What Is the Average Height for Men?

In the U.S., the average height for men is 5 feet 9 inches

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The average height for men has increased over the past hundred years. This increase is primarily due to better nutrition. Other factors can also play a role in determining a man's height.

Average heights are calculated and tracked through vital statistics collected by national health agencies. These agencies start collecting standing height at age two, measuring individuals to the nearest 0.1 cm with a digital stadiometer.

A stadiometer is a height-measuring device with a vertical ruler and a sliding horizontal stick or rod that is placed on the top of the head.

Average Height for Men in the U.S.

The National Center for Health Statistics has reported that the average height for an adult male is 69.1 inches (175.4 centimeters), or roughly 5 feet 9 inches. This data was compiled as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted from 1999 to 2016.

Keep in mind that average means half of the adult male population will be taller and half will be shorter. As with skin tone and eye color, height isn't something you can change. Learn more about trends for adult men and what to expect as a boy grows.

How to Accurately Measure Height

While height is measured using a stadiometer in most healthcare settings, most of us don't have the luxury of specialized equipment just for measuring height.

But there are best practices for measuring height at home. You will need a pencil and a metal measuring tape. Remove your shoes and socks and stand against a flat wall (ideally without molding at the bottom). Your body should make contact with the wall from the back of your heels to your head. Look straight ahead, with your gaze parallel to the ground.

With the pencil horizontal along the top of your head, make a small mark on the wall to denote your height. Use the measuring tape to measure from the floor to the pencil mark. Most height in the U.S. is measured in feet and inches. Round to the nearest eighth of an inch.

How Have Average Heights Changed for Men?

Measurements of body mass index, weight, height, and even head circumference have been collected in the U.S. since the late 1950s. Men have been getting increasingly taller in that short span of a few decades.

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a dated, biased measure that doesn’t account for several factors, such as body composition, ethnicity, race, gender, and age. 

Despite being a flawed measure, BMI is widely used today in the medical community because it is an inexpensive and quick method for analyzing potential health status and outcomes.

One of the earliest reports stated that "men in the general civilian population average 68.2 inches in height," a little more than an inch shorter than expected today. Previous to this time, historic glimpses suggest that the average height has been creeping up steadily in the past 400 years.

Historic Male Heights in the U.S.

  • Men in the Pilgrim's early Massachusetts colony averaged around 66 inches in height (1620)
  • Civil War soldiers reportedly averaged 67.7 inches (1863)
  • United States soldiers averaged 67.5 inches (1917)
  • United States Army recruits averaged 68.1 inches (1943)
  • The average adult male was 69.3 inches (5 feet, 9 inches) in 2010.

This probably does not mean that men will keep growing taller as time passes. Despite the evidence of growth, the archeological examination of skeletons from as far back as the Mesolithic period showed that a man's height was roughly 168 centimeters, or approximately 5 feet, 5 inches. That translates to a mere four inches over 10,000 years.

Regarding recent gains in height, experts believe that better health and nutrition play a part in this growth spurt. Today, there are effective ways to prevent illness and promote health during a child's formative years.

There are more means to delay degeneration as a person gets older, preventing the deterioration of bone and muscle that can lead to a loss of height. Most experts, as a result, believe that the height potential may have maxed out.

Average Height for Men Worldwide

Compared to men in other parts of the world, the American male sits pretty much in the middle of the national averages.

In some countries, like the Netherlands and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the average height is just over 6 feet tall. In parts of Asia—particularly Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines)—the average falls around 5 feet, 4 inches or less.

Meanwhile, the tallest men appear to come from the Nilotic people of the Sudan, where the average height is pegged at 6 feet, 3 inches. Here are a few average male heights in various countries, ranked from highest to lowest.

Average Male Heights Globally
 Country  Average Male Height
Netherlands  6 feet
Denmark 5 feet 11 inches
Bermuda 5 feet 10 inches
Canada 5 feet 10 inches
Hungary 5 feet 9 inches
South Korea 5 feet 9 inches
Bahamas 5 feet 8 inches
Thailand 5 feet 7 inches
Honduras 5 feet 6 inches
India 5 feet 5 inches
Guatemala 5 feet 4 inches

Factors That Influence Height

Many factors can affect or influence male height. While genetics plays a role, environmental factors also contribute to how tall a person will become. Here are a few factors at play.


An analysis of 45 different twin studies found that a person's genes can impact their height, and this impact increases as they get older, generally peaking at roughly 14 years of age in boys. Looking at how tall other men in your family are can give you a sense of how tall you might be. However, it is not the only factor.


The amount of nutrition in a male's diet, especially in their early years, has been found to contribute to height potential. Some studies have even found that specific nutrients matter as well. For example, there is evidence that men can achieve increased height by eating high-quality proteins.


Research indicates that illnesses or diseases that impact food intake or absorption can also affect height. This includes diarrhea-causing infections, respiratory infections, and even childhood fevers. Some examples of illnesses that can blunt height development include Cushing's disease, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, and sickle cell anemia.

Geographic factors

Where a child grows up may also contribute to how tall they get. For example, one study noted that shorter bouts of daylight increase thyroid hormones, thus increasing height. Longer durations of sunshine throughout the day contribute to increased height.

A Word From Verywell

The average height for men is different across the world but sits at 5 feet, 9 inches in the United States. Knowing how to accurately measure height is the first step toward understanding how you measure up to this average. If you fall below the average, remember that you are in good company, as roughly half the male population also falls below the average! If you are concerned about your height and whether you may have underlying medical conditions affecting it, contact a healthcare provider.

14 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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Additional Reading

By Vincent Iannelli, MD
Vincent Iannelli, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician and fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Iannelli has cared for children for more than 20 years.