What Is the Average Height for an Adult Woman?

How Tall Women Are in the United States and Worldwide

Three women in tee shirts
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The average height for adult women varies around the world. In the United States, the average woman is a little under 5 feet 4 inches tall at 63.7 inches (161.8 centimeters). This data is reported by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which was conducted from 2011 to 2014.

The average height of women in the U.S. has some variation by ethnicity. Here are the categories and statistics reported on that survey:

  • Non-Hispanic White Women: 64.1 inches (162.9 centimeters)
  • Non-Hispanic Black Women: 64.2 inches (163.0 centimeters)
  • Non-Hispanic Asian Women: 61.8 inches (157.0 centimeters)
  • Hispanic (includes Mexican American) Women: 62.0 inches (157.5 centimeters)
  • Mexican American Women: 61.9 inches (157.3 cm)

Average Height Statistics Worldwide

What is the average height of women worldwide? Various unofficial sources say it is 5 feet 3 inches or 5 feet 4 inches without saying how they arrived at that answer. It isn't easy to pin down, as each country has its own statistics, sampling methods, and reports.

Any overall change in the height of women in China and India, each with about 18 percent of the world population, could change the worldwide average significantly. Here are some trends in the height of women around the world:

  • In many European countries, such as the Netherlands, the average woman is 5 feet 6 inches tall.
  • In many other countries including India and various countries in Asia, Southeast Asia, Central, and South America the average woman's height is 5 feet 0 inches or less. Women in India have barely been increasing in height over the past few decades.
  • Various reports on the Chinese population list the average woman's height between 61.5 and 63.0 inches. The average height has been increasing for girls by 1.2 inches (3.0 centimeters) or more, which predicts taller population averages for China in the years to come.

    Average U.S. Women's Height Statistics Over Time

    How has the average height of an adult woman changed over the years? These figures were derived from early surveys.

    • Pilgrim women probably averaged about 60 1/2 inches, or just a little over 5 feet tall. (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 as measurements were done wearing shoes and it is hard to control for the variability of women's shoes in different eras. 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 over the past 100 years. 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 of Girls

    The average height of a woman is a good statistic to know as you wonder about your own child's growth.

    Not everyone is going to grow to be 5 feet 10 inches tall. In fact, half of American women are shorter than 5 feet 4 inches tall. Shorter stature doesn't mean that your child isn't growing well, needs growth hormone, or that she is too short.

    How well is your child growing? Your pediatrician assesses this with growth charts, so you should learn how to use them.

    A Word From Verywell

    Better nutrition and a supportive environment in infancy and childhood can give a child the best chance of reaching her natural height. The average height of women is a way to monitor general health and living conditions for a population.

    Sources:

    Fryar CD, Gu Q, Ogden CL, Flegal KM. Anthropometric reference data for children and adults: United States, 2011–2014. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 3(39). 2016.

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

    Stoudt HW, Damon A, Mcfarland R, Roberts J. Weight, Height, and Selected Body Dimensions of Adults. United States - 1960 -1962. Data from the National Health Survey. Series 11. No. 8.

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