Average Height for UK Men at Different Ages

Average Height for UK Men at Different Ages

If you Google ‘average height of a man in the UK’ you’ll get a simple answer: about 5’10. However, it's not that simple at all. 

The problem is, that height is an average across the whole population. But it varies (a lot) based on age. If you're in your 20s or 30s, you might be ‘average height’ but find you tend to be shorter than other people your age. Luckily, the NHS have collected this information, which I've graphed for you below.

Male Height by Age UK
  • The average height for a 20 year old man is 5’10.4 (178.8cm)
  • The average height for a 30 year old man is 5’9.9 (177.6cm)
  • The average height for a 40 year old man is 5’9.8 (177.3cm)
  • The average height for a 50 year old man is 5’9.3 (176.1cm)
  • The average height for a 60 year old man is 5’8.9 (175.0cm)
  • The average height for a 70 year old man is 5’8.2 (173.2cm)
  • The average height for a man over 75 is 5’7.4 (171.1cm)

There are a ton of other sources when it comes to average height, but most of it is very unclear where the data comes from. The NHS provide a very detailed and boring excel document, so I trust them.

As you can see the trend is a gradual decline, followed by a sharp drop from 50 onwards. Now to explain why.

Why does height reduce with age?

There are two reasons. Firstly, people, over time, have got taller. Secondly, people shrink as they age.

Throughout history, people have tended to get taller. This is a picture of the oldest door in Britain, in Westminster abbey.

westminster abbey door

It's 6.5 inches, which is smaller than modern doors. That isn't very scientific, but at least you got to look at a nice old door. If you want actual data for lots of different countries, you can find it on Our World in Data here.

Human height by Year of Birth

You can see that average height has gone up sharply since the Victorian era, before plateauing for men born in the 1970s onwards. The reason is largely due to better nutrition. Malnutrition in childhood is one of the main reasons for stunted growth. We're better fed nowadays. 

People also shrink as they age. This is due to a few factors, including wearing down the cartilage in your spine, losing muscle mass, poor posture, even your feet arches flattening.

cartilage between vertebrae

It starts at about 40 years old, and - depending on which info you read - can account for 1-1.5 inches (2.5-4cm) in lost height in total. Apparently, exercise is the best preventative, as usual.

These two factors combined will account for the average heights in men of different ages. Of course, the single biggest factor in determining height is genetic, but if you would like some extra height then being old or medieval won't help.

Jack, Founder of Ruler of London

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