What Height is Short, Average And Tall For Men And Women?

What height is considered short, average, or tall has varied over time, as average heights throughout different countries have changed over the years. For example, the average American man stood at around  5'7" (170.2 cm) 100 years ago, which was in the top 5 tallest Countries in the world!

 

These days though they don't even scrape the top 30, standing at an average of 5'9" or (175.3 cm). Over the last 20 years though, the average height of American men and women has remained roughly the same, within fractions each year, and it doesn't look like things are going to change anytime soon. 


While there is a general short, average and tall height, it is important to understand the differences in average height between race and age ranges, as the demographic you are surrounded by can alter your perception of height and make you feel taller, or shorter than average in a given situation. 

What Height is Considered Short, Average or Tall

As can be expected there will be a tipping point where you will start to feel on the shorter side, and that roughly occurs when 3 out of 4 people are taller than you. We will explore these ideas with data from official examinations (not self-reported) measurements. 

The Data Used

The data obtained to heights for men and women in America is from the CDC official mobile examination centers.  This data was made with over 10,000 healthy, non-institutionalized subjects in the US (1). The CDC has taken into consideration White, Black, Asian and Hispanic Americans of differing age ranges. 


One thing to note is that the average person loses around 0.8" (2cm) of height throughout the day, so depending on when the measurements were taken will alter the results. The data would have most likely been taken in the mornings, where participants are closer to their tallest, but we cannot be sure about this. 


What Height is Considered Average for Men and Women?

Average height in feet/centimeters for American men and women by age and race:

Ages 20-39:


White Americans: 

(M) 5'10.1" (178 cm) 

(F) 5'4.7" (164.5 cm)

 
Black Americans: 

(M) 5'9.4" (176.4 cm) 

(F) 5'4.3" (163.4 cm)


Asian Americans: 

(M) 5'8.1" (172.9 cm) 

(F) 5'2.2 (158.1 cm)  


Hispanic Americans: 

(M) 5'7.4" (171.2 cm)

(F) 5'2.5 (158.7 cm) 


Mexican Americans: 

(M) 5'7.6" (171.7cm) 

(F) 5'2" (157.5cm)

Ages 40-59:


White Americans: 

(M) 5'10.1" (178cm) 

(F) 5'4.3" (163.2cm)


Black Americans: 

(M) 5'9.4" (176.4cm) 

(F) 5'4.1" (162.8 cm) 


Asian Americans: 

(M) 5'8.1" (172.9cm)

(F) 5'1.6" (156.6 cm)


Hispanic Americans: 

(M) 5'7" 170.2cm 

(F) 5'1.9" (157.3 cm)


Mexican American: 

(M)  5'6.8" (169.6) 

(F) 5'1.8" (156.9 cm)

Ages 60 and over:


White Americans: 

(M) 5'8.7" (174.5 cm) 

(F) 5'2.9" (159.7 cm) 


Black Americans: 

(M) 5'8.4" (173.8 cm) 

(F) 5'3.2" )160.4 cm)


Asian Americans: 

(M) 5'5.5" (166.3cm) 

(F) 5'.1" (152.7 cm)


Hispanic Americans: 

M) 5'6.2" (168.1 cm) 

(F) 5'.9" (154.6 cm)


Mexican Americans:

(M) 5'5.9" (167.4) 

(F) 5'.9" (154.7 cm)

The medium height for all races and ages over 20:


(M) 5'9" (175.3 cm) Medium height 

(F) 5'3.5 (161.3 cm) Medium height   


We can see that depending on the percentage of different races and ages you are around, the average will differ significantly. For example, the average height of a white man between 20-39 is 1" (2.54 cm) higher than the general average. 


So, if you are on a university campus, amongst young white people, you may feel the average is around 5'10" (177.8cm), but if you visit an old people's home then you are going to feel the average is in the 5'7" (170.2 cm) range.

Maybe you have a group of friends who are all well above average height and you feel short, even though statistically you are perfectly within the general average range. Therefore, being average height does not automatically mean that you will always feel average. 


