and more incisive wording for rapid height increases in South Korea and Japan are a priority --the phenomenon is occurring. (However, the claim of similar height potential is somewhat suspect. Not enough that I changed it, but certainly the human animal has adapted height and physique {just as skin tone} for respective regions. Elucidation is needed and it's not well understood yet {given things like effects of dietary/standard of living changes} so will be difficult.)

I didn't touch the existing variability content which is what "rom" wrote. I think the issue is perspective, whoever wrote that it is highly variable was probably thinking of stature as a property in itself (especially given the changes in time and differences between populations) and not contrasting it with other things, such as other anthropometric variabilities. If high variability is mentioned, better elucidation on what is meant is needed. Then put it in context such as "rom" did contrasting other anthropometric variances. As for the age of cessation of growth, there is a mention of both averages and extremes and it seems accurate as is currently.

Given the rate of change (and other things), data is going to be an issue with the Netherlands and all countries. Large datasets aren't collected all that often and there are a lot of competing figures both in scientific papers and media reports (owing largely to the various sources used to collect stature data I would surmise). Editors will have to be careful with respect to overall population or segments such as young adult males and word accordingly. I know the Dutch youth are taller than the figures given both from some papers I've seen and abundant anecdotal evidence. I will try to source as much as I can as I have time, lots of people have offered papers, so please don't be bashful about using these as citations or even adding content.

My strengths are in anatomy (but not especially other anthropometric measurements), physiology, endocrinology, growth & development, and genetic-environment interactions. I'm not particularly knowledgable in genetics itself --so those more erudite here please step up to the plate. I'm adept with the environmental determinants (especially nutrition, specific nutrients from specific foods can have a large influence) but not so much the social ramifications, I didn't edit much there and essentially I only know what I see in media reports and occasionally papers, it's not something I've actively learned (school) or researched (self-interest/curiosity). Evolauxia 08:17, 2 November 2005 (UTC)

/*Average dutch males even taller? Yikes, this is almost likely given the statistics are old and the Dutch where still growing at last measurement. Though I do think I saw a 2004 paper listing them at 1.84m, i'm not sure if they made their own measurements.

If the average height for white american men is 177cm, which seems out of date(since i've seen measured statistics showing white american males as 178cm plus for many years), and the average height of Norwegians just outside of 180cm, then there is less than 3cm difference at the 50th percentile and smaller gaps between the populations at the 90th and 95th percentile. Norwegians do have slightly more people over 190cm, but not as if the bell curve simply shifted right by 3cm. Ie 5% of Americans would be over 190cm and 7% of norwegians, with the 95th percentile of norwegian height being about 191.5cm (an estimate), which is less than the difference from those charts in the 50th percentiles. I interpret this as meaning, though the norwegian lifestyle produces slightly taller people, the main difference is that shorter people are less short, rather than taller people being significantly taller.

Looking at dutch percentiles, something HAS shifted the bell curve right. There's something pushing up Dutch heights past what we are used to seeing, and it's not just decereasing inequality. I've seen figures showing the percentage of young men over 193cm is significantly higher than in the US or Norway. Found the statistics page 89 of 520

Averge height of dutch males 20 - 34 182.8cm. Percentage 188cm and over 24.4% Percentage 193cm and over 9.4% (included in the 24.4% previously listed.

Compare that to Norway Male 18 - 19 179.7 roms estimates ;-) table uses different heights for percentages 188cm and over 11.5% 193cm and over 3.5% (included in the 11.5% previously listed)

Something has shifted the bell curve right for the dutch population rather than just decreasing inequality and improving conditions slightly.

So what is it?

There has been a significant increase in Japanese heights, though last i heard the average japanese 18 year old male had not increased in average height over the last 10 years. 170cm or so, is short for such a wealthy nation but you have to understand, Australian soldiers around this height in world war 2 were much taller than the Japanese on Average during world war 2, so that is a big growth spurt for the japanese. For the East Asians, the tallest average height i've seen is 173cm for young South Koreans.

