The Average Height for an Adult Male in the U.S.

The average height for men has been tracked over the years and has been increasing. 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 2007 to 2010.

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—only camouflage. Learn more about trends for adult men and what to expect as a boy grows.

A Historic Look at Average Male Height

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.

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 what is expected today. Previous to this time, there have been historic glimpses that 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 are believed to have 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 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 in the range of 168 centimeters, or roughly 5 feet 5 inches. That translates to a mere four inches over 10,000 years.

As far as recent gains in height, it is believed that better health and nutrition have played a major 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 pretty much maxed out.

Average Height Internationally

When 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 overall appear to come from the Nilotic people of the Sudan, where the average height has been pegged at 6 feet 3 inches.

Average Height of Boys

While genetics play a major role in determining how tall a boy will eventually be, it's no guarantee. A tall father can end up having a shorter son, or vice versa. Moreover, some kids thrive better than others during their developmental years.

In the end, there is no set pattern and few things that can be done to contribute to a boy's height. While predicting whether a boy's height is not always easy, there are a few general benchmarks you can follow.

Benchmarks for Growth in Boys:

  • Boys 2 to 9 years of age will average 34 inches at the onset and reach an average of 50 inches by the end of the ninth year.
  • Boys 10 to 14 will experience growth from 55 inches to 65 inches during this period.
  • Boys 15 to 18 will grow from 68 inches to 70 inches and continue to grow incrementally for a few years after.

A Word From Verywell

If you are concerned that your son is not reaching the developmental benchmarks, speak with your pediatrician. If a boy falls beneath the benchmarks, it doesn't mean that he is too short, needs growth hormone, or is not developing as he should. You can track your son's development by using either a growth chart or a percentile calculator. Both can provide healthy guidance in conjunction with routine medical visits.

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Article Sources
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  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

  2. Weight, Height, and Selected Body Dimensions of Adults United States - 1960 - 1962.

  3. Roser M, Appel C, Ritchie H. Human Height. Our World in Data.

  4. Marck, Adrien, Antero, et al. Are we reaching the limits of homo sapiens? Frontiers.

  5. Move Over, Dutch Men. Herzegovinians May Be Tallest in World. American Council on Science and Health.

  6. Langtree I. Height Chart of Men and Women in Different Countries. Disabled World.

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