What Height Is Considered Short? A Complete Guide

what height is considered short

Generally speaking, women will prefer tall men as their partners. And while men generally don’t care, a significant portion of them also like girls of less than average heights. But what height is considered short today?

Whatever the case may be, a lot of people out there seem to be obsessed with how tall they are. To be precise, few folks around the world, male or female, want to be short. So, is there a handy yardstick we can consult to determine if someone is short? Well, this article is here to help you find that out.

Why Do We Care About Height?


Broadly speaking, height should not be an indicator of a person’s skill level, social standing, or even charisma. What’s more, some of the most famous and influential people were considered short by the standards at the time. If that’s the case, why would you even need to worry about missing a few extra inches?

The answer lies with how we as humans perceive others. Generally speaking, and based on several studies, tall people seem to have lots of advantages in life. Here’s a list of some of them:

• Tall employees earn more money than short ones on average
• Statistically, tall people are more educated than short ones and tend to have a higher IQ
• Short men and women tend to have more health issues than tall ones
• Tall people are viewed as more handsome, healthier, more well-adjusted, and more masculine/feminine than their short counterparts.

Average Heights


Before going into the matter of averages, you need to consider a few factors. First of all, the average height of either men or women around the world does not paint a clear enough picture. In other words, you need to be looking at the individual country averages. What’s tall in Russia might be considered short in Kenya but tall in Cambodia.

Next, there are the extreme ends of the spectrum. For example, a person might have an issue with their pituitary gland, which can affect their growth. Therefore, you can end up with dwarfism, like Peter Dinklage, or with gigantism, like André the Giant. People with such disorders might find it difficult to get a date, but it’s far from impossible, especially in the age of the Internet and dating websites.

With that out of the way, let’s get into the averages.

Average Height for a Man

Globally, the average height of males is around 5’7.5’’, or 171.45 cm. So, would you consider a man below 5’7’’ to be short or not?

That answer depends on where you live. Here are a few national averages in male height across the globe for perspective:

• USA: 5’9.5’’ or 177.1 cm
• The UK: 5’10’’ or 177.5 cm
• Mexico: 5’6.5’’ or 169 cm
• Singapore: 5’8’’ or 172.6 cm
• Sudan: 5’5.5’’ or 166.6 cm
• France: 5’11’’ or 179.7 cm
• Denmark: 5’11.5’’ or 181.4 cm

Average Height for a Woman

Based on certain studies, the average height of women across the globe is 5’6’’ or 167.64 cm. Of course, most women globally fall somewhere between 5’ and 5’11. So, the ones that fall below 5’ might be considered short by some.

But again, you need to keep in mind that averages don’t exactly show what the differences in height might look like in the real world. Instead, consider that each country has its own average and start from there:

• USA: 5’3’’ or 161.5 cm
• China: 5’2.4’’ or 159.8 cm
• Iran: 5’2.3’’ or 159.7 cm
• Nigeria: 5’1.3’’ or 156.4 cm
• Sweden: 5’5.7’’ or 167 cm
• Chad: 5’3.8’’ or 162 cm
• The Netherlands: 5’7’’ or 170 cm

What Is Considered Short for Men?


Depending on the country you live in, you could classify as short if you rank below the average. For example, if a US-born man is 5’7’’, he’s technically short when you compare him to the average global height. However, the difference between 5’7’’ and 5’7.5’’ is extremely small. So much so, in fact, that it can be considered negligible.

Of course, you should also take into account the standard deviation for height measurements. Broadly speaking, when measuring how tall people are, statisticians use a standard deviation of around 3 inches. With that in mind, anything below 5’6’’ would count as short in the US, though it would be standard fare in lots of East Asian and some African countries.

Now, there’s also the question of what you may consider being tall for men, at least in the West. One common denominator is the fact that most averages tend to be under 5’11’’. What’s more, when looking at statistics, most women actually prefer their men to be around 5’11’’ tall. So, if that’s our ideal number, what can be considered too tall?

Generally speaking, that number would include anything past 6’. Obviously, there are variations here as well, but any individual past 6’ can comfortably pass as very tall in the West and extremely tall in other cultures. Of course, certain cultures like the Massai of Africa tend to buck that trend. On average, a Massai man is 6’3’’ tall, with many of them going well past that.

What Is Considered Short for Women?

for Women

Averages for women vary globally as much as they do for men. So, if the average US woman is 5’3’’ tall, people would consider her tall by Indian standards but short by Massai ones. When we take the most common height range for women, on the other hand, a 5’3’’ lady would be considered fairly average. After all, more than 95% of all women globally fit neatly between 5’ and 5’11’’.

Naturally, statisticians apply standard deviation for measuring the height of women as well as men, though with different numbers. On average, women will be shorter than men since humans are a sexually dimorphic species. So, if the standard deviation for men is 3 inches, the one for women is 2.5. In other words, a woman that’s 5’ tall might end up as being objectively short in the West.

Interestingly enough, you also need to take into account the leg-to-body ratio. To put it simply, men prefer women with long legs compared to their upper body, no matter the height. That’s why so many famed models, actresses, and socialites have incredibly long legs. Long legs are an indicator that the woman has had good nutrition growing up. In addition, they are proof of high fertility.

Is 5’4’’ Considered Short?

Taking everything into consideration, you can ask yourself whether being 5’4’’ counts as tall, short, or somewhere in between. As you can imagine, the answer is not really that simple.

Within the United States, if you’re a man, then being 5’4’’ is fairly short. For instance, Tom Cruise and Jet Li usually stand out as two of the most famous short men, and they are both 5’6’’. Even with the standard deviation, 5’4’’ is not tall enough to fall under ‘tall’ or even ‘standard’, at least not in the US.

Women, on the other hand, are considered slightly tall at 5’4’’. Of course, that doesn’t put this number anywhere near the ‘tall’ or ‘very tall’ scale. It’s merely an inch or so above the average. When comparing it to women of other cultures, like those in India and China, then 5’4’’ might be considered very tall.

Gretchen Walker
Gretchen is a homemaker by day and writer by night. She takes a keen interest in life as it unfolds around her and spends her free time observing people go about their everyday affairs.