There's alot more evidence saying the average Singaporean male at age 16 increeased his average height from 158cm to 170 between 1973 and 1993. Ofcourse, by the time they have stopped growing, the difference will be less than 12cm, but still you can see that is very significant, and with anecdotal exageration .... whoa ;-). From those statistics Singapore final adult height recently would be interesting. As would Hong Kong. No doubt Hong Kong youth where considerably taller than chinese youth.

Here's statistics showing the average Japanese 17 year old male to be 170.7cm and 157.8cm for 17 year old Japanese females in 2003.*/

-- rom

The Dutch distribution has definitely curved strongly to the right. Using the data from 2002 that you cited:

there is about a 2cm increase of average height for each age group which are 10 year intervals for all but age 75+ and for the youngest, age 20-34; extrapolating for the current youngest adult males would yield something close to (at least) the 184 cm figure you said you saw somewhere. Very notable is the huge increase in average over time (8 cm from age 75+ to age 20-34), with both a large decrease in short people and a large increase in those very tall (not just the mean cluster has shifted, the change is lopsided to the right). From the 50-64 age group to the 20-34 age group, there is a near tripling in those 198+ cm from 0.0% to 2.7%, a 6x increase for 193-197 cm from 55-64 to 20-35, a 3.5x increase for 188-192 cm from 55-64 to 20-34, and a 10.5% increase for 182 cm from 55-64 to 20-35; 54.4% of the 20-34 age group was 183 cm or taller, 10.4% were 193 cm or taller. (Year 2002 sample size totals 3,558, ranges 179 (75+) to 1079 (20-34), and averages 593.)

Average height of Dutch 20 year old males rose 4 cm in 15 years from 1965-1980, and the Dutch have grown 15 cm in the last 40 years. A survey by the marketing firm DfK announced in 2004 that a 7 year study yielded an average of 185 cm for all Dutch men. The economist and prominent auxologist John Komlos has found the same height.

I don't know what has caused such a high rate of increase and the lofty actual heights for the Dutch, but there are a lot of environemntal inputs affecting height. They do have a high quality health care system that's fairly egalitarian and they have very little poverty, but so do some other countries; one factor is probably the excellent prenatal and postnatal (a critical period where health strongly correlates with adult height) care system which is perhaps the best in the world. The accumulative generational effect increases the rate but other factors must be causing the increase in the first place; but the same generational effect also applies to other countries that have comparably taken care of their populations. In the last few decades, the height difference between males and females has increased, suggesting that stressors have been alleviated. 83% of the population is of Dutch descent, 9% of the remaining 17% are Turks, Moroccans, Antilleans, Surinamese, and Indonesians. Evolauxia 12:05, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

For the figures form DfK and John Komlos being 185cm for all Dutchtmen - 5cm above Statstics Netherlands figure, i'm most concerned that they actually got a tape measure out and didn't rely on self reported heights. Because alot of famous auxology studies have, like the ones saying the average height of colonial american natives was 5'9", or listing the average heights of slaves from newspapers descriptions and auction records (i think this was called the Crucible and the Tempest or something, it was either Steckel or Komlos).

Sometimes I even wonder if the dutch wear shoes for measurements. I'm not comfortable being sceptical, this is widely reported, but alot of countries rely on self reported data for their height and weight figures, which no doubt leads to over reporting of height and under reporting of weight. Alot of that creep into the higher height ranges could be explained by a 2cm or so boost from shoes.

I think the 1.84m that i saw was measured, but we can be confident the average height for the entire dutch male population is not 1.85m, when statistics netherlands has it at about 180cm.

The Netherlands has conscription though, and they would be measured against a wall properly, probably in socks or barefoot, but maybe even in boots. It's important we find out how the Dutch are measured, they are the outliers and so the Dutch data needs particular scrutiny.