What Height is Considered Short or Tall for Men And Women?

So, what is considered short and tall for men and women? There is no definitive answer to this, but to give an estimate I would say that if 75% of those around you are taller than you then you are going to start to feel on the shorter side, as this means that on average 3 out of 4 people will be taller than you walking down the street. The same thing applies if 75% of people are shorter than you, and you are bound to feel tall in situations like this. 


So, the 25th percentile (where 3 out of 4 people are taller than you) is the start of short and the 75th percentile (where 3 out of 4 people are shorter than you) is the beginning of tall. Anywhere +/- 25% would still be within the average range. 


We will examine:


  • 25th and 75th percentiles amongst race and age group
  • 25th and 75th percentiles of all races and ages combined

Ages 20-39:


White Americans:

(M) 5'8.2" (173.1 cm) 25th percentile 5'11.7" (182.2 cm) 75th percentile 

(F) 5'3.3" (160.7) 25th percentile 5'6.4" (168.6) 75th percentile          


Black Americans:

(M) 5'7.6" (171.7 cm) 25th percentile 5'11.3" (181.0 cm) 75th percentile

(F) 5'2.6" (159.1 cm) 25th percentile 5'6.1" (167.9 cm) 75th percentile


Asian Americans:

(M) 5'6.3" (168.3 cm) 25th percentile 5'10.1" (177.9 cm) 75th percentile

(F) 5'.08" (154.5 cm) 25th percentile 5'3.5" (161.2 cm) 75th percentile


Hispanic Americans:

(M) 5'7.6" (166.7 cm) 25th percentile 5'9.3" (175.9 cm) 75th percentile

(F) 5'07" (154.2 cm) 25th percentile 5'4.3" (163.3 cm`) 75th percentile


Mexican American:

(M) 5'5.8" (167.1 cm) 25th percentile 5'9.4" (176.3 cm) 75th percentile

(F) 5'03" (153.0 cm) 25th percentile 5'3.6" (161.5 cm) 75th percentile


Ages 40-59:


White Americans:

(M) 5'7.9" (172.5 cm) 25th percentile 5'11.5" (181.7 cm) 75th percentile 

(F) 5'2.6 (159 cm) 25th percentile 5'5.9" (167.3 cm) 75th percentile        

    

Black Americans:

(M) 5'7.7" (171.9 cm) 25th percentile 5'11.2" (181 cm) 75th percentile

(F)  (158.9 cm) 5'2.6" 25th percentile 5'5.6" (166.7 cm) 75th percentile


Asian Americans:

(M) 5'5.2" (165.5 cm) 25th percentile 5'8.7" (174.6 cm) 75th percentile

(F) 5" (152.4 cm) 25th percentile 5'3.3" (160.8 cm) 75th percentile


Hispanic Americans:

(M) 5'4.9" (164.9 cm) 25th percentile 5'9.1" (175.5 cm) 75th percentile

(F) 5'01" (152.7 cm) 25th percentile 5'3.5" (161.3 cm) 75th percentile


Mexican American:

(M) 5'4.5" (163.7 cm) 25th percentile 5'8.9" (175 cm) 75th percentile

(F)  5" (152.4 cm) 25th percentile 5'3.5" (161.3 cm) 75th percentile


Ages 60 and over:


White Americans:

(M) 5'6.9" (169.7 cm) 25th percentile 5'10.5" (178.5 cm) 75th percentile 

(F) 5'1" (154.9 cm) 25th percentile 5'4.7" (164.4 cm) 75th percentile

            

Black Americans:

(M) 5'6.6" (169.1 cm) 25th percentile 5'10.1" (178.1 cm) 75th percentile

(F) 5'1.6"  (156.5 cm) 25th percentile 5'4.7" (164.4 cm) 75th percentile


Asian Americans:

(M) 5'3.9" (162.2) 25th percentile 5'7" (170.3 cm) 75th percentile

(F) 4'10.7" (149.2 cm) 25th percentile 5'1.6" (156.6) 75th percentile


Hispanic Americans:

