Check out the top 10 countries with the tallest men and women

Tallest and shortest

If you are so much into heights, then this research is purely for you.

When it comes to height, Dutch men and Latvian women tower over all other nationalities, a new study confirms.

The average Dutchman is now 183cm (6ft) tall, while the average Latvian woman reaches 170cm (5ft 7in).

The research, published in the journal eLife, has tracked growth trends in 187 countries since 1914.



It finds Iranian men and South Korean women have had the biggest spurts, increasing their height by an average of more than 16cm (6in) and 20cm (8in).

In the UK, the sexes have gone up virtually in parallel by about 11cm (4in). “Mr Average” in Britain is now 178cm (5ft 10in) tall; Ms Average stands at 164cm (5ft 5in).

This contrasts for example with men and women in the US, where the height of the nation’s people started to plateau in the 1960s and 1970s. Over the century, they have seen increases of just 6cm and 5cm (a couple of inches), respectively.

Indeed, Americans have tumbled down the rankings. Back in 1914, they had the third tallest men and fourth tallest women on the planet. Today they are in 37th and 42nd place.

The height charts are now utterly dominated by European countries, but the data would suggest that growth trends in general in the West have largely levelled out.

The smallest men on the planet are to be found in East Timor (160cm; 5ft 3in).

The world’s smallest women are in Guatemala, a status they also held back in 1914. According to the survey data, a century ago the average Guatemalan 18-year-old female was 140cm (4ft 7in). Today she has still not quite reached 150cm (4ft 11in).

The eLife paper – A Century of Trends in Adult Human Height – was put together by the NCD Risk Factor Collaboration, a group of 800 or so scientists, in association with the World Health Organization.

The work, which was funded by the Wellcome Trust and Grand Challenges Canada, was presented here in Manchester at the biennial EuroScience Open Forum.

The nations with the tallest men in 2014 (1914 ranking in brackets):

  1. Netherlands (12)
  2. Belgium (33)
  3. Estonia (4)
  4. Latvia (13)
  5. Denmark (9)
  6. Bosnia and Herzegovina (19)
  7. Croatia (22)
  8. Serbia (30)
  9. Iceland (6)
  10. Czech Republic (24)

The nations with the tallest women in 2014 (1914 ranking in brackets):

    1. Latvia (28)
    2. Netherlands (38)
    3. Estonia (16)
    4. Czech Republic (69)
    5. Serbia (93)
    6. Slovakia (26)
    7. Denmark (11)
    8. Lithuania (41)
    9. Belarus (42)
    10. Ukraine (43)


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