As for cumilative gains in height, is this the mechanism your thinking about. Better nutrition makes bigger healthier mothers. Who'se wombs provide better prenatal conditions for babies, who can be delivered at larger sizes than previously possible because of improved midwifery then with better nutrition, bigger mothers make bigger babies who can be delivered with better midwifery who turn into bigger mothers who make still bigger babies who can be delivered thanks to improved midwifery?

The cumulative gains might be a factor, but the Netherlands isn't the only country like this(with universal healthcare coverage I dont' know the history of this around the world), if cumalitve gains were instrumental, how come the Scandinavians particularly Swedes and Norwegians aren't growing? Americans should have grown recently aswell, since in the last 100 years midwifery etc has improved dramatically across all socioeconmic class', there just wasn't that care available even to the richest before it was developed. This theory explains the Netherlands, but these conditions have improved only a few generations ago, so no country should have had time to stop yet.

It's possible, but i'm not sure. There's alot about this topic that confuses me.

Anecdotally the people I know of dutch descent are tall, lending to the genetic giants arguement, but their history doesn't support this. And my sample size is small, and i'm remembering the exceptionally tall people.

-- rom

I don't particularly like the self-reported studies, though there is marked differences found in the accuracy of some (where self-reported heights eventually were measured), with some quite accurate and others not so much. I could cite/provide some of those if you like (a number of works on measurement itself are also out there) though I suspect you might be quite aware of these. That said, there can be some usefulness in them, I take it on a study-by-study basis and with caveats in mind; for certain uses, certainly less so in determining average heights. Scepticism is always prudent, I'm trying to find the data and details thereof myself, with the wide reporting and abundant and strong anecdotal evidence the discrepancy is irksome.

Another issue is whether or not footwear is worn and although --studies-- tend to account for this, you have to read them to find out and can't just outright use the figures if accuracy and precision are expected. In the case of nation/population figures and references, however, I have more serious concerns, especially with the modern and current datasets. There are methodological standards and they should be followed! The Netherlands, many Scandinavian and other European countries have conscription (mandatory military or social service) so there should be plenteous (and continuous) data of young adults out there somewhere.

As for the older sources that Komlos and Steckel et al use (miscellaneous newspaper ads, escaped slave and prisoner newspaper ads, etc.; as well as records: slave measurements, prison measurements, orphanage and primary school/college measurements, civil service/first responder measurements, military measurements, manifests, passports, etc.), there are issues too, but they're unavoidable (as with history in general) and in this case are offset by the sheer number of collected heights though methodological scrutiny is still important of course. Steckel (and others) have also obtained thousands of direct measurements from skeletons.

Aside from data reliability concerns, there are some problems in anthropometric/economic historians' automatic attribution of changing heights (directly) to quality of life changes (especially nutrition), among these are effects of disease and other unknown environmental factors as well as that if conditions improve then more people including weaker (less healthy/likely to survive, shorter) people survive affecting average height. These and other problems are addressed as they come up though; so goes science.

I've been busy with other things and some other Wiki stuff but I do intend to rewrite the manuscript (I'll post a draft for review before changing the actual page). My first revision was just a quick-and-dirty measure that couldn't wait for change. The cumulative factor I talked about here and poorly articulated in the article is definite biological reality as far as a mother's development and then condition coming into and during pregnancy affects womb, fetus, on into postnatal growth to adulthood (as do other endogenous and exogenous affecters). The effect is strongest at the beginning or when the greatest improvements are realized.

As I did say though, it's only a factor and doesn't explain it all, and is a stronger factor for Netherlands vs. say the U.S. than amongst other high-standard homogeneous Scandinavian countries. The Dutch still have an advantage in their supreme prenatal and postnatal healthcare system and treatment of postpartum mothers, however, even over the other more homogeneous populations. I was looking for factors with strong biological pathways that hadn't gotten much attention.

