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What Height is Considered Tall?

by Alex Sinanan |

In a world where everyone enjoys pigeon-holing people into neat groups, a world where it is not great to stand out too much, here is the question at hand today.

Do people's perception of height change depend on which culture they're from? Is the average height changing over the generations? How do your diet, climate, and genetics impact your height?


Standard height for men and women

Let's start from the beginning. Human height is defined as the measured distance between the sole of the foot and the top of the head in a standing, erect body. The Macmillan Dictionary defines a tall person as 'someone who has greater height than the average person'. 

Based on this information anyone who is above the average height for their population is considered tall for a man or woman. 

With a little more digging the theory began to become a little clearer. Studies utilize degrees of comparison to rank height into tall, taller, and tallest groups. 

By graphing the average height of men and women within a population, we find the famous bell-shaped image appears, as per the below diagram. We can use these bell curves to clarify our degree of lofty compared to the standard height of the population. Defining what is considered tall for a woman or a man.

 Navas Height Distribution Chart

Source:https://tall.life/height-percentile-calculator-age-country/ 


Normal height sits at the very top of the curve due to the greatest number of people being this height. The square represents 'kinda tall' people, indicating males at 6 feet being taller than 84.2% of the population. In this graph, if you are a 6' 3" male, you would fit into the 'tall' range and be taller than 97.8 % of the population.

Now we have looked at how to statistically define your level of tall, are there any other methods? Sure, just look around you.  

 

Are you considered tall compared to your peers?

By noticing others in your sphere, around in your general daily life, you can figure out quite quickly whether you are a head above the rest. 

Do you get taps on the shoulder at concerts or theatres asking for you to move your head? 

Does your partner always say how easy it is to find you in a crowd? 

Chances are you are considered tall.

Another way to know whether people consider you tall is by noticing the way others treat you. There is a certain level of respect that being tall receives, could I even go as far as to label it primal? 

There are many advantages to being tall which some of our tall friends recently shared.  

 

What is considered tall varies by country and culture

The question of what height is considered tall can also greatly depend on the country you are from and your culture. Each country has many factors altering the average height of its population. 

Just when you think you have come to terms with being a little taller than average in the USA, you travel to Indonesia and tower over everyone. 

This is where it gets interesting. 

Environmental factors such as diet, climate and quality of life have a huge bearing on determining your height. Throw natural selection and the country's gene pool into the mix, and you can see why height is so varied depending on what part of the world you are in. 

An example is Japan. With the average male height being just 5' 2", you would feel like a giant there at just 6' let alone 6'3"! 

In that culture, you will find the doors are smaller and the beds will leave your feet dangling out the end. Alternately, in the Netherlands, you would feel very relaxed with the average male height a whisker under 6'. You wouldn't even get a glance if you stood at 6' 3"

Let's take a look at a comparison of how you would fit into the following countries if you are a 6' 3" male aged 25.

 Country

Percentile of Population Shorter (if your 6' 3" Male)

Canada

98.82%
Japan 99.99%

Mexico

99.67%

Netherlands

91.41%

USA

98.73%


If you are a 5' 9" female aged 25, you would also be considered tall and in the top percentile across the globe, to the following degrees.

 Country Percentile of Population Shorter (if your 5' 9" Female)
Canada 98.17%
Japan 99.91%
Mexico 99.56%
Netherlands 88.73%
USA 98.68%

 

Generational changes of average height

Over the past 150 years, the height of populations across the world has sprouted in an upward direction. This is largely due to industrialization and better health standards, however, genetics do play a part. The average height has increased over this period by up to 4 inches. 

Navas Average Height Chart


Source: https://ourworldindata.org/human-height

This graph shows the increase in average height over the period between 1810 and 1980 in the selected countries. 

This indicates that the question we are pondering, 'What height is considered tall', begs for a fluid response. Your level of 'tall' is relative to your perspective and situation. There are benefits to any height and as long as you show confidence and embrace your height, you will be happy and healthy.