Koreans are considered among the tallest individuals in the Asia region. But what is the average height in Korea? Is there a significant difference between Korean average height for males and females?
Due to the work nature, typically in the entertainment industry, and preference, a lot of Koreans today appear to be so obsessed with height. Parents and young Koreans have tried different products to help them grow taller. Some of those products can be foods, supplements to growth hormones, and even growth clinics.
So, as a lot of you might know, Koreans tend to be higher than a lot of people from Asian countries. But how tall are Koreans, exactly? What is the average height in Korea? Are all Korean people tall as idols and famous people? And how tall do they prefer their partner to be?
Today in this blog post, we will delve into the average height in Korean. This way, we are pretty sure that you will be able to answer all of the previously-mentioned questions easily. But please remember that the exact number might vary slightly due to the diverse statistics on the internet.
- According to various reliable sources on the internet, the average height in Korea is 173 cm (approx. 5 feet 8.11 inches) for males. For Korean girls, this average height is 162 cm (approx. 5 feet 3.78 cm).
- Having said that, there are still a lot of exceptions in which Korean girls and boys can still grow up to be taller than the average height. A few prominent instances include SF9’S Rowoon, whose height is 190 cm (approx. 6 feet 2.8 cm), and BTS’s RM, whose height is 181 cm (approx. 5 feet 2.6 inches.
- The exception is also applied to girls. In particular, lots of Korean females grow taller than medium height. For instance, Weki Meki’s Do Yeon stands 173 cm (approx. 5 feet 8.11 cm), and Red Velvet’s Joy stands 168 cm (approx. 5 feet 6.14 cm).
- In lots of cases, Korean boys prefer wearing shoe lifts and inserts to make them appear taller than their actual height.
So, What is the Average Height of Koreans?
As previously stated, the average height of Korean girls and boys might vary, depending on the different sources that you access. Nevertheless, we have tried to get the most accurate statistics in this blog post. Particularly, the average height of Koreans shown in the following table was taken from the figures by Statistics Korea in 2020.
|Men height (in cm / feet and inches)||Women height (in cm / feet and inches)||Men height (in cm / feet and inches)||Women height (in cm / feet and inches)|
|173.80 cm(approx. 5 feet 7 inches)||161.40 cm(approx. 5 feet 2 inches)||174.05 cm(approx. 5 feet 7 inches)||161.18 cm(approx. 5 feet 2 inches)|
As you might not know, Koreans have grown a lot over the last century, as per the statistics in a 2014 survey. Accordingly, Korean girls have developed around 7.8 inches (approx. 20 cm), and Korean males have developed around 5.9 inches (approx. 15 cm). Isn’t that a massive change in height?
In fact, it is widely believed that Korean girls and boys have developed, in terms of height, the most all over the globe during the past century. In particular, you can notice a significant distinction from generation to generation within the family itself.
And you know, the fact is that you tend to be shorter when you age. Having said that, there is still an obvious distinction between every generation of a family. So, what actually happened in Korea over the last century that made Korea’s average height increase so much? Let’s discover this in the following part.
If you are interested to know about the height of people from different countries, then you might also want to learn about the average height in Iceland. It’s fascinating to compare the average height of different ethnic groups and trace the factors contributing to the differences.
The Average Height in Korea Is Getting Higher, But 5% of Korean Boys Are Currently Seen As Obese
According to various trustworthy sources, the average height of Korean men and women has increased by 6.4 cm (approx. 2.5 inches) and 5.3 cm (approx. 2 inches) since 1979, respectively.
As per the figures from the Korean government, Koreans’ average height has increased constantly during the past 42 years. In particular, women are said to grow 5.3 cm on average during that time, and this figure is said to be 6.4 cm for men.
The fact is that the increased average height for Korean men equals the increased average level of obesity for Korean males. On the other hand, the level of obesity for Korean females at the age of 35 years old and over is said to have dropped.
Based on the results from eight different surveys regarding the body index of Koreans, the average height of adult Korean females was 159.6 cm. On the flip side, adult Korean males’ medium tallness was 172.5 cm. Accordingly, that means approx. 5 feet 2.8 inches and 5 feet 7.9 inches, respectively.