I would question the improvement in this care in other places as across the board after the middle of the century for highly inequitable populations such as the U.S. where there is benefit from earlier medical advances but actual medical care is poor to nonexistent for millions. This is partly responsible for egalitarian populations continued height advancements after mid-20th century when the U.S. stagnated. This dirth of pre-postnatal care is in conjunction with poorer to nonexistent healthcare throughout the growth period and entire life, as well as more disease exposure, poorer nutrition, more pollution and toxin exposure, stress, etc., whereas the quasisocialist European systems provide better conditions throughout the growth period for almost all people and enjoy healthier citizenry with various other measures superior to the U.S. (not only height). Interestingly, there have been some cutbacks there for years now, as well as dietary changes and rising obesity, which has been coincident with a sharper pleateauing in these countries. Diet is similarly (partly) implicated in keeping down wealthier Americans, though no large scale study of their heights has been done and I wouldn't be surprised if theirs are higher than the general population. I suspect regional and micro differences occur for various reasons as well (not only in the U.S. but everywhere, even the more homogeneous populations, if to lesser degree for the latter). Evolauxia 19:51, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

Faulty data on India?

The height-table provided in this article is hard to believe. Are indians really the third shortest people in the world, as shown by this table? As per this article, only phillipinos and vietnamese are shorter than Indians. This somehow does not look right. I have seen many south american and central american people and they look much shorter.

Also, Pakistanis are shown to be almost four inches taller than Indians on average. Anybody visiting India and Pakistan will find their people virtually indistinguishable. Somewhere something is incorrect.

Yes, I agree with you. India is a poor country, so the people are short, but I don't know if they are the among the worlds shortest. I think perhaps those statistics where collected long ago and then compared with more recent statistics from other countries. Many third world countries seem to have made up data.

The source your complaining about is Karube, and your not the first one to find those figures dubious.

The reason Pakistanis are taller is since Pakistan is majority Punjab and Pathan, who were the tallest in the Sub-Continent. The tallest Indians are also Punjabis. The Indian height reduces somewhat due to the large population of South Indian, which Pakistan does not have. If the figures were to exclude them, or if only Indian Punjabis were used as a sample,then I am sure there would be no difference. --rom

Hi, Three Points to be noted

1. Data is not converted correctly from Imperial to metric system

  Pakistan. 169.9 cm = 5'7"   (apprx.)    In Table stated 5'9.5"
  Which one should be believed Imperial system or Metric? I believe that Imperial System shows the      correct figure.

2. People of three states out of four in Pakistan display taller heights as mentioned above. Punjabis, Pathans and Baluchis are normally taller people. One can say they average easily around 5'10-11". Sindhis also average around same, but have a bigger share of UP(India) Immigrated people in Sindh cities. Even they also average about 5' 5-8".

3. People from India and pakistan are very easily virtually distinguishable. (Strature and complexions both)


I don't know where the data for Pakistan comes from. I'd suggest deleting it if it's source cannot be identified. If you can find data on mean height for Sindhi, Punjabi, Pathan and Baluchi samples that would be great. Pete.Hurd 21:07, 15 February 2006 (UTC)


Well I believe, most of the data (including India, Pakistan) is not reliable. Compare average chineese height with that of Indian, and then make an observation in surroundings. ;-)


The innacurate Height chart--and some of my theories

I believe that the world's avg. height stats in the article, are hardly scientific. We need some better sources.

But for a very vague conclusion, it is my opinion that if all men of all racial types within the past 6,000 years had their heights tallied together, the average height would probably be something like 5 ft 6 inches for the average adult man.. This figure combines the very tall the very short, and all those in between.

There have traditionally and historicaly always been races of tall and short people in various parts of the globe. From 4 foot Tasman Pygmies, to 7 foot Polynesian warriors.

It would seem that our original ancesters (Australopithicus)from 3 million years ago, was only in the 3-4 foot range. But other contemporary Ape ancestors like Gigantopithecus or Meganthropus, were as tall as 10 feet and 1200 lbs. It would then seem, that even from the beginning, we shared the earth with giant and dwarf cousins who may have even predated us. And with the recent discovery of Homo Floresiensis, the 3 foot tall hominid that whent extinct 12,000 years ago, it would now seem that our ancient ancestors had an even wider variation of height--perhaps this explains the age old legends of dwarfs and giants?