(M) 5'4.5" (163.8) 25th percentile 5'7.8" (172.2 cm) 75th percentile

(F) 4'11.4" (151 cm) 25th percentile 5'2.3" (158.2 cm) 75th percentile


Mexican American:

(M) 5'4.2" (163.1) 25th percentile 5'7.4" (171.3 cm) 75th percentile

(F)  4'11.5" (151.2 cm) 25th percentile 5'2.4" (158.1 cm) 75th percentile


All races and ages combined:


(M) 5'7" (170.1 cm) 25th percentile 5'11" (180.2 cm) 75th percentile 

(F) 5'1.6 (156.4 cm) 25th percentile  5'5.3 (166 cm) 75th percentile


So we have examined 2 things here:


  1. Height dependent on your age and race.
  2. Height dependent on all ages and races combined.
  • A man should start to feel short at 5'7" (170.1 cm) and tall at 5'11" (180.2 cm)
  • A woman should start to feel short at 5'1.6" (156.4 cm) and tall at 5'5.3 (166 cm)

Although, for example, if you are a white American man surrounded by white American men of the same age range 20-39 then you will feel short at 5'8.2" (173.1 cm) and tall at 5'11.7" (182.2 cm). The same applies to women who would feel short at 5'3.3" (160.7 cm) and tall at 5'6.4" (168.6 cm)

what height is considered tall for a woman

Conclusion

If we consider the national average (50%) and use the +/- 25% rule we can determine the start of short at 25% and tall at 75%. However, determining average height is not as simple as this in the modern world. There are many factors to take into consideration such as geographical location, age, and race. 


If, for example, you are an average height young White American man and you live in a geographical location where there are far more young average Asian American men, then the average height will differ from if you were surrounded by White American men of the same age, and as a result, you will feel taller than average.


This demographic will also differ from the general average height, and as a result, it can become confusing to what the real average is. There are countless other scenarios where short, average, and tall height varies, such as being around older or younger people, etc. 


This is just an opinion and there are no strict rules. The good thing is that with a pair of sneakers you can add an inch or so to the height others perceive you, and that inch can take you from feeling short to average in a matter of seconds. 


Height Related Questions

What Height is Considered Short, Average and Tall For Teenagers?

Using measured data from the CDC, which gives the average heights of teenagers from 13-19 years measured between 1999-2002 (2). If we subtract 2 inches (5cm) from the average, this will be where someone might start to feel short within an age group.


It is important to note that these are still very normal and healthy, functional heights, and growth is still possible when the growth plates are still open. 


The Average Height of Teenagers:

Boy:

Age 13: 5'3.1" (160.1 cm) - start of short = 5'1.1" (155.1 cm) - start of tall = 5'5.1" (165.1 cm)

Age 14: 5'6.5" (168.5 cm)- start of short =5'4.5" (163.5 cm) - start of tall = 5'8.5" (173.5 cm)

Age 15: 5'8.5" (173.8 cm) start of short = 5'6.5" (168.8 cm) - start of tall = 5'10.5" (178.8 cm)

Age 16: 5'9" (175.3 cm) - start of short = 5'7" (170.3 cm) - start of tall = 5'11" (180.3 cm)

Age 17: 5'9" (175.3 cm)- start of short = 5'7" (170.3 cm) - start of tall = 5'11" (180.3 cm)

Age 18: 5'9.5" (176.4 cm) - start of short = 5'7.5" (171.4 cm) - start of tall = 5'11.5" (181.4 cm)

Age 19: 5'9.6" ( 176.7 cm) -start of short = 5'7.6" (171.7 cm) - start of tall = 5'11.6" (181.4 cm)


Girl:

Age 13: 5'2.6" (159.1 cm) - start of short = 5'.06" (154.1 cm) - start of tall = 5'4.6" (164.1 cm)

