The average height for a man has been changing throughout the centuries. It has, in fact, been slowly increasing for the past four-hundred years. There are many different factors that affect height, including race, genetics, nationality, child nutrition, and so on.
The current global average height for men is 5 foot 10 inches or 178 cm. Men in America are a little below the global average, measuring 5 feet 9 inches or 175.4 centimeters. There’s no doubt that men are getting taller every year, so let’s take a closer look at the facts.
The Height of Men Throughout History
Even though the average height for men keeps changing all the time, the US only started collecting data efficiently in the 1950s. Since then, men have grown a few inches, a trend which is still visible. The average height has increased by an inch in the last sixty or seventy years, which is quite a lot.
For example, the average height for men in the early Pilgrim colonies in Massachusetts in 1620s was 66 inches. Compared to today’s 69.3 inches – a more than evident difference. The average man is more than 3 inches higher after just four-hundred years. However, that doesn’t mean that an average man will be 72.5 inches tall in another four-hundred years! Many factors have to be taken into consideration, but the chances are that men will get even taller than they are today.
Written records date back only a few hundred years, but we can measure the average height all the way back to the Mesolithic era. After digging up and examining male skeletons from a few thousand years ago, the average height was about 168 centimeters or 5 feet 5 inches. That means that the average height increased by 4 inches in the past ten millennia.
The most significant spike in the average height for a man has taken place in the last three-hundred years. That has a lot to do with nutrition and advances in medicine and healthcare. Most experts on the subject think that we have reached our maximum height and that there won’t be many changes in the following decades.
Factors that Determine the Average Height for Men
It’s clear that the average height for a man keeps increasing throughout the centuries, but why? The trend is caused by a few factors that allow men to grow taller than ever before. The main factor being genetics, but other conditions like diseases, nutrition, and geographic location also play a role. Here is a list of factors to consider:
Low Weight at Birth
Babies weighing less than the average upon birth have increased chances of growing shorter than the average. Of course, that’s not always the case, but lower birth rate than normal indicates that the baby doesn’t have the genes to grow very tall.
All premature babies are born of lower height and weight than normal babies. It’s a known fact that they rarely grow to average height later in life.
One of the main reasons why men keep getting taller is nutrition. The modern way of life teaches us a lot about healthy nutrition. Boys that intake plenty of vitamins, minerals, and calcium have better chances of growing taller than those with a poor diet. If a boy gets everything his body needs to grow taller in his teen years, he will most likely grow taller than the average.
It’s no secret that hormones have a significant effect on growing. If a young adult has a hormone imbalance, the chances are he will be shorter than a balanced male. However, some medical conditions like gigantism produce more growth hormone, leading to heights that are much higher than the average. Sadly, those conditions come with many other negative factors as well.
Geography and Ethnicity
The location you are born in and your ethnicity has a lot to do with height. That’s why the tallest people in the world come from Europe, while the shortest live in Southeast Asia.
The Global Average Height for Men
The Global average height for a man is 171 cm or 5 foot 7.5 inches. However, the number is very different in some parts of the world. For example, men from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Nederland average slightly over 6 feet tall. On the other hand, men from Southeast Asia average at only 5 feet 4 inches or less. That’s quite a difference between the two parts of the world.
Average Height Based on Age
If we track the average height for men based on their age, we will see a drastic increase in the past fifty years. Men who are between 65 and 75 years of age are two or three inches shorter than young men ages 18 to 24. That fact correlates to advances in science, nutrition, and healthcare which has seen the biggest improvements in the last fifty years or so. The drastic increase in height has since slowed down a bit, but it’s still on the rise as the years go by.
Average Height for Boys
We’ve already stated that genetics play a major role when it comes to height, but it’s not the only one. Tall parents don’t always get tall children or vice versa. Some boys develop faster than others, and that leads to an above-average height when they grow up. No one can really predict how tall a boy will get in the future, but there are some general guidelines based on age.
- Boys between 2 and 9 years of age are 34 inches tall on average. They can grow up to 50 inches tall by the end of year 9.
- Boys ranging between 10 and 14 years usually grow anywhere between 55 and 65 inches.
- During the teen years, boys who are between 15 and 18 years of age can grow up to 70 inches and keep growing until they are 25.
The Bottom Line
The average height for a man is very different in some parts of the world. There are many factors that impact height during the development period, but the overall result shows that men are getting taller. We can’t do much about our height, but if you’re not happy with your overall height, get a pair of height increasing shoes to boost your confidence.