News & Opinion | March 22, 2019 9:42 am

Americans Are No Longer the Tallest In the World

The Netherlands now boasts the tallest residents.

(Getty Images)
Getty Images/iStockphoto

According to The Wall Street Journal, as society’s income increases, so does it’s height. But the United States, the country with the highest disposable income per capita of any country, is no longer the world’s tallest nation. For more than 200 years, Americans stood tall over everyone else. But now, the Netherlands can boast it has the world’s most towering residents.

WSJ reports that based on black and white U.S.-born adults, the average American woman stands at 5 feet 5 inches tall, while the average man is 5 feet 10 inches tall. Meanwhile, the average Dutch woman is 5 feet 7 inches tall and the average Dutch man is 6 feet 2 inches tall.

However, the U.S. average household net-adjusted disposable income per capita is $44,049 a year, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and reported by WSJ. In the Netherlands, that average is only $28,783.

But some doctors warn not to look too far into the income disparities.

“Average income is a very misleading indicator,” said John Komlos, an economic historian who studies the effect of income and the economy on stature, to WSJ. “It depends on who gets that income, and how it is used. If you’re healthier, if you go to the doctor regularly, you’re likely to live longer. And you’re also likely to become taller.”

Komlos instead thinks the Dutch are taller because of differences in nutrition, health care and spending. Tracking height is mostly about tracking quality of life because healthy children have three growth spurts. One happens before the child’s first birthday, the second comes around school age and the third hits at the onset of puberty.