Average Height for Men In America and Around the World

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JANUARY 30, 2024

The average height for men might be less than you think. Learn more about what’s average, and the factors that impact height.

The average height for men in America is five feet nine inches. That’s a bit more than the average male height worldwide, which is 5 feet 7.5 inches. Genetics play the biggest role in height differences, which explains why some races are shorter or taller. For example, the average Asian male height in the U.S. is 5 feet 6.8 inches. However, health, nutrition, and socio-economic factors can all impact height too.

Continue reading to learn more about the average height for men, including what factors impact height, and where in the world men are tallest.

A note on sex versus gender

Sex refers to the biological characteristics, including DNA, hormones and more, many of which impact height. Gender refers to social and cultural ideas. The research around height centers on males, typically defined in the research as people who were assigned male at birth. We are utilizing this research, while understanding that not all men were assigned male at birth. Learn more about gender vs. sex here.

Average Height for Men in America vs. Worldwide

The average height for men in America is 5 feet, 9 inches. That’s according to CDC research that looked at males who were at least 20 years old in America by the year 2016.

On average, Americans are slightly taller than the average male height worldwide, which sat at 5 feet 7.5 inches in 2019. The tallest men live in Sweden and Germany, where the average height for males born in 1980 was more than 5 feet 10 inches. The shortest men live in East Timor, where the average male height is less than five feet three inches.

The research found some variation in height among American males. Here’s what the research found for different racial demographics in American males in 2016:

  • Average Hispanic male height: 5 feet 6.7 inches
  • Average Asian male height: 5 feet 6.8 inches
  • Average Black male height: 5 feet 9.1 inches
  • Average non-Hispanic white male height: 5 feet 9.8 inches

What Determines a Man’s Height?

The biggest determination of height is a person’s genetics. Genes are pieces of DNA that you inherit from your biological mother and father. They determine about 80% of the variance in your height, meaning that most of how tall you are is caused by your parents. That’s why being tall (or short) is often passed from parent to child.

However, there are other factors that can impact how tall a person is. One of the biggest factors is nutrition. People who are well-nourished and healthy tend to grow taller. That’s why people around the world are substantially taller now than they were 100 years ago.

These factors can also impact height:

  • Maternal health: If your mother smoked while she was pregnant or was exposed to toxic substances, you may be shorter than you would have been.
  • Infectious disease: Diseases can slow a person’s growth, resulting in shorter stature.
  • Hormonal health: Different hormones, including testosterone, can fuel growth. Hormonal chances, including those associated with gender-affirming care, can impact a person’s height.
  • Access to healthcare and other socioeconomic factors: Limited access to healthcare and quality food can result in shorter stature.

When Do Men Stop Getting Taller?

Most males reach their full height (or close to it) by the time they are 16. During male puberty, people grow very quickly. That often happens between the age of 12 and 15.

Sometimes, people will grow slightly after the age of 16 (and your penis growth may continue until you’re 21). Still, most people won’t have significant gains in height after 16.

Height Misconceptions

Around the world, height is generally celebrated in males. Research has shown that males often see their ideal height as taller than their actual stature. Research also shows that men are more likely to self-report that they’re taller than they actually are.

However, just like body mass index or weight, height varies greatly from individual to individual. These averages give a glimpse of the population at large, but aren’t a reflection of your personal height or health. Remember, the vast majority of variation in your height is determined by genetics, something that you have no control over.

Health and happiness can come at any height. However, if your height is impacting your emotional or mental health, learning about body positivity or seeking therapy may help.

Summary

The average height for American men is 5 feet, 9 inches. That’s slightly above the global average height for males, which is 5 feet 7.5 inches. Height is mostly impacted by genetics, but environmental factors, including nutrition and infectious diseases, can also play a role. Most males will reach their full height by the time they are 16. Remember, height isn’t a determination of your worth or masculinity—it’s simply a measurement, and one that will vary widely from person to person.


Courtesy: This article was originally posted on Verywell Health