Particularly, the study was performed within more than a year, from May 2020 to December 2021. There were 6,839 Korean males and females aged between 20 and 69 years old who took part in the survey. As a lot of you might not know, the average height of Korean females and males was only 154.3 cm (approx. 5 feet) and 166.1 cm (approx. 5 feet 5.4 cm), respectively, when first measured in a survey in 1979. Having said that, these figures have increased by 5.3 cm (approx. 2 inches) and 6.4 cm (approx. 2.5 inches), respectively, after 40 years.
In addition, all age groups experienced an increase in the leg-to-body ratio, which was measured by dividing the lengths of the leg by the overall height. As per the results from the 5th survey conducted in 2003, the proportion increased from 44.4% to 45.8% for females and 43.7 % to 45.3% for males.
But when it comes to the head-to-body ratio, both Korean girls and boys have kept that proportion of 7.2 to 7.3 as of the 1990s. For those who don’t know, the head-to-body ratio is measured by dividing the overall height by head height. In terms of the cephalic index, the ratio was between 0.84 and 0.89, no matter what gender and age. Basically, the cephalic index is generally measured by dividing the overall width of the head by the overall length of the head.
According to the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards, these results indicate that both Korean males and females keep their unique characteristics in a few body proportions regardless of their increased height and weight.
What’s more, from that survey, the average body mass index (also known as BMI) for Korean males was 24.9. Accordingly, this figure has constantly increased from 22.1 compared to that in 1979. In addition, approx. 50% of Korean males were found obese, meaning that their BMI is 25 and over.
On the one hand, the BMI for Korean females has shifted from 22.0 to 23.1 during the last 400 years. Even so, this figure increased by 0.6 from 22.0 in 1979 to 22.6 in 2021.
Five years ago, the level of obesity in Koreans dropped in all age groups from 35 years old and older since the 7th survey. And you know, that decrease was specifically obvious among females in their 50s and 60s.
On the other hand, the midriff circumference, widely known as a stomach fat index, dropped in all age groups of Korean females, apart from their 20s, when compared to the previous study. At the same time, that figure rose in all age groups of Korean males.
Why Did The Average Height in Korea Increase?
As a lot of you might all know, there are various factors affecting the increased average height. One of them, which is true for almost all people from all nations all over the world, is nutrition.
Generally speaking, Korea started its modernization process at the end of the 19th century and reached a rapid pace of development in the 70s and 80s.
Therefore, before its advanced modernization in the late 19th century, the country’s growth relied mostly on agriculture. Accordingly, kids were malnourished due to the nation’s poverty status. Besides, it was said that people had to peel bark and even eat mud to live during those exceptionally challenging times. In fact, if they got enough nutrition as Koreans have currently, they would also grow taller too.
Alternatively stated, almost all Koreans get a lot more nutrients than they got previously. Therefore, they tend to grow far taller.
In addition, the shifts in the food also have many effects on the increased height of Koreans, instead of just increasing the food intake. In reality, a lot of Korean males and females were found to consume a huge amount of food a century ago too.
In fact, a lot of individuals, especially Western missionaries visiting this country once upon a time, are believed to have been astonished by the amount of food that Koreans ate. What’s more, a missionary even left a few words. Accordingly, the average worker’s meal is typically 1 liter of rice. A lot of individuals consume 2 or 3 servings more than the normal amount. An old guy even ate five bowls of rice even though he said that he had no cravings. The fact is that they ate a lot, but why didn’t their height increase?
Generally speaking, this is due to the shortage of meat intake. As a lot of you might know, while Koreans cultivate a lot, normal Koreans tend to eat less meat than rice. Basically, this is because meat was exceptionally valuable at that time.
Another interesting fact is that only royal members had a chance to eat those full Korean-style dishes (also known as Hanjeongsik). Normal people, on the other hand, were only allowed to eat normal side meals and rice as well.
Particularly, a Korean ceramics corporation decided to compare the different sizes of rice bowls over time. Accordingly, it is widely believed that in the 1940s, the bowl size was approx. 680 ml. And currently, it is only 190 ml. For those who don’t know, 680 ml is nearly four times bigger than our normal bowls these days.
Basically, the amount of rice consumption dropped also means that the amount of meat consumption rose significantly. In other words, meat consumption rose when carbohydrate consumption fell. As a lot of you might know, Korea is now famous for its wide variety of delicious meat dishes. Some of them include samgyeopsal, galbi, chicken, etc. This, as a result, aided in enhanced nutrient consumption in general.
