But Americans, once the third tallest men and fourth tallest women in the world in 1914 have fallen comparatively in the century since, now ranking 37th and 42nd tallest place respectively by 2014, according to a new global survey:
Relative global heights of men in 1914 [top] and 2014 [bottom]:
And the keys for 1914, left, and 2014, right:
And the same comparison for women, with 1914 above and 2014 below:
And the relative scales for 1914 [left] and 2014 [right]:
So just how much taller and where?
A report on the study from Imperial College London:
Dutch men and Latvian women are the tallest on the planet, according to the largest ever study of height around the world.
The research, led by scientists from Imperial College London and using data from most countries in the world, tracked height among young adult men and women between 1914 and 2014.
Among the findings [open access], published in the journal eLife the research revealed South Korean women and Iranian men have shown the biggest increases in height over the past 100 years. Iranian men have increased by an average of 16.5cm, and South Korean women by 20.2cm. Interactive world maps are available here.
To see a full list of the countries please click here.
The height of men and women in the UK has increased by around 11cm over the past century. By comparison, the height of men and women in the USA has increased by 6cm and 5cm, while the height of Chinese men and women has increased by around 11cm and 10cm.
The research also revealed once-tall USA had declined from third tallest men and fourth tallest women in the world in 1914 to 37th and 42nd place respectively in 2014. Overall, the top ten tallest nations in 2014 for men and women were dominated by European countries, and featured no English-speaking nation. UK women improved from 57th to 38th place over a century, while men had improved slightly from 36th to 31st place.
The researchers also found that some countries have stopped growing over the past 30 to 40 years, despite showing initial increases in the beginning of the century of study. The USA was one of the first high-income countries to plateau, and other countries that have seen similar patterns include the UK, Finland, and Japan. By contrast, Spain and Italy and many countries in Latin America and East Asia are still increasing in height.
Furthermore, some countries, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and the Middle East have even seen a decline in average height over the past 30 to 40 years.
There’s lots more after the jump, including an explanation for humanity’s vertical explosion. . .