Age 14: 5'3.7" (161.8 cm) - start of short = 5'1.7" (156.8 cm) - start of tall = 5'5.8" (166.8 cm)

Age 15: 5'3.8" (162.0 cm) - start of short = 5'1.8" (157 cm) - start of tall = 5'5.8" (167 cm)

Age 16: 5'3.8" (161.9 cm) - start of short = 5'1.8" (156.9 cm) - start of tall = 5'5.8" (166.9 cm)

Age 17: 5'4.2" (163.2 cm) - start of short = 5'2.2" (158.2 cm) - start of tall = 5'6.2" (168.2 cm)

Age 18: 5'4.2" (163.0 cm) - start of short = 5'2.2" (158 cm) - start of tall = 5'6.2" (168 cm)

Age 19: 5'4.2" (163.1 cm)- start of short = 5'2.2" (158.1 cm) - start of tall = 5'6.2" (168.1 cm)


Why do I Feel Short at Average Height?

Some reasons that you can feel short at average height are:


Height Blindness 

Height blindness is where you select people who are taller than you to focus on and therefore you will feel shorter than you are. If you suffer from this then try to focus on those who are of similar height and shorter too, as this should help to make you feel better about your height. 


Average Eye Level 

Average eye level (the measurement from the middle point of the eyes to the top of our head) is an average of 4'5" (11.4 cm). However, our eye levels can vastly differ, which can leave us feeling shorter than we are. Women also have lower eye levels to men, on average by 0.5" (1.27 cm), so if you feel slightly shorter than your girlfriend, for example, then it is likely you are closer in height than you think.

 

Finally, if you have a really low eye level of 5" (12.7 cm)compared with someone below 4" (10.2 cm), you will feel over 1" (2.54cm) shorter, but in reality be the same height!


From Afar

Those from afar may seem taller than you. If you try standing in front of the mirror from a few feet away, you may see a taller version of yourself staring back at you. Height is difficult to judge and it is easy to see somebody from afar taller than you, as we see their heads, but are looking from our eyes which can trick us into thinking they are much taller than they are. 


Peers

Your group of friends or family might be taller than you, or you may be in a situation where there taller than average people around. Average has 50% higher and lower, so you can expect some variations in how tall you feel. 


What is The Most Attractive height for Men and Women?

This is hard to say. The reason for this is conflicting data.

When 20,000 Brits were surveyed on the Badoo dating app, the results concluded that the height which was swiped most for men was 5'8" (172.8 cm) and women 5'5" (165.1 cm). This is completely different from other surveys such as from YouGov research which concluded the ideal height is 5'11" (180.3 cm) for a man and 5'6" (167.8 cm) for a woman.

However, that survey also reveals that on average a man becomes too short to date at 5'3" (1.60 cm) and too tall at 6'3" (190.5 cm), and women too short at 4'11" (149.86 cm) and too tall at 6" (1.83 cm).

The simple answer to this question is that there is no perfect or most attractive height. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and cannot be attributed to height alone, clearly showing that other characteristics are attributed to attraction more so than height itself. 


7 Reason Men And Women Care About Height

7 reasons that men and women care about height are as follows:


1. It has been shown that height is valued in modern society as power and success, in things such as the workplace and with promotions, with taller people also earning more money per year on average. 


2. The dating game has countless surveys revealing height preferences, which can affect confidence. 


3. Height can affect bodily appearance, and it is quite possible that our body mass index (BMI) does not calculate as in the ideal range, and therefore becomes something we are looking to workaround to make the 'best' of ourselves. 


4: Being 'too short or tall' can result in mockery, with people making fun of you, even though they are probably themselves insecure.


5. If your social circle or family is considerably taller or shorter than you, you may feel like you don't fit in, or bad for not being a similar height. 


6. We may have family members such as children who are under or over average height, and we may be concerned for their wellbeing.


7. Height is something that we perceive every day, associated with many things, such as tall buildings representing power, the height of success, and along with the slogan "bigger is better" it is prevalent in society in more ways than one!