Posted on September 21, 2021

The World’s Tallest Nation Is Getting Shorter

Jeevan Ravindran, CNN, September 18, 2021

The Netherlands has long been the world’s tallest nation — but its people are getting shorter, according to Dutch researchers.

Although height has increased over the last 100 years, the study showed Dutch men born in 2001 were 1 centimeter (.39 inches) shorter than their 1980 counterparts. For women, the difference was more pronounced with a difference of 1.4 centimeters (.55 inches).

The 1980 generation may have been the tallest ever, benefiting from a huge increase in height.

Dutch men born in 1980 stood at an average height of 183.9 centimeters (6 feet), and were 8.3 centimeters (3.27 inches) taller than those born in 1930. Women born in 1980 were also significantly taller at 170.7 centimeters (5.6 feet), compared to 165.4 centimeters (5.4 feet) for those born in 1930.

The study by Statistics Netherlands, municipal health service the GGD and the National Institute for Public Health, the RIVM, analyzed 719,000 Dutch-born individuals between the ages of 19 and 60 who self-reported their height, and used the average height at age 19 as a benchmark.

The reason for the height decrease is partly related to increased levels of immigration from shorter population groups, according to researchers. However, growth also tapered off for individuals whose parents were both born in the Netherlands, and for those whose four grandparents were all Dutch-born.

Dutch men with no family history of migration did not show any increase in height, while Dutch women without any migration in their family got shorter.