16 Countries with the Tallest and Shortest People in the World

The geographical distribution of the countries with the tallest and shortest people in the world really piqued my interest. The countries that are most blessed when it comes to height are all European nations while the less fortunate ones are present in Asia and South America. Some places just have it good it seems.

Of course, height has a lot to do with genetics which is why some nations continue to be the tallest while some remain at the other end of the spectrum. But how much? Interestingly, if you see a white man, his height, i.e., whether or not it’s above average, is about 80% determined by genetics while the rest is a direct impact of his environment, which includes nutrition, health and even social stature! While if you see a Chinese man, his “heritability” of height will probably be around 65%, as opposed to the white man’s 80%. Is it just me or is that fact totally intriguing? Some studies also suggest that fathers contribute more to their children’s height than a mother does: a mother has more effect on the weight of the baby. That has not held true as per my personal experience but who can argue with science?

16 Countries with the Tallest and Shortest People in the World

F. JIMENEZ MECA/Shutterstock.com

Our agenda today is not to talk about height genetics though. It is to analyze countries by height. As I mentioned before, countries in Europe have the most average height. I mean the shortest country in Europe is Malta with an average male height of 169 cm (5.54 ft) and that of females, 159 cm (5.21 ft), yet the nation is far above all the 16 shortest countries on our list. Therefore, it is safe to say that the tallest people in the world by country are all European.

So, if you wish to know the country with the tallest women, the shortest country in the world or even just Netherlands’ average height (a nation known for its giant citizens), you have certainly come to the right place because we have compiled all these facts for you in one place. To formulate our list of countries with the tallest and shortest people in the world, we referred to AverageHeight, an all useful database for info on height and weight. We did not merely use the average height of males in the nation but took both male and female heights, ranked them separately and came up with an average ranking that took into account both genders. You can see how the rankings have changed over the past two years by comparing this new list to our old one of countries with highest average height in the world. However, be warned: there were a couple of countries namely Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montenegro, which appeared to be one of the tallest when seen from the male perspective, but data for their female citizens was not available which is why these nations were excluded. The same was the case with Bangladesh and Guatemala in the short category.

Now that the technicalities are out of the way, let’s start naming the 16 countries with the tallest and the 16 countries with the shortest people in the world. Of course, this list will also give you a good idea of the tallest ethnic group or the shortest race in the world depending on the origins of the people of the following countries.