Dutch still tallest people in world, but getting shorter
The Dutch are still the tallest people in the world, but we are getting shorter, Statistics Netherlands said on Friday. Women born in 2001 are on average 1.4 centimeters shorter than those born in 1980. Men are 1 centimeter shorter.
Up to 1980, the Dutch population got taller on average. Men born in 1930 were on average 175.6 centitmeters tall, 8.3 cm shorter than the 1980 average. Women's average heights increased from 165.4 cm to 170.7 cm in that period. But after that, the increase stopped and started to decline.
According to the stats office, the shorter population is partly due to immigration from less tall population groups. But people with Dutch-only roots, with both parents born in the Netherlands as well as all four grandparents, are also getting shorter.
The stats office analyzed the heights of 719 thousand people based on data from two health monitors, in which people recorded their own heights. The data only included people born in the Netherlands.
Very tall people are now a much more common sight on Dutch streets than they were in the 1950s, the stats office said. Last year, 21 percent of young men were 190 cm tall or taller, compared to only 3 percent in the 50s. A young-adult male height of less than 175 cm was very normal in the fifties, with 42 percent of young men not reaching that height. Last year, only 12 percent of young men were shorter than 175 cm.
There's a similar trend among women. Around 1950, only about 2 percent of women were 180 cm tall or taller. Last year that was over 10 percent. The percentage is decreasing in the youngest generation, the stats office added.
There are also some regional differences in how tall Netherlands residents get. On average, a young Friesland resident is between 3 and 3.5 cm taller than a young Limburg resident. And this has been the case for years, according to the stats office.