But don’t get me wrong. In this case, Koreans still love rice a lot. In particular, there is even an old saying that fried rice is the favorite dessert of Koreans. In the end, they always eat fried rice regardless of what they ate previously during the meal.
Will The Average Height in Korea Keep Increasing?
As previously stated, the medium height of Korean girls and boys has increased substantially during the last century. But would this mean that it will be increased more in the future? Having said that, a lot of reliable data indicate that the height increase has not been great recently. You can completely count on the precision of those data because Korean males have to undergo thorough physical examinations to perform military service. Besides, it is widely believed that there might be some kinds of gene restrictions. Nevertheless, it might be linked to how long Koreans sleep.
Accordingly, Koreans typically sleep for 7 hours 41 minutes a day on average. In fact, this figure is nearly 40 minutes less than the medium number of OECD. In addition, the medium duration dropped to just 6.8 hours when examining adult Koreans only.
As a lot of you might know, the college entrance exams in Korea are exceptionally strict. So, when these exams are near, students often lack quality sleep because of studying too much. As a result, when they grow as an adult, they also have to work a lot, affecting the amount and quality of sleep.
According to recent studies and researches, it is predicted that the average height in Korea will continue to increase. If you are interested in knowing the average height of other countries, check out Average Height In Vietnam to see how it compares to Korea.
How Tall Do Koreans Prefer?
Generally speaking, everyone has their own preference. But in this particular instance, I will provide you with the general preference of Koreans when it comes to height, which was collected from the real statistics from surveys.
Firstly, as you all know now, the average height of Korean males is approx. 5 feet 9 inches (or around 180 cm). Basically, this height might be used as a norm to decide if a Korean guy is tall or short. Therefore, any Korean male stands mostly 5 feet 9 inches, and he tends to round his tallness up to look taller.
When it comes to Korean girls, their medium height is approx. 5 feet 4 inches (or around 165 cm). So, if your height is greater than this number, you will be considered a tall girl in Korea. But, in fact, do Koreans prefer this height? Let’s see the real figures down below.
Amanda, a famous dating app in Korea, carried out a study on this topic. So, as per the results, the most favorite males among females stood between 5 feet 7 inches and 5 feet 9 inches (approx. 176 and 180 cm). And the second preferred height was between 5 feet 9 inches and 6 feet (approx. 181 and 185 cm).
In view of the medium Korean male height, which is from 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 7 inches (approx. 173 and 174 cm), isn’t that far taller? So, it appears that Korean females typically prefer males whose height is between 3 and 5 inches (approx. 10 and 15 cm) greater than theirs.
On the other hand, the most favorite females among males stood between 5 feet 2 inches and 5 feet 4 inches (approx. 161 and 165 cm). And the second preference was from 5 feet 1 inch to 5 feet 2 inches (approx. 156 and 160 cm). And you know, the medium height of Korean girls ranges from 5 feet 2 inches and 5 feet 3 inches (approx. 161 to 162 cm). So, there is not much of the preferred height and average height difference.
In conclusion, it seems that Korean females particularly prefer taller guys. This might be because tallness is often associated with masculinity. In addition, females often feel protected by taller guys. On the other hand, Korean males tend to prefer shorter females. And you know, the possible explanation is that they can protect their girls.
The Difference in Height and Weight Between North and South Korea
Generally speaking, there is a huge difference between the increased average height of North Korea when compared to that of South Korea. And nutrients are considered one of the major factors affecting that tallness.
In particular, the medium height of an adult North Korean female and the male was 5 feet (approx. 154 cm) and 5 feet 4.9 inches (approx. 165 cm), respectively. In particular, these people are the ones escaping to South Korea. Basically, there is an approx. 2.7 inches (or around 7 cm) distinction in height in comparison to South Koreans.
As a lot of you might know, North Koreans and South Koreans have similar gene makeup, but the major distinction here is that a lot of folks in North Korea don’t have a chance to get enough nutrients. And the key reason is due to the poor economic status in North Korea.
If you’re interested in comparing height differences between different regions, you can use the Height Comparison Tool with Chart to Visualize. This tool provides a visual representation of the average height of people of different countries, including North and South Korea.
Some less-known facts about South Koreans and North Koreans’ average weight and height
- Generally speaking, the medium height requirement for new enlistments in the North Korean military is just approx. 4 feet 6 inches (or around 137 cm). Having said that, this figure was decreased to only 4 feet 5 inches (approx. 134.6 cm). Accordingly, the possible reason might be due to the challenge of finding enough workforce who fill the bill. The root cause might be because of the gene or bad nutrition.