Tallest Tribe

I think the Watussi,Dinka, Neur and Anuak people of East-Central Africa are the tallest in the World. Many of the Dinka men have an average stature of 6ft 5 and 5 ft 11 for women.

Many of the dinka men have an average stature of 6ft5 and women 5 ft 11? that's very tall, but what does a statement like that mean. There's an average height and confidence interval etc for Dinka men and women, i'm not sure what that is, or if there is firm data on it. But saying many Dinka Men and women have average heights as tall as you mentioned could mean alot of things. Dinkas from unusually tall families might, if the Dinkas have elite volleyball, basketball or rowing teams they might. In fact you could make the same statement about Chinese or any ethnic group.

But more data is needed before I'd believe a claim like the average height of Dinka men being 6'5" and women 5'11".

btw this crappy karube data is still here /me sighs: --rom

Actually, I got that info about the Dinka men from the 1990 Guinness Book of world records. If that is a reliable source at all.

rom's concerns are right on target, both in respect to (portion of) population involved and to sourcing. The Watusi (better known as Tutsi) and Dinka are commonly listed as the tallest tribes in the world and various groups in that region are quite tall (under good conditions; the famines, genocides, and wars certainly haven't bode well), even among the tallest, but the given heights are often much exaggerated. The average stature is much lower, though there was some inbreeding which produced very tall heights within certain groups (which isn't hard to do with selective mating, two tall parents (or if not there, then when continuing over a generation or two) can readily produce familial statures well in excess of the Gaussian range allowing reliable statistics).

Various tribes in central and east-central Africa (generally herders/nomads) do seem to be somewhat taller than other populations; and it's fairly conclusive that they have a longer long-limb ratio than most, quite possibly the longest in the world (some Australian Aborigine populations also exhibit this). The tallest tribe may be the Masai, as I've read in reputable sources, the only one I recall off the top of my head being the New England Journal of Medicine (~2003). It would be interesting to see what the secular trend and (optimal environment) homogeneity would do to these populations, as it really has/is converged a lot of ethnoracial height differences (almost all). Incidentally, the shortest tribes are also in this general region. Additive to the complex multifactorial, polygenic determinism of stature, these changes are quite interesting for a variety of implications (especially if tribes were to retain their genetic stock).

Though it's not too bad (usually more reliable than the general media) I don't consider the Guinness Book as the most reputable sourcing, especially over the last decade or so. That said, in this case they now say the Dinka/Tutsi are tallest but list male heights around 6'0" whereas I know in the early-mid 90s they did list those inflated heights mentioned (and even higher). Evolauxia 16:58, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

Just adding a bit about my local area, I'm 5 foot 9 (slightly below average) and yet in my part of Lancashire i tower over (although these are just estimates) about 75% of women and about 45% of men. When i was at high school, i was only 5 foot 4 at 14 and some of my friends were well over 6 foot tall. We have tall people, short people, fat people, thin people all over the world and in every country. So why is it that we are so pre-occupied over things such as height, which in this modern world should not hinder us anyway?

Dinka stature

According to a wide range of sources, the Dinka as on overall population have an ethnic average stature of 6 ft for men, and 5 ft 6 for women.

But there are indeed some family groups, and tribal offshoots within the tribe who are certainly averaging around 6ft 5 for men. This is likely the case for the Masai, and Watusi aswell. [Manute Bol (7ft7) who is Dinka, had a sister 6'10 and a grandfather over 7 feet tall].

There is of course, the anecdotal evidence aswell. For example, a guy I met in college who is from Ghana told me that when he visited Sudan, he saw a number of men who were as tall as 7 feet.

Similarly, a Syrian friend of mine, who is 6 ft 8, told me that when he was visiting Khartoum, he saw plenty of men who were around his height.

