What is the Average Height for an Adult Woman?

Growth and Development Basics

Blond & brunette girls laughing together
Jonathan Storey/Stone/Getty Images

Question: What is the average height for an adult woman?

Answer: According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the average height for an adult woman in the United States is:

  • 63.8 inches (162.1 cm), or
  • 5 feet 3.8 inches (1.62 m)

This statistic is from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted from 2007 to 2010.

Average Height Statistics Over Time

How has the average height of an adult woman changed over the years?

Early reports of the average height of women in the United States include that:

  • Pilgrim women probably averaged about 60 1/2 inches (1620)
  • United States women averaged 62.4 inches (1900 to 1908)
  • United States women averaged 63.7 inches (1948 to 1950)
  • United States women averaged 64.3 inches in 1955

Some of these measurements are not considered very accurate though, as it is hard to control for the variability of women's shoes at the time. More recent measurements, since the 1960s, are considered to be more accurate.

Measurements of body mass index, weight, height, and even head circumference have been measured since the 1960s.

Not surprisingly, women in the United States have been getting taller.

In the early 1960s, a report stated that "for women in the general civilian population, height averages 63 inches." That's a little under an inch shorter than the average height of adult women today.

Will we keep growing taller?

Probably not.

Better health and nutrition, which was likely a big part of this growth spurt, can only go so far. In fact, many experts think that our height potential may have maxed out already.

Of course, immigration also has an influence on changes in height over time in a region.

Average Height Statistics Worldwide

How does the average height of 5 feet 3.8 inches compare to the average height of women in other countries?

We are kind of average...

In some countries, like the Netherlands and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the average woman is just over 5 feet 7 inches tall. In many others, including countries in Asia (India and Nepal) and Southeast Asia (Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines, etc.), and Central and South America (Peru, Honduras, Bolivia, and Guatemala) the average height is 5 feet or less.

Average Height of Girls

The average height of a woman is a good statistic to know as you wonder about your own child's growth, and why she isn't 5 feet 10 inches tall. Not everyone is going to grow to be 5 feet 10 inches tall. In fact, a lot more than half of women are shorter than 5 feet 10 inches tall. That doesn't mean that they aren't growing well, need growth hormone, or that they are too short though.

How well is your child growing? Is she above or below average?

Use our Kids Growth Chart Percentiles Calculator to see what percentile your child is growing on.

To figure out what the average height is for children, just check our Growth Charts and see what height is equal to the 50th percentile, or ask your pediatrician.

Sources:

Fryar, Cheryl D. CDC. Anthropometric Reference Data for Children and Adults: United States, 2007-2010. Vital and Health Statistics. Series 11, Number 252. October 2012.

Weight, Height, and Selected Body Dimensions of Adults. United States - 1960 -1962. Data from the National Health Survey. Series 11. No. 8.

Hathaway, Milicent L. Trends in Heights and Weights. Yearbook of Agriculture, 1959.

Continue Reading