- The medium height of male high school sophomores in South Korea is said to be approx. 5 feet 7.7 inches (or around 172 cm). For female counterparts, it is approx. 5 feet 3 inches (or around 160 cm). On the other hand, this figure of those in North Korea is only 4 feet 4.7 inches (or around 134 cm). As you can see, there is a huge distinction in height between grownups and adolescents in these countries. This is because adults who were malnourished as kids tend to grow later during their growth spurt period than well-nourished people. Accordingly, this emphasizes the importance of nourishment in kids’ growth.
- It might be strange, but being short was once regarded as a great thing in South Korea. For those who don’t know, this is because shortness was typically linked to tenacity. Having said that, you might want to visit your doctor to know the real reason behind this, which is malnutrition that depresses maximum development in kids. Nevertheless, tallness has been linked to success in South Korea after Western culture became more common in this country.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the average height of a Korean?
According to various dependable statistics on the internet, Korean guys average 5 feet 8.11 inches (approx. 173 cm) in height. And this figure is widely known as 5 feet 3.78 cm (approx. 162 cm) for Korean females.
Why are South Koreans taller than North Koreans?
According to experts, the key distinction in height between these two countries is primarily due to nutrition during the early years. In particular, a bad diet or not enough nutrients during a young age can result in decreased height. And you know, North Koreans used to get poorer nutrition than South Koreans. And that is the major reason why they are shorter than their South Korean counterparts.
How tall is regarded as tall in South Korea?
Generally speaking, 5 feet 10.8 inches (approx. 180 cm) is widely known as the normal height for Korean guys. In fact, people often use this height as a norm to decide if a Korean guy is tall or short. Therefore, any Korean man with a height of over 180 cm is considered tall in South Korea. For girls, being over 165 cm is regarded as tall.
Is being tall a great thing in Korea?
In South Korea, tallness is often seen as a social benefit. Therefore, parents there typically expect their kids to grow up to be far taller than their friends. A few Korean mothers even said that they would do anything to help their child grow taller so that she/he does not have to suffer or be stigmatized about her/his height. What’s more, a few Koreans even think that being several inches or centimeters at a young age is also linked to better achievement later in life. In addition, having a taller stature tends to be believed to have a greater sign of better education as well as higher income.
How tall are Koreans these days compared to previous generations?
As per the result of a survey in 2014, Korean males have increased approx 5.9 inches (around 15 cm), and Korean females have increased approx. 7.8 inches (around 20 cm) in tallness over a century ago. What’s more, it is popularly believed that Koreans have increased the most in height compared to other countries all over the world over the last century. This can be obviously noticed within a family from generation to generation.
How has the average height in Korea increased?
Thanks to better nutrition, Koreans have been growing far taller than they were before. In particular, the average height of Koreans before modernization was far shorter than these days. Accordingly, this is due to the shortage of nutrition and the poor status of the nation during that time. Back in those days, Koreans had fewer chances to eat meat. Instead, they consumed more rice than meat. On the other hand, Koreans these days have more opportunities to consume more meat and nutrients as well. Therefore, they are growing much taller than they were before.
Are Japanese or Koreans taller?
In reality, Koreans are widely known as the tallest people in the East Asia region. In other words, Koreans are taller than Japanese. In particular, men in this country have an average height of 3 cm taller than that Japanese males. Regarding females, their average height in Korea is also 2.5 cm taller than that in Japan.
What is the average height of a 16-year-old Korean girl?
According to statistics from a survey in 2019, high school students in South Korea were among the tallest students in the Asia region. Particularly, female students (typically at the age of 16 years old) have an average height of 5 feet 3.5 inches (approx. 161.2 cm).
What is considered an ideal height in Korea?
Generally speaking, the average height of Korean girls and boys is said to be 5 feet 4.9 inches (approx. 165 cm) and 5 feet 10.8 inches (approx. 180 cm). Therefore, this is typically used as a typical height when it comes to height. In other words, you can rely on this medium height to know if you are tall or short. So, it could be said that the ideal height for Korean males and females would be the same as or a little bit taller than 5 feet 10.8 inches and 5 feet 4.9 inches, respectively.