Height & Personality

The following was deleted from the article by due to lack of references. I put it here while references are gathered. "Height (along with other physical features) does have some role in an individual's development of personality." Off the top of my head I'd say the literature following on from:

  • Montemayor, R. (1978) Men and their bodies: the relationship between body type and behavlour. J Soc Iss 34:1--

and references in:

  • Martin & Nguyen (2004) Anthropometric analysis of homosexuals and heterosexuals: implications for early hormone exposure. Horm Behav 45:31-39.

but I'll add them here as I come across them. Pete.Hurd 19:27, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

  • Bayley, Nancy (Mar 1956). "Individual Patterns of Development". Child Development, 27 (1), pp 45-74.
  • Colom, Roberto, and Richard Lynn (Jan 2004). "Testing the developmental theory of sex differences in intelligence on 12–18 year olds". Personality & Individual Differences, 36 (1), p 75.
  • Humphreys, Lloyd G., Timothy C. Davey, and Randolph K. Park (Dec 1985). "Longitudinal Correlation Analysis of Standing Height and Intelligence". Child Development, 56 (6), p 1465.
  • Kagan, Jerome, and Howard A. Moss (Sep 1959). "Parental Correlates of Child's IQ and Height: A Cross-Validation of the Berkeley Growth Study Results". Child Development, 30 (3), p 325.
  • Tan, Üner, Mukadder Okuyan, Tugba Albayrak, and Ahmet Akgun (Jun 2003, pt 2). "Sex Differences in Verbal and Spatial Ability Reconsidered in Relation to Body Size, Lung Volume, and Sex Hormones". Perceptual & Motor Skills, 96 (3), p 1347.
  • Teasdale, T.W., T.I.A. Sorensen, and David R. Owen (13 May 1989). "Fall in association of height with intelligence and educational level". British Medical Journal, 298 (6683), p 1292.
  • Teasdale, T. W. (Feb 1991). "Intelligence and Educational Level in Adult Males at the Extremes of Stature". Human Biology, 63 (1), p 19.
  • Wilson, Darrell M., Lawrence D. Hammer, Paula M. Duncan, Sanford M. Dornbusch, Philip L. Ritter, Raymond L. Hintz, Ruth T. Gross, and Ron G. Rosenfeld (Oct 1986). "Growth and Intellectual Development". Pediatrics, 78 (4), p 646.

Evolauxia 21:25, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

Here's two:

  • Abbott, R. D., White, L. R., Ross, G. W., Petrovitch, H., Masaki, K. H., Snowdon, D. A. & Curb, J. D. 1998. Height as a marker of childhood development and late-life cognitive function: the Honolulu-Asia Aging Study. Pediatrics, 102:602-609.
  • Silventoinen, K., Posthuma, D., van Beijsterveldt, T., Bartels, M. & Boomsma, D. I. 2006. Genetic contributions to the association between height and intelligence: evidence from Dutch twin data from childhood to middle age. (in press) Genes Brain Behav Doi: 10.1111/j.1601-183X.2006.00208.x.

Pete.Hurd 00:09, 5 March 2006 (UTC)


  • Deady DK, Smith MJL Height in women predicts maternal tendencies and career orientation PERSONALITY AND INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES 40 (1): 17-25 JAN 2006

Pete.Hurd 05:32, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Here's one, more closely related to personality, that I just came across. It's just one example, I've read about various others in the past:

  • Raine, Adrian DPhil; Reynolds, Chandra PhD; Venables, Peter H. DSc; Mednick, Sarnoff A. DMed; Farrington, David P. DPhil. Fearlessness, Stimulation-Seeking, and Large Body Size at Age 3 Years as Early Predispositions to Childhood Aggression at Age 11 Years. Archives of General Psychiatry. 55(8):745-751, August 1998.

Evolauxia 04:38, 3 December 2006 (UTC)


Why are there two separate entries in the graph for average height for USA?

Because there are many different data sets for USA. This isn't the only problem with that graph, because it also compares people of different ages and disputed data. -- rom


height of national servicemen in Poland (Polska) men - 178 cm

women - 166 cm

18 years