Body height, or stature, is an important typological characteristic. The shortest individuals of the tallest populations on Earth are still taller than the tallest individuals in very short populations. On this site, seven categories are used. They range from very short, short, rather short, medium height, rather tall, tall, to very tall. Height varies more than other traits within a population, and traditionally short anthropological types may contain relatively tall individuals and vice versa. Significant height differences exist within the same ancestral groups. In addition, nutrition can alter height. Malnutrition causes individuals to remain below their genetic potential, as well as a monotonous diet in some agricultural societies, e.g. in Europe prior to industrialisation. On the other hand, a healthy hunter-gatherer diet may produce taller individuals. The tallest statures are reached with modern, sugar-rich, calorie-rich diets, despite their negative side effects like obesity and diabetes. The table below shows the typical height variation of the seven categories used for males and females in pre-industrial and post-industrial societies. The first number shows the 10th percentile, e.g. the tallest person of the shortest 10 percent. The second number shows the 90th percentile, e.g. the shortest person of the tallest 10 percent. Thus, the illustrated height ranges encompass 80 percent of the population of the respective height category. Disease may alter height so that individuals become much taller or shorter than they would naturally. The same occurs in particular conditions like castration. Africa has the greatest height variation of all continents. The picture examples below all show Sub-Saharan Africans. The maps show regions where a stature is common in native populations. On an individual level, different heights may regularly appear in the black areas, too.

Height range in centimetres for 80 percent of the population for a specific height category in pre-industrial and post-industrial societies:

very short
137 - 153
129 - 143
145 - 161
136 - 151
148 - 164
139 - 154
156 - 173
146 - 162
rather short
154 - 170
144 - 160
162- 180
152 - 168
medium height
157 - 174
147 - 163
165 - 184
155 - 172
rather tall
160 - 177
149 - 166
168 - 187
157 - 175
165 - 183
154 - 171
174 - 193
162 - 180
very tall
173 - 193
161 - 179
183 - 203
170 - 189

very short short rather short medium height rather tall tall very tall

Image sources:

very short: Czekanowski, J.. 1967. Cz owiek w czasie i przestrzenie. Pa stwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe. Warsaw.
short, rather short: Ethnologisches Museum der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz. Mann, Batulinga. Ident.Nr. VIII A 37, Mann, Bibira, VII A 86.- Ethnologisches Museum, Afrika.
medium height, rather, tall: Stratz, C. H. 1920. Naturgeschichte des Menschen. Grundriss der somatischen Anthropologie. Verlag von Ferdinand Enke. Stuttgart.
very tall: Battaglia, R. 1967. I caratteri fisiologici, patologici e psichci. In: Biasutti, R. Le Razze e i Popoli della terra. 4th Ed. Vol 1-4. U.T.E.T., Torino.