The average height for women is different across the world. In the United States, the average height for women is 5 feet 3.5 inches tall. Globally, women’s average height ranges from 4 feet 11 inches to 5 feet 7 inches.

The average height for women worldwide varies significantly due to factors like genetics and access to nutrition.  

The average height for American women 20 years and older is 5 feet 3.5 inches (63.5 inches). This average is based on data collected from 2015-2018 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. National Health Survey.

The average height for women in the U.S. also varies depending on your genetic background. Non-hispanic black women, who are 20 and older, have the highest average height at 5 feet 4 inches. Asian women have the lowest average height at 5 feet 1.5 inches.

Calculating the average height is a way to measure the overall height of women in the U.S. population. It does not mean you should meet the average height. 

The average height for women varies greatly across the world. To estimate the global female height averages, the NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC) analyzed 1,200 population-based and height-projection studies in 2022. These studies included women between the ages of 18 and 25. 

Women in the Netherlands and Montenegro have the tallest average, with an average of 66.9 inches. This is just shy of 5 feet 7 inches tall. Women in Southeast Asian countries and Guatemala had the shortest height averages—about 5 feet and 4 feet 11 inches, respectively. American women’s 5-foot-3.5 average is near the middle of global height averages compared to other countries.   

Here’s how women’s average heights compare across the globe: 

  • Netherlands: 5 feet 7 inches
  • Montenegro: 5 feet 7 inches
  • Germany: 5 feet 5 inches
  • Greece:  5 feet 5 inches
  • Australia: 5 feet 5 inches  
  • Canada: 5 feet 5 inches  
  • United Kingdom: 5 feet 4.5 inches   
  • South Korea:  5 feet 4.5 inches 
  • Puerto Rico: 5 feet 4 inches
  • China: 5 feet 4 inches
  • United States: 5 feet 3.5 inches
  • Brazil: 5 feet 3 inches
  • Iran: 5 feet 3 inches
  • Mexico: 5 feet 2 inches
  • Kenya: 5 feet 2 inches  
  • India: 5 feet 1 inch
  • Indonesia: 5 feet
  • Philippines: 5 feet
  • Guatemala: 4 feet 11 inches

Women have been getting taller worldwide for nearly a thousand years. In general, human height has increased over time. Researchers hypothesize people are getting taller due to access to better nutrition and medical care. These environmental influences give people a better chance of reaching their genetic height potential—your predetermined adult height based on your genes.

In the 1960s, the average American woman was about an inch shorter. Data from the U.S. National Health Survey statistics from 1960–1962 found women in the U.S. averaged about 5 feet 3 inches tall. From 1896 to 1996, NCD-RisC data found the average female height in Europe and Central Asia increased by 11 centimeters.  

These increases in global female heights will also likely end at some point. Researchers believe improved nutrition helps people reach their height potential and pass on their tall genetics. It doesn’t “add” height that wasn’t already part of your genetic plan.

However, outliers like Sub-Saharan Africa have found the average female and male heights have dropped since 1970. This drop is even with better access to nutrition and health services. Researchers believe this average may be skewed because more children with stunted growth survived to adulthood due to better nutrition and medical care.

Your genetics and environment can both affect your height and overall development. Like all humans, a woman’s height is a hereditary trait. This means your genetics help predetermine your height. However, socioeconomic influences—like access to nutrition and medical care—can either impede your growth or reach your height potential.


Researchers estimate nearly 80% of your height is based on your genetics. Studies have identified more than 700 common gene variants that influence height. You will most likely be short if your parents are short. This form of genetic height potential is called familial short stature.

You can also estimate your adult height by finding the mid-parental height—the average height of your two biological parents. Healthcare providers use mid-parental height to calculate your genetic height potential. However, this height estimate is not always accurate because many genetic variants and environmental influences affect a woman’s height. 

Nutrient Deficiencies

Your body needs nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fibers, minerals, and vitamins to grow. Children who do not get enough nutrients can become malnourished, which can stunt growth. Having a short height for your age as a child often affects your height as an adult, meaning you don’t grow enough to reach your height potential.

Getting adequate protein is especially important for children to reach their height potential. Research shows children who eat high-quality protein, like milk, have better growth outcomes. Lack of protein, carbohydrates, and fats can all lead to marasmus. This severe malnutrition affects growth and causes weight loss.

Children who lack nutrients like iron—a mineral in protein-rich foods like red meat and seafood—often grow into shorter adults. Studies show iron deficiency anemia—low levels of red blood cells and iron—reduces growth during infancy, childhood, and adolescence. Teenage females are also more at risk of developing iron deficiency anemia from losing blood during heavy periods. 

Medical Conditions

Certain health conditions can affect nutrient absorption and bone structure, stunting childhood growth. Without access to medical care, children may not get sufficient treatment to help prevent and treat nutrient deficiencies that impact growth. 

Health conditions that can affect children’s height potential include:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD): Conditions including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis that cause digestive tract inflammation, affecting digestion. 
  • Juvenile idiopathic arthritis: Chronic joint inflammation in children and adolescents that can cause short or uneven bone growth. 
  • Chronic kidney disease: Loss of kidney function that can lead to low nutrient levels and loss of appetite.
  • Cystic fibrosis: A progressive genetic condition that causes thick mucus in the lungs and digestive tract—which can affect digestion. 

Other conditions can cause extremely short or tall heights. Dwarfism, or extremely short height, is typically caused by underlying genetic conditions like achondroplasia (a bone growth disorder). Gigantism, or extremely tall height, is caused by conditions that create too much growth hormone.

Taller women, and humans in general, often have a higher weight because there is more muscle, bone, and fat mass. As a child, healthcare providers monitor height and weight to understand how well you are growing. Height and weight help calculate body mass index (BMI), a formula used to measure body fat related to weight. You can calculate your BMI in two ways:

  • Metric system BMI: weight (kg) / height (m)2.
  • English system BMI: weight (lb) / [height (in)]2 x 703

BMI is often used to gauge someone’s overall health related to being underweight, healthy weight, overweight, or having obesity. However, BMI is not always an accurate way to determine health. BMI does not consider someone’s unique body composition, which includes muscle mass, age, sex, fat distribution, and genetics. BMI parameters are also based on averages, so women above or below the average height often have inaccurate BMI numbers.

The average height for women is different across the world. Data published by the CDC estimates the average height for American women is 5 foot 3.5 inches. Women in the Netherlands and Montenegro have the tallest average height at about 5 feet 7 inches. Women in Southeast Asian countries and Guatemala have shorter average heights—at 5 feet and 4 feet 11 inches, respectively. 

Genetics, nutrition, and health conditions can all impact a woman’s height. Initially, genetics will determine your height potential. From there, socioeconomic impacts—like access to nutritious food and medical care—can hinder growth enough that people can’t reach their height potential.