The average height in the United States is 5 feet 4 inches (162.56 centimeters) for women and 5 feet 9 inches (175.26 centimeters) for men. This makes the United States the 40th tallest nation in the world.
Multiple factors contribute to one’s overall height. Genetics account for 60-80% of one’s height, and nutrition and exercise account for the remaining percentage. Childhood nutrition is believed to be a large factor in adult height. Race plays a large role in average heights in populations. White men (average height of 5 feet 10 inches) and black men (5 feet 9 inches) tend to be taller than Asian (5 feet 7 inches) and Hispanic (5 feet 7 inches) men. Alabama is one of the tallest states in the US and has a population that is 96% black or white.
To determine the average height in each of the 50 states, information as pulled from the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). This is an annual survey of more than 450,000 people conducted by the CDC to gather data about health and wellness in the United States, including health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions, and the use of preventative services. The BRFSS tracks weight and obesity, healthy eating, physical activity, and height.
The tallest states based on average height for men and based on average height for women are different. The tallest women tend to be clustered in the northern plains states, with the tallest living in South Dakota. The tallest men live in Iowa and Alabama. The tallest states in the United States based on the average height for men (179 centimeters or above) are:
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
The tallest states in the United States based on the average height for women (164 centimeters or above) are:
Hawaii has the shortest average height among both men and women. This can be attributed to the race factor previously mentioned. Hawaii’s population is less than one-third Black or white. Below is a table of each state’s average height for men and women. The data is self-reported; therefore, heights tend to be over-reported, about 2.7 centimeters for men (1 inch) and about 1.5 